The Kenotic Journey of Holy Week

“Jesus’s real purpose in this sacrifice was to wager his own life against his core conviction that love is stronger than death, and that the laying down of self which is the essence of this love leads not to death, but to life.” ~ Cynthia Bourgeault

What is this Pascal journey from the wisdom standpoint? In the common understanding, Christianity has tended to view the resurrection as Jesus’s triumph over physical death.

Mary Magdalene anoints the feet of Jesus

Mary Magdalene anoints the feet of Jesus

But for Christians in the wisdom tradition (who include among the ranks the very earliest witnesses to the resurrection) it’s meaning lies in something much deeper than merely the resuscitation of a corpse. Jesus’s real purpose in this sacrifice was to wager his own life against his core conviction that love is stronger than death, and that the laying down of self which is the essence of this love leads not to death, but to life. He was not about proving that a body lives forever, but rather that the spiritual identity forged through kenotic self-surrender survives the grave and can never be taken away. Thus, the real domain of the Paschal Mystery is not dying but dying-to-self.

Pope Francis washes and kisses feet of a young offender  Photograph: AFP/Getty

Pope Francis washes and kisses feet of a young offender
Photograph: AFP/Getty

It serves as the archetype for all our personal experiences of dying and rising to new life along the pathway of kenotic transformation, reminding us that it is not only possible but imperative to fall through fear into love because that is the only way we will ever truly know what it means to be alive.

The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, by Cynthia Bourgeault, p. 185-186

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 replies
  1. Dave Garcia
    Dave Garcia says:

    So you do or don’t believe then that he physically rose from the dead? I’m a little confused by the answer.

    Reply
  2. Stephen LaCroix
    Stephen LaCroix says:

    After a recent reread of The Meaning of Mary Magdalene I have become interested or better put, confused by the path of the resurrection of Jesus. I am at the point where these details are critical to my understanding and confusion not acceptable. Do you know of someone who has done this work? Thank you for your work. It has been very helpful. I was/am studying essential oils of the Bible when I found your book. Steve

    Reply
  3. Annabel Clark
    Annabel Clark says:

    Thank you for this Holy Week comment. I could like to be added to your mailings such as this one. Annabel

    Reply

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