• Michael Haldas

Kenosis (Self-Emptying)


“Christ does not simply die on our behalf, or instead of us, He becomes sin in order to destroy sin (2 Cor. 5:22). Christ is without sin, and yet He becomes sin. There is nothing “noble” in such an action; nobility would be a deeply unjust accusation. It is self-emptying love…This act of self-emptying is known as kenosis. It is the ultimate act of love, the ultimate act of self-giving, self-forgetting…We are Baptized into the self-emptying love of Christ, for this is the only way of life. If we are to be transformed “from one degree of glory to another” then it is towards the “glory” of the crucified, self-emptying Christ that we are being transformed. Deification (theosis) is also self-emptying (kenosis) for there is no other kind of life revealed to us in Christ. The fullness of life in Christ is found in His emptiness.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“He let Himself be emptied. It was not through any compulsion by the Father. He complied of His own accord with the Father’s good pleasure…He submitted Himself to be emptied and, in exchange for joy set before Him, endured a cross…He became like us that we may become like Him. The work of the Spirit seeks to transform us by grace into a perfect copy of His humbling.” (Saint Kyril of Alexandria)

“What does this mind of Christ look like? It looks like kenosis. It looks like laying aside what I have a right to hold on to. It looks like humility and service. It looks like voluntary death for the sake of love. “ (Fr. Michael Gillis)

“By the power of His sacrifice Christ draws us into His own sacrificial action. The Church also offers sacrifice. However, the sacrifice offered by the Church and her members can only be an offering given in return to God on account of the riches of His goodness, mercy and love. This sacrifice is first of all, a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. It also has other forms, including commitment to the Gospel, loyalty to the true faith, constant prayer, fasting, struggles against the passions, and works of charity. At its deepest level, however, this offering in return (antiprosfora) is an act of kenosis (Lk 9.23-25). It is constituted by our willingness to lose our life in order to gain it (Mt 16.28).” (Rev. Alkiviadis Calivas)

“…Church Fathers teach us that in brokenness, however, Godly love can emerge. The brokenness in the world, often a source of despair, can be transformed into an opportunity, in imitation of Christ, to empty (kenosis) ourselves from our own self-love, to “put on Christ” - an emptying that reaches fulfillment in love towards God and neighbor.” (Fr. George Morelli)

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