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Emptiness

“Most believers go through times of spiritual emptiness. They feel that they are in a spiritual “black hole.”  Their heart feels hollow. They keep going but they are running on an empty tank…Emptiness of spirit has many causes, such as disappointment, grief, lack of spiritual nourishment, burnout, and depression. Then too, the feeling of being spiritually worn out and exhausted is a sign that we have taken on too much and that we have tried to carry heavy burdens by our own power. The remedy for an empty heart is not more activity to fill it up. When the spirit is thirsty, it emptiness needs to drink. When the soul is hungry, it needs to eat. On the hiking trail, if you don’t stop to “hydrate,” you are going to collapse.” (Fr. Basil)


“Modernity is a project to refashion and build a better world… It is a mindset, a drive to refashion, create, build in the name of an ideal. Its problem is not in its faulty ideals. Rather, it is the nature of the very project itself. Building a better world…yields little more than a darkened version of the faith. The only means of Christian life is the Cross in the fullness of its self-emptying and brokenness.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


The risen and glorified Christ remains “the Crucified One” in the life and experience of everyone who seeks him, perhaps first of all those who cry out to him from under the rubble. If God is the vindictive overlord who punishes sinners with such tragedies…then frankly, I’m not interested. If, on the other hand, He is the Suffering Servant, who journeys with us and for us, to bear our sin and its consequence of mortality as well as our pain and anguish, then He is indeed what Scripture declares him to be: the self-emptying God of love, who gives himself, wholly and unreservedly, for the life of his world.” (Fr. John Breck)


“The Divine Persons are not added to another, they exist in one another: the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father, the Spirit is united to the Father together with the Son and 'completes the blessed Trinity' as if He were ensuring the circulation of love within it. This circulation of love was called by the Fathers [Sts. Basil and Maximus the Confessor] perichoresis, another key word of their spirituality . . . along with kenosis [emptying]. Perichoresis, the exchange of being by which each Person exists only in virtue of His relationship with the Others, might be defined as a 'joyful kenosis'. The kenosis of the Son in history is the extension of the kenosis of the Trinity and allows us to share in it.” (Olivier Clément)


“Feeling spiritually empty feels terrible but it is also an opportunity to be filled. We understand in the reality of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – the fullness of love of other. We understand in the Son’s incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection, the selfless sacrificial love of other human beings. When we turn to Jesus in our emptiness, unite ourselves to Christ by bearing whatever cross God has permitted us to bear; and extend love to others through prayer and actions, whoever God brings into our life (family, friends, colleagues) our emptiness will be transformed into fullness because we are in accord with Him.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


“The poor are more likely to repent and renounce this world for the sake of the kingdom, for they more easily see the emptiness of earthly things. The rich (James 2:6), on the other hand, tend to prize earthly things, desire material things, and even hurt others to gain them (see Lk 6:21–25; 1Co 1:26–28).” (Orthodox Study Bible, James 2:5-7)


“To be poor in spirit is to recognize clearly that one has nothing which he has not received from God, that one is nothing except by the grace of God. This blessed poverty is called “spiritual” in Saint Matthew’s Gospel because, first of all, it is an attitude of mind and heart, a conviction of the soul. It is the condition of man in total emptiness and openness before God, primarily in relation to the things of the Spirit, that is, to understanding and insight, to will and desire.” (Father Thomas Hopko)


“It is a blessed day when we, with dread recognition, finally look inside our souls and confess that we are starving, thirsty, naked, shame-ridden, sick at heart, and imprisoned by our passions. The Lord teaches us in the Beatitudes to consider such destitution a blessed state (Mt 5:3-12)…When we become “poor in spirit,” there remains for us only to cry out, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.” Out of this emptiness, the blessed will discover the way to the Lover of mankind. As they inch toward Him, He directs them along the narrow trail of repentance. He steadies us with His gracious hand, gives us the Bread of Life, and slakes our parching thirst. He becomes clothing, healing, and freedom – the true Friend who saves.” (Dynamis 2/24/2020)