Inside the Shell

Mark Doty has written a wonderful poem called "A Green Crab's Shell." You can read it here. It's about finding a crab shell and wondering at the beautiful shock of "Giotto blue" found within it — the color of the sky, carried by the crab all life long and yet invisible to all (except God). It took the crab's death, probably at the beak of some hungry seagull, to reveal this lovely, hidden color. Doty goes on to muse about what kinds of treasures you and I carry, hidden within our skin, that only … [Read more...]

Some Greek Words Worth Knowing

The traditional developmental map for the contemplative life, as put forth in the earliest centuries of the Christian era by mystics like Clement and Origen, consisted of three stages: Purification, Illumination, and Union. The aspiring contemplative mystic began his or her journey with a rigorous program of repentance and renunciation, "purifying" one's self in order to become a worthy self-offering to God. One of the happy consequences of such asceticism would be the eventual experience of … [Read more...]

Theosis and Kenosis

What is the relationship between "participation in the Divine Nature" (II Peter 1:4) and the self-humbling of Christ (Philippians 2:7)? Part of the splendor of Christ, as described by Paul in his letter to the Philippians, is that Christ, "being found in appearance as a man, humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death." Humility and obedience: self-emptying. Christ divested himself of the privilege of his Divinity, taking human form, entering so fully into the human experience to … [Read more...]


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