Saturday, March 10, 2007

Lent and Corbon : Kenosis of the Cross

In the kenosis of the Incarnation grace dawned; in the kenosis of the Cross it shines forth where the darkness is thickest. After all, when day dawns, what happens? Night is scattered. Night was simply an absence; it had no existence in itself; [...] and consequently when it is there nothing exists for anyone; people do not even recognize each other. Night as such is empty of meaning and strips everything else of meaning. Well, at the core of every human event, at the bottom of every human heart, there is a night of death and rupture, of nonmeaning and absence. "Flesh and blood", or mere human nature (Jn 1.13; 1 Cor 15.50), cannot dissipate this night; nothing outside man can introduce light into that blackness. It reigns in the heart and from that vantage point spreads its veil over everything, from the depths of the person to its most conscious structures. Only he who is Light can assume the human without damaging any part of it. And only this Man-God, in whom death finds no complicity with itself, can enter into the thickest darkness of death; that is what happens in the kenosis of the Cross.

[...] Did the executioners realize what they were doing when they raised the Lord of glory on his Cross? What happened when the Light was immersed in this darkness? Not a romantic dawn, but a struggle, the combat that decided the salvation of all men. Death feeds on lies and engenders lies; it feeds upon appearances and leaves emptiness behind it. Here, at the ninth hour, the hour when darkness reigns (Lk 22.53), death seizes its prey--only to be throttled by him whom it expects to swallow up. It is "gripped by terror", for he who enters into it is not mortal because caught in the nets of sin, but mortal out of love, mortal by grace and truth. Death has been deceived; its lies have been turned back upon it. When truth shines forth, all lying is shown up for what it is and is scattered like the night before the dawning day. Death is no longer: the Son of the Living God has crushed it by his own death.

--Fr. Jean Corbon, OP

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