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Posted October 23, 2005

Book: Love Without Calculation: A Reflection on Divine Kenosis
Author: David N. Power
Crossroad Publishing Company, NY, pp. 216

An Excerpt from the Introduction:

In its current weakened state, brought on by external forces and by its own sinfulness and failure, the Church is being invited to consent to a poverty that is not of its own choosing and, in so doing, to enter freely into the kenosis of Christ. The way of self-emptying takes the form of living in evangelical poverty, becoming the Church of the Poor who know that life and th life with God are given freely, without calculation. It is the truly poor who know how to wait with boundless hope for such a gift that is always and everywhere on offer.

The gift comes to those who self-emptying makes room enough to receive. Living the mystery of kenosis is living for eternal life — a life we cannot fully imagine, the life that God alone gives through the kenosis of Christ and of the Church. This life, the very life of God, is wher Power’s thoughts being thought will take those daring enough to go deep, pushing out into the vastness of an ever-widening, neverr-to-be-exhausted circle of generosity.

In Love Without Calculation David Power is thinking through the un-say-able. He invites us to join him in wondering, pondering, beholding, praying from a heart branded by gratitude for such a generous descent by which we have knowledge of God in Christ through the gift of the Spirit calling us into the depths of kenosis, learning anew what it might mean to be the Body of Christ in our own time and place.

[The meaning of Kenosis = The Mystery of Christ, i.e., self-emptying, taking on the form of a slave, being in human likeness, and the humiliation of death on a Cross.]

An Excerpt from the Book:

The Church of the Poor

A group of bishops that called itself “The Church of the Poor” at the Second Vatican Council may well have been justified in choosing cush a name as an image of the Church, alongside “People of God,” “Reign of God,” “Body of Christ,” and “Sacrament of Salvation.” This name incorporates all that is meant by these more common images. It is among the poor, in the freedom from slavery and domination of body and spirit offered to the poor, in the choice of naming the divine self by reference to images of worldly powerlessness, that God is present in a special way to the world.

Some still react quite forcefully against the idea that the poor have a special place in God’s design, or that for names of God one can look to the poor. Among other things, they say that the poor are no better than anyone else and that there is no reason to think that God may love them in a particular way. But there is no moral judgment of persons intended; the language refers to the design of revelation and God’s presence in history, to where and how God poured out his love, and by whom and how he wanted to be named. The freedom he grants through Word and Spirit should lead to a release from grinding and in that sense to release from “sinful structures,” but it is not by association with the powers of this world that God finds a name. Indeed, it is by renouncing such an association by freeing the divine self and presence from it, that God shows “I AM WHO I AM.” The poor who suffer poverty and those who choose the way of meekness and peace-making through a love like unto Christ’s are more tuned into this naming than are those who exercise power over others, of whatever sort. The Church is church for the poor in mediating Word and Spirit to them and in seeking justice. It is of the poor inasmuch as it has to dwell by preference among them. It is poor in itself by choosing the way of being holy, present and powerful though the wisdom of the Cross. Hence it truly is the Church of the Poor.

The Eucharist is to be at the heart of each community because it is the memorial of the supreme gift of Christ, and so of his kenosis. The kenosis of his obedience unto death, even the death of the Cross, becomes — through the act of the Spirit and the sacramental donation of his body and blood – the kenosis of his presence in the world through his Body, the Church, in the glory of divine communion and the fragility of human flesh. In the life of the Church, the truth of the gift cannot be lived unless it passes through the profound frailty of a table dressed with the simplicity of earth’s most primitive nourishment. Being poor in what it brings to the table, it become Gospel poor through configuration to the One who became poor for earth’s sake.

Table of Contents:

Part One

The Kenosis of Christ

1. Christ’s Kenosis: Liturgical interpretations
2. Divine self-emptying in Christ: Scriptural conjunctions
3. Relating to theological interpretations

Part Two

The Kenosis of the Church and Its Mission

4. The Church: Witnessing to Christ in Evangelical Poverty
5. The Church of Christ sent forth and empties out in Spirit
6. Fidelity to mission in the service of God’s reign

Part Three

Generous Descent: The Divine Trinity

7. I Am Who I Am: When God names God
8. The Divine dance: the work of creation
9. The spiral of time and eternity: eschatology and Trinity


10. O Wondrous Exchange: The Church at Prayer
Concluding words: O Holy Strong One