Sunday, May 24, 2020

Resurrection of the Body (Part 2) under construction

Paul writes about the resurrection in a number of places yet in 1 Corinthians 15 he does so in detail.

    It is the same with the resurrection of the dead:  the thing that is sown is perishable but what is raised is imperishable; the thing that is sown is contemptible but what is raised is glorious; the thing that is sown is weak but what is raised is powerful; when it is sown it embodies the soul, when it is raised it embodies the spirit.
    If the soul has its own embodiment, so does the spirit have its own embodiment.  The first man, Adam, as scripture says, "became a living soul" [Gen 2:7]; but the last Adam has become a life-giving spirit.  That is, first the one with the soul, not the spirit, and after that, the one with the spirit.  The first man, being from the earth, is earthly by nature; the second man is from heaven.  As this earthly man was, so are we on earth; and as the heavenly man is, so are we in heaven.  And we, who have been modeled on the earthly man, will be modeled on the heavenly man. 
Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 15, Verses 42-29. Jerusalem Bible

    It is especially in Paul’s discussion of the resurrection of the body (in the context of his assessment of the weakness, suffering and perishability of human existence) that Paul’s holistic conception of the human being becomes most apparent. Paul’s discussion of the resurrection of the body makes it most clearly evident that Paul considers the sōma to belong constitutively and inseparably to human being-and-living, both now and in the telos (goal, end).
    In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul identifies human being-living as experienced through a “psychic body” (sōma psychikon) or a “spiritual body” (sōma pneumatikon; 1 Cor. 15:44–45). English translations have consistently mistranslated 1 Cor. 15:44, making a contrast between a “physical” body and a “spiritual” body, importing a physical-spiritual dualism that is not Paul’s. In this text Paul contrasts two forms of bodily animation, one “psychic” (psychikon) and the other “pneumatic” (pneumatikon), as a way to strike a midpoint between the Hellenistic body-soul dualism of his audience (which rejected bodily resurrection, period) and a naïve physical resuscitation model of resurrection. The bottom line for Paul is that human existence in either condition—whether in the present age or the age to come—must be bodily (“embodied” sounds too dualistic), whatever the precise animation and whatever the precise “physical” character. That psychikon here does not refer especially to the “physical” feature of the current body is indicated by Paul’s supportive scriptural citation of Genesis 2:7 in 15:45, which draws attention to the first human as being made bodily into a psychē zōsa, translating the Hebrew, nephesh chayyah, “living being.” Even the subsequent distinction between the “earthly” body and the “heavenly” body (vv 47–49) is not one of physical versus spiritual (or material versus immaterial), since for Paul the heavenly is a kind of substance or form (e.g. 1 Cor. 15:39–41). Both kinds of bodily material require animation—and vice versa, both animations require bodily form—for there to be life. The only mode or form of human existence that there is, in either dimension, is bodily existence. 
    Paul’s exposition of the character of and transition between these two modes is also instructive. The two modes are characterized elsewhere as “body of humiliation” as opposed to a “body co-formed to the body of [Christ’s] glory” (Phil. 3:21), or as “bearing the image of the human of dust” compared to “bearing the image of the human of heaven” (the second Adam, 1 Cor. 15:47–49). The most crucial language of resurrection, then, is transformational language, emphasizing continuing within discontinuity. Paul says “we shall all be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51, 52) and that our body will be “transformed” (metaschēmatizō; Phil. 3:21), such that it will be “co-formed” to that of the “image of God’s son” (symphytos, Rom. 6:5; symmorphos, Rom. 8:29; Phil. 3:21). Further, this is described as the “redemption of our body,” linked inseparably with the liberation of all creation (Rom. 8:18–25; Phil. 3:21; 1 Cor. 15:24–28). And so Paul can speak of this as a “glorification” (Rom. 8:17, 30; cf. 2 Cor. 4:17). Just as Paul does not speak of the replacement of all creation but of its transformation, Paul also speaks not of an exchange of bodies, even less an escape from bodies, but of the transformation of bodily life. And in continuity with Jewish resurrection hope, Paul understood resurrection not just as bodily but also as involving the restoration of a people within a transformed creation.  Paul on the Human Being as a “Psychic Body”: Neither Dualist nor Monist, Gordon Zerbe, 2008

    As Christians for whom Jesus is Lord and Savior, when we die do we go to that place, Heaven, and sit on clouds and praise God? Do we get a new body when we get to that place, one that is perfectly formed and without blemish?
    Paul doesn't seem to think so or say so.  Zerbe's article, which seems scholarly, makes the point that it is not the body which changes but what animates the body (soma)--the natural (sarx) or the spiritual (pneuma) in 1 Corinthians 15.  This is what happens when we are born {again, from above), we receive God's Holy Spirit into our self, our body and soul.  Now it is Christ who lives in me, the same body with the same soul.  The psyche does not go away, the body does not change:  the spirit gains supremacy.



John Paul II thinks of it this way

According to the words of 1 Corinthians, the man in whom concupiscence prevails over spirituality, that is, the "natural body" (1 Cor 15:44), is condemned to death; instead, he should rise as a "spiritual body," as the man in whom the spirit will gain a just supremacy over the body, spirituality over sensuality.  It is easy to understand that what Paul has in mind here is sensuality as the sum of the factors that constitute the limitation of human spirituality, that is, as a power that "binds" the spirit (not necessarily in the Platonic sense) by hindering its own power of knowing (seeing) the truth and also the power to will freely and to love in the truth.  However, what cannot be at issue here is the fundamental function of the senses that serves to liberate spirituality, namely, the simple power of know and loving that belongs to the psychosomatic compositum of the human subject.  Since the subject of discussion is the resurrection of the body, that is, of man in his authentic bodiliness, "spiritual body" should signify precisely the perfect sensitivity of the senses, their perfect harmonization with the activity of the human spirit in truth and in freedom.  The "natural body" which is the earthly antitheses of the "spiritual body," by contrast indicates sensuality as a force that often undermines man inasmuch as, by living "in the knowledge of good and evil," he is often urged or pushed, as it were, toward evil.

Man and Woman He Created Them, Audience 72, Section 4, February 10, 1982  John Paul II








Resurrection of the Body (Part 1): One Body or Two?

    Paul writes about the resurrection in a number of places yet in 1 Corinthians 15 he does so in detail.  Here is the Jerusalem Bible translation:
    It is the same with the resurrection of the dead:  the thing that is sown is perishable but what is raised is imperishable; the thing that is sown is contemptible but what is raised is glorious; the thing that is sown is weak but what is raised is powerful; when it is sown it embodies the soul, when it is raised it embodies the spirit.
    If the soul has its own embodiment, so does the spirit have its own embodiment.  The first man, Adam, as scripture says, "became a living soul" [Gen 2:7]; but the last Adam has become a life-giving spirit.  That is, first the one with the soul, not the spirit, and after that, the one with the spirit.  The first man, being from the earth, is earthly by nature; the second man is from heaven.  As this earthly man was, so are we on earth; and as the heavenly man is, so are we in heaven.  And we, who have been modeled on the earthly man, will be modeled on the heavenly man. 
Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 15, Verses 42-29. Jerusalem Bible.
    This is currently an unusual translation of soma psychikon and soma pneumatikon in verse 15:44.  Here is the translation from the NRSVCE, for example, of that verse:  It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body.  If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.
    Tom Coke, in his blog, has this to say:
    Though most versions use this language, they can be quite deceiving to many people who would immediately say this showed that Christians will be non-material spirits in eternity. If that’s the way they see it, they are being misled.
     Soma means the physical body as distinct from the whole person. It is the flesh (Greek sarx) in its non-ethical sense and not the psyche (soul or living being). A soulish body would make no sense.  A body (soma) is something you can touch and see. It’s what the resurrected Jesus was trying to tell his disciples after the two who met Jesus on the Emmaus road recognized him and hurried back to the disciples to tell them.
    Although Jesus could do things others couldn’t, it didn’t mean he didn’t have a body (soma). It was no less a body just because it was more powerful (N.T. Wright likes to use the term, transphysical).
    The suffix, -ikon, in which the psyche (soul) and pneuma (spirit) terms end, refers to function or ethics rather than substance or material. In other words, soma psychikon refers to the body that is empowered or animated by the life principle as found in Genesis 2:7 when man became a living nephesh (Hebrew meaning same as Greek psyche). So the soma psychikon will die. But the soma pneutmatikon, the body enlivened, energized, animated, empowered by the spirit will never die.
     Here there is the idea that we have a body (one body?) that is animated by the psyche and the pneuma.  And, Paul does not use use these two terms anywhere else in his extant writings, which doesn't help.
    What difference does it make?  When I listen to N.T. Wright, he speaks to the point that the we are witnesses of the "new creation", the kaine ktisis, a new form of creation.  Through baptism and chrismation we become part of the body of Christ.  And, yet, our bodies don't look like the description of Jesus's body after the Resurrection.
    Is there a discontinuity between the soma psychikon and the soma pneumatikon?  Or is there some overlap, as when Saint Paul says in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." Amplified Bible?
    In 15:33 Paul seems to says there is only one body that is "clothed" with imperishability and immortality, though:  "because our present perishable nature must put on imperishability, and this mortal nature must put on immortality" Jerusalem Bible.  Is it safe to say that in our current time in the desert of the New Exodus, when we have been freed from Egypt yet not made our way to the Promised Land, that our body is enlivened by both?  This was not the view two hundred years ago and not a shared view in Christianity today.
    The Catholic Church teaches: "What is rising?  In death, the separation of the soul from the body, the human body decays and the soul goes on to meet God, while awaiting reunion with its glorified body.  God, in His Almighty Power, will definitively grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the power of Jesus' Resurrection."   Cathechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition,  997, 1997.
    Does that help?  Sounds like one body to me.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Are We One or Two

    It is the same with the resurrection of the dead:  the thing that is sown is perishable but what is raised is imperishable; the thing that is sown is contemptible but what is raised is glorious; the thing that is sown is weak but what is raised is powerful; when it is sown it embodies the soul, when it is raised it embodies the spirit   

    If the soul has its own embodiment, so does the spirit have its own embodiment.  The first man, Adam, as scripture says, "became a living soul" [Gen 2:7]; but the last Adam has become a life-giving spirit.  That is, first the one with the soul, not the spirit, and after that, the one with the spirit.  The first man, being from the earth, is earthly by nature; the second man is from heaven.  As this earthly man was, so are we on earth; and as the heavenly man is, so are we in heaven.  And we, who have been modeled on the earthly man, will be modeled on the heavenly man.

Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 15, Verses 42-29. Jerusalem Bible

    It is especially in Paul’s discussion of the resurrection of the body (in the context of his assessment of the weakness, suffering and perishability of human existence) that Paul’s holistic conception of the human being becomes most apparent. Paul’s discussion of the resurrection of the body makes it most clearly evident that Paul considers the sōma to belong constitutively and inseparably to human being-and-living, both now and in the telos (goal, end).
     In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul identifies human being-living as experienced through a “psychic body” (sōma psychikon) or a “spiritual body” (sōma pneumatikon; 1 Cor. 15:44–45). English translations have consistently mistranslated 1 Cor. 15:44, making a contrast between a “physical” body and a “spiritual” body, importing a physical-spiritual dualism that is not Paul’s. In this text Paul contrasts two forms of bodily animation, one “psychic” (psychikon) and the other “pneumatic” (pneumatikon), as a way to strike a midpoint between the Hellenistic body-soul dualism of his audience (which rejected bodily resurrection, period) and a naïve physical resuscitation model of resurrection. The bottom line for Paul is that human existence in either condition—whether in the present age or the age to come—must be bodily (“embodied” sounds too dualistic), whatever the precise animation and whatever the precise “physical” character. That psychikon here does not refer especially to the “physical” feature of the current body is indicated by Paul’s supportive scriptural citation of Genesis 2:7 in 15:45, which draws attention to the first human as being made bodily into a psychē zōsa, translating the Hebrew, nephesh chayyah, “living being.” Even the subsequent distinction between the “earthly” body and the “heavenly” body (vv 47–49) is not one of physical versus spiritual (or material versus immaterial), since for Paul the heavenly is a kind of substance or form (e.g. 1 Cor. 15:39–41). 31 Both kinds of bodily material require animation—and vice versa, both animations require bodily form—for there to be life. The only mode or form of human existence that there is, in either dimension, is bodily existence.
    Paul’s exposition of the character of and transition between these two modes is also instructive. The two modes are characterized elsewhere as “body of humiliation” as opposed to a “body co-formed to the body of [Christ’s] glory” (Phil. 3:21), or as “bearing the image of the human of dust” compared to “bearing the image of the human of heaven” (the second Adam, 1 Cor. 15:47–49). The most crucial language of resurrection, then, is transformational language, emphasizing continuing within discontinuity. Paul says “we shall all be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51, 52) and that our body will be “transformed” (metaschēmatizō; Phil. 3:21), such that it will be “co-formed” to that of the “image of God’s son” (symphytos, Rom. 6:5; symmorphos, Rom. 8:29; Phil. 3:21). Further, this is described as the “redemption of our body,” linked inseparably with the liberation of all creation (Rom. 8:18–25; Phil. 3:21; 1 Cor. 15:24–28). And so Paul can speak of this as a “glorification” (Rom. 8:17, 30; cf. 2 Cor. 4:17). Just as Paul does not speak of the replacement of all creation but of its transformation, Paul also speaks not of an exchange of bodies, even less an escape from bodies, but of the transformation of bodily life. And in continuity with Jewish resurrection hope, Paul understood resurrection not just as bodily but also as involving the restoration of a people within a transformed creationPaul on the Human Being as a “Psychic Body”: Neither Dualist nor Monist, Gordon Zerbe, 2008

As Christians for whom Jesus is Lord and Savior, when we die do we go to that place, Heaven, and sit on clouds and praise God? Do we get a new body when we get to that place, one that is perfectly formed and without blemish?

Paul doesn't seem to think so or say so.  Zerbe's article, which seems scholarly, makes the point that it is not the body which changes but what animates the body (soma)--the natural (sarx) or the spiritual (pneuma) in 1 Corinthians 15.  This is what happens when we are born {again, from above), we receive God's Holy Spirit into our self, our body and soul.  Now it is Christ who lives in me, the same body with the same soul.  The psyche does not go away, the body does not change:  the spirit gains supremacy.

John Paul II thinks of it this way
According to the words of 1 Corinthians, the man in whom concupiscence prevails over spirituality, that is, the "natural body" (1 Cor 15:44), is condemned to death; instead, he should rise as a "spiritual body," as the man in whom the spirit will gain a just supremacy over the body, spirituality over sensuality.  It is easy to understand that what Paul has in mind here is sensuality as the sum of the factors that constitute the limitation of human spirituality, that is, as a power that "binds" the spirit (not necessarily in the Platonic sense) by hindering its own power of knowing (seeing) the truth and also the power to will freely and to love in the truth.  However, what cannot be at issue here is the fundamental function of the senses that serves to liberate spirituality, namely, the simple power of know and loving that belongs to the psychosomatic compositum of the human subject.  Since the subject of discussion is the resurrection of the body, that is, of man in his authentic bodiliness, "spiritual body" should signify precisely the perfect sensitivity of the senses, their perfect harmonization with the activity of the human spirit in truth and in freedom.  The "natural body" which is the earthly antitheses of the "spiritual body," by contrast indicates sensuality as a force that often undermines man inasmuch as, by living "in the knowledge of good and evil," he is often urged or pushed, as it were, toward evil.
Man and Woman He Created Them, Audience 72, Section 4, February 10, 1982

 

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Alone with God

2.  This man, about whom the account of the first chapter [of Genesis] says that he has been created "in the image of God," is manifested in the second account as a subject of the covenant, that is, a subject constituted as a person, constituted according to the measure of "partner of the Absolute," inasmuch as he must consciously discern and choose between good and evil, between life and death.  The words of the first command of  God-Yahweh (Gen 2:16-17)[about what to eat], which speak directly about the submission and dependence of man-creature on his Creator, indirectly reveal precisely this level of humanity as subject of the covenant and "partner of the Absolute".   Man is alone:  this is to say that through his own humanity, through what he is, he is at the same time set into a unique, exclusive, and unrepeatable relationship with God himself. ...
Man and Woman He Created Them, General Audience of October 24, 1949, John Paul II

6.  Suffering, and the consecration it demands, cannot be understood perfectly outside the context of baptism.  For baptism, in giving us our identity, gives us a divine vocation to find ourselves in Christ.  But both the grace and character of baptism give our soul a spiritual conformity to Christ in His sufferings.  For baptism is the application to our souls of the Passion of Christ.
     Baptism engrafts us into the mystical vine which is the body of Christ, and makes us live in His life and ripen like grapes on the trellis of His Cross.  It brings us into the communion of the saints whose life flows from the Passion of Jesus.  But every sacrament of union is also a sacrament of separation.  In making us members of one another, baptism also more clearly distinguishes us, not only from those who do not live in Christ, but also and even especially from one another.  For it gives us our person, incommunicable vocation to reproduce in our own lives the life and sufferings and charity of Christ in a way unknown to anyone else who has ever lived under the sun.
No Man is an Island, Chapter 5 "The Word of the Cross"  Thomas Merton, OCSO  1955 p. 82

In the theology of the body (Man and Woman He Created Them), JPII describes the "Original Solitude" of  Adam in Eden.  Man is a person, a partner of God through covenant, who discerns between good and evil in his appetite.  Until God creates Eve, Adam is alone with God.  In Baptism, we again enter into covenant with God and become part of the body of the Christ.  We are again alone with God but this time we are joined to other Christians through Christ.  This leaves us alone in our interiority, in our hearts.  When we suffer from evil it is because of how we fulfill our appetites.  If we satisfy the desires of God, we encounter good.  If we fulfill the desires of our "fallen" hearts, we encounter evil.  We suffer when we encounter this fruit of evil (ours or someone else's) and we suffer in our interiority.  We are alone except for God, for Jesus.  If we suffer in union with Jesus, we are not alone within our suffering, we are united with Jesus in His suffering.  And, we are united with Jesus in His resurrection .




Saturday, May 16, 2020

Good by Accident

     The Christian must not only accept suffering:  he must make it holy.  Nothing so easily becomes unholy as suffering.
     Merely accepted, suffering does nothing for our souls except, perhaps, to harden them.  Endurance alone is no consecration.  True asceticism is not a mere cult of fortitude.  We can deny ourselves rigorously for the wrong reason and end up pleasing ourselves mightily with our self-denial.
     Suffering is consecrated to God by faith--not by faith in suffering, but by faith in God.  To accept suffering stoically, to receive the burden of fatal, unavoidable, and incomprehensible necessity and to bear it strongly, is no consecration.
     Some men believe in the power and the value of suffering.  But their belief is an illusion.  Suffering has no power and no value of its own.
     It is valuable only as a test of faith.  What if our faith fails in the test?  Is it good to suffer, then?  What if we enter into suffering with a strong faith in suffering, and then discover that suffering destroys us?
     To believe in suffering is pride:  but to suffer, believing in God, is humility.  For pride may tell us that we are strong enough to suffer, that suffering is good for us because we are good.  Humility tells us that suffering is an evil which we must always expect to find in our lives because of the evil that is in ourselves.  But faith also knows that the mercy of God is given to those who seek Him in suffering, and that by His grace we can overcome evil with good.  Suffering, then becomes good by accident, by the good that it enables us to receive more abundantly from the mercy of God.  It does not make us good by itself, but it enables us to make ourselves better than we are.  Thus, what we consecrate to God in suffering is not out suffering but our selves
No Man Is an Island, Chapter Five,"The Word of the Cross", Thomas Merton 1955


This is a great summary of what makes suffering redemptively of great value in our spiritual transformation:  what is evil can contribute to our good if we seek God in our suffering and, thus, receive His mercy all the more.   We suffer because of our sarx, because of the evil that is within us and around us.  Yet 
To the suffering brother or sister Christ discloses and gradually reveals the horizons of the Kingdom of God: the horizons of a world converted to the Creator, of a world free from sin, a world being built on the saving power of love. And slowly but effectively, Christ leads into this world, into this Kingdom of the Father, suffering man, in a certain sense through the very heart of his suffering. For suffering cannot be transformed and changed by a grace from outside, but from within. And Christ through his own salvific suffering is very much present in every human suffering, and can act from within that suffering by the powers of his Spirit of truth, his consoling Spirit.
Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris, Section 26, Pope John Paul II  1984


Through our joining our suffering with the suffering of Christ in His Passion and Death, we are led into the Kingdom of God, into the royal nature (basileia) of God, because God is present in our human suffering.  To suffer redemptively is to seek God in the midst of our suffering and "to receive more abundantly from the mercy of God" within ourselves, within our hearts.  This is not easy.


Thursday, May 14, 2020

Labor Pains

"[in Romans 8]  Paul wants to make clear, this side of the world to come, there are some things that have to happen, still.  And, one he says is that those who are sons are heirs.  Now, heirs of what?  Well I think, in light of Romans as a whole, heirs of the heavenly world to come, that through His death and resurrection Jesus has inaugurated, begun, a new world.  For Paul as a former Pharisee, as a Jew, ultimately I think as a Jew his hope is, as was the hope of many Pharisees, that there would be a resurrection of the just when a new heavens and a new earth would dawn in full. ... When Paul saw Jesus alive on the road to Damascus, it was not just a gamechanger for him personally, it was a gamechanger for the cosmos because that world is now inaugurated, it started right in the midst of human history. ... And, so, it changed everything for Paul and that's what he is saying we are heirs of.  And then he gives the proviso, provided that we suffer with Him in order that we might be glorified with Him.  And that is a comprehensive "provided"! ... He keeps going and further explains the rationale, he said that all creation now is groaning and he uses a term with rich significance for the faith of Israel, "labor pains", all of creation is in birth pangs.  There's a heritage, beginning in the book of Daniel and onward, in Jewish faith, not all of it but in certain segments of second temple Judaism, there was a hope that there would be a new heavens and a new earth dawns but only after a period of tribulation, great suffering.  Brant Pitre wrote his dissertation on this in the gospels, that the birth pangs are a great suffering before the dawning of a new world.  Brant shows that Jesus was inaugurating that, that He was the one going ahead as the son of Man.  Paul I think is cut from the same cloth, he is saying that this new world comes and has been inaugurated through Christ's suffering but here's the kicker:  all the rest of those who belong to Him continue to suffer and that constitutes the birth pangs of this new world.  And, so, through the suffering of the adopted children, this births the heavenly world to come.  So Paul can continue on and then say, the hidden purposes of God in predestination are to predestine all those to be conformed to the image of the Son, who is the first born of many brothers.  So He went and all the rest of the adopted son and daughters continue that work, and that work is through their sufferings, it's the birth pangs of bringing a new heavens and a new earth.  So our suffering is the necessary condition for birthing this new heavens and new earth. 

...What's interesting is that Ignatius of Antioch, in 110AD, doesn't seem to miss this kind of logic.  He doesn't use the language of birth pangs, to my remembrance, he talks about becoming the "wheat" of God, that he will offer himself up and he says that he's only begun to be a disciple and that he will only fully be a disciple when he is conformed to Christ crucified.  The trajectory of Ignatius' life was to be fully conformed to Christ crucified.  You can see this logic work itself out in many corners of the early church, that the call to full discipleship is the call to give themselves like the Master.  Whether or not they're thinking about say this book of Daniel and these other second temple texts that weren't necessarily canonical, they were living it.  That is, that they were looking to continue to birth this new world to come, which is why you could see this in the rise of the cult of the martyrs, that their deaths would be called their birth day.  And it's their birth into that world! "
Dr. John Kincaid, The Art of Catholic, podcast 99.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Let us lift up our hearts We lift them up to the Lord

"O my Jesus, in thanksgiving for Your many graces, I offer You my body and soul, intellect and will, and all the sentiments of my heart. Through the vows, I have given myself entirely to You; I have then nothing more than I can offer you.  Jesus said to me, My daughter, you have not offered Me that which is really yours. I probed deeply into myself and found that I love God with all the faculties of my soul and, unable to see what it was that I had not yet given to the Lord, I asked, “Jesus, tell me what it is, and I will give it to You at once with a generous heart.” Jesus said to me with kindness, “Daughter, give Me your misery, because it is your exclusive property”. At that moment, a ray of light illumined my soul, and I saw the whole abyss of my misery. In that same moment I nestled close to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus with so much trust that even if I had the sins of all the damned weighing on my conscience, I would not have doubted Gods mercy  but, with a heart crushed to dust, I would have thrown myself into the abyss of Your mercy. I believe, O Jesus, that You would not reject me, but would absolve me through the hand of Your representative. (Diary of Saint Faustina, Entry 1318)

Perhaps the greatest self-emptying we can accomplish is to give our misery, our wretchedness to God.  We often find it useful to hold on to our suffering, as we can control other people as well as to justify our own actions through complaining, accusing, and judging based on our own pain .  This is really our most absolute trust in God, for if we give up our misery and wretchedness to Him, what do we have left that is ours? What power of our own do we have left to attempt to control others?