So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived! All of these new things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and who gave us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17,18. Common English Bible).
As part of my grief and healing through this past year, I have been reading a wonderful book to help me. The title of the book is, Walking in Valleys of Darkness: A Benedictine Journey Through Troubled Times written by Fr. Albert Holtz, OSB. In the very first chapter, Fr. Holtz writes about two different Greek words in the New Testament for the English word “new.”
There is the word neos which means “recent, young”. An example of this word, Holtz writes, is old wine skins and new wine skins (see Luke 5:37). The other word for new, which is what Paul wrote about in the Scripture basis for this blog post. That word is kainos which means “unheard of, unknown, previously un-thought of, entirely different from anything that went before it.” (See page 197).
The kainos for “new” that St. Paul wrote about calls us to an unheard of version of ourselves in Christ Jesus. This is a renewed sense of self that we find within our essence. We cannot see what is in our essence by ourselves. All of us in one way or another live with wounds and a false sense of self within our souls. Our souls need healing and redeeming every day by God’s mending love in Christ. Our essence is where our true sense of self is. It is in our essence that our spirit waits to be unleashed to live with hope that our souls will find salvation and peace.
As Christians who know of Jesus Christ and that God has plans for each of us (and the plans are all unique), and that our essence needs to be touched by the Holy Spirit; whom I have renamed The Holy Essence of God. Our spirit is seeking union with God the Holy Spirit is where we are kainos “new” people in Christ. From that kainos essence comes the new creation that changes us inside and out.
Sometimes, God uses the not so good things that happen in our lives to remake us into a kainos “new” self. This new self is found as we face the reality of our brokenness as well as in the whole person we truly are as The Holy Essence leads us through the difficult times of our lives.
Contemplative prayer and the mystical experience is often like finding the Light of Christ coming through the darkness of life. In that Light, God seeks union with us, and moves on us with The Holy Essence of God, to return to our own essence: and rise up as a kainos people. God sees us as kainos people in Christ, and wants us to live from that essence of new life.
“Elsewhere Scripture says: O God, you have tested us, you have tried us as silver is tried by fire.” (The Rule of Saint Benedict, Chapter 7, On Humility, vs. 7).
How is The Holy Essence of God, calling you to be a kainos “new” person in Christ?
Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB