Biblical Characters and the Enneagram: Images of Transformation

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9780921513131: Biblical Characters and the Enneagram: Images of Transformation

In what has been described as a 'breakthrough book,' three Vancouver Island authors have produced a volume that will be keenly read by students of both personality and religion.

Biblical Characters and the Enneagram: Images of Transformation explores the personalities of a whole range of Biblical figures through the lens of the Enneagram, an ancient system for understanding personality. The result is an exploration in self-awareness and a fresh look at the many compelling and insightful stories and people found in the Bible.

In the book, 18 biblical 'characters' are presented as models of transformation, personal growth and spiritual development, showing how the habitual masks we have all unconsciously learned to wear can be revealed as pale and unsatisfactory imitations of our original inner beauty. The book shows how these stories of transformation can lead us to embrace our real selves and discard the sham substitutes of our fabricated personalities.

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About the Author:

Diane Tolomeo received her Ph.D in English Literature from Princeton University. She currently teaches in both the English Department and the Humanities Diploma Program at the University of Victoria, Canada. Her talks and retreats focus on biblical literature, archetypes, and the tradition of Christian meditation.

Pearl Gervais has extensive experience in education and counselling. She holds degrees from the University of Manitoba and the University of Wisconsin, and has studied at the Tantur Institute in Jersusalem. She is a certified Enneagram teacher and gives workshops and retreats in the areas of personal growth, spirituality and business.

Remi J. De Roo, STD, received his doctorate from the Angelicum, Rome and is Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Victoria, Canada. He is a Vatican II Council Father and a certified Enneagram teacher. He holds five honourary degrees and is an internationally known lecturer and retreat leader. He has co-authored or authored six books including Even Greater Things: Hope and Challenge after Vatican II.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Spiritual transformation is a paradox. We strive for it, yet we cannot make it happen any more than we can make the acorn grow into an oak tree. We long for it even as its work is already going on within us. Its outcome is already assured but we are not yet at its completion. This paradox is well known in all the great spiritual traditions. Too often, we live in a limiting fashion while the work of the transformation of the soul moves like the breath and the wind and the dance. There are many ways to begin this work, many paths up the mountain, but from the top the view is the same.

When we speak of transforming our souls, it may sound as if we are trying to do something, as if we are undertaking a program which will guarantee that at the end of it, we are more loving and more peaceful, more resilient and better able to bear all of life's burdens. In fact, the most that we can really do is ready ourselves to be present to the ongoing encounter with the Divine. This encounter occurs in our deepest centre and never ceases, but most of us go about our daily lives unaware that we bear within us the image of God. Certain moments wake us temporarily from our sleep - intense joy, suffering or longing are their most common forms - but eventually we return to our normal condition of sleepwalking.

Transformation is a process of waking up. For some people, it may be instantaneous, a single life-changing experience after which they are more loving and more present to others and to the world. For most people, however, the journey is slower, a gradual unfolding of insights, feelings and actions which draw them closer to their divine core, sometimes called their Essence. Underneath all the layers of our personality - composed of all our likes and dislikes, our habits and preferences - lies something which is deeper, more profound, and lasting. Made in the image of God, we bear in ourselves the divine likeness. It unfolds according to its own rhythms and reasons. Our task, our work, is to cooperate with this unfolding, to say 'yes' to its workings, and to remove whatever obstacles in us hinder its freedom to flow through our hearts and outward into the world.

The Bible is full of stories of people who have allowed the divine image in them to have its way, to heal them of their frailties and vices, and to fill them with a love which radiates to others. As the first letter of John tells us, "what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves" (1 John 3:2-3). We are destined to be like God, and our work is to undertake the necessary healing of those parts of ourselves which are not whole. The biblical narratives provide us with many models of people who have consented to this transforming work, and we can learn from them by allowing them to act as our mentors. There are many tools we can use as we begin our instruction from these teachers. One such tool is the Enneagram which is based on an understanding of the relationships and balances between the human being's three centres of the Head, the Heart, and the Body.

How can we understand the Bible more fully and profoundly by approaching it through the insights offered by the Enneagram? How can we use our understanding of the Enneagram to lead us into deeper reflection on the characters we encounter in the Bible? The wisdom of the Bible can be perceived in many ways, and the Enneagram is a particularly useful method for both reflecting and respecting the biblical stories at the same time that it shines a new kind of light on them. The Enneagram offers us ways to work with the thinking, doing, and feeling aspects of ourselves. Its insights help us to understand the layers of personality we have acquired since our birth and how they so often get in the way of our spiritual transformation. By applying its wisdom to the people we encounter in the Bible, we can learn how the soul struggles and grows, and how the Divine encounters us in each of our various situations, offering life, healing, and wisdom.

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Tolomeo, Diane, Gervais, Pearl, Roo, Rem
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Tolomeo, Diane; Gervais, Pearl; Roo, Remi J. De
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