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Center for Action and Contemplation
Incarnation - 2023
Incarnation - 2023

Mini Incarnations of Christ

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Franciscan sister Ilia Delio focuses on the theology of the incarnation and the universal nature of the Christ mystery:

The Christian message is that God has become flesh [sarx in Greek or “matter”]—not a part of God or one aspect of God but the whole infinite, eternal God Creator has become matter. The claim—God has become flesh—is so radical that it is virtually unthinkable and illogical. Christianity is the most radical of all world religions because it takes matter seriously as the home of divinity. [1]

So does everyone have to become Christian to know the Christ? Absolutely not. Christ is more than Jesus. Christ is the communion of divine personal love expressed in every created form of reality—every star, leaf, bird, fish, tree, rabbit, and human person. Everything is christified because everything expresses divine love incarnate. However, Jesus Christ is the “thisness” of God, so what Jesus is by nature everything else is by grace (divine love). We are not God, but every single person is born out of the love of God, expresses this love in [their] unique personal form, and has the capacity to be united with God…. Because Jesus is the Christ, every human is already reconciled with every other human in the mystery of the divine, so that Christ is more than Jesus alone. Christ is the whole reality bound in a union of love.

We cannot know this mystery of Christ as a doctrine or an idea; it is the root reality of all existence. Hence, we must travel inward, into the interior depth of the soul where the field of divine love is expressed in the “thisness” of our own, particular life. Each of us is a little word of the Word of God, a mini-incarnation of divine love. The journey inward requires surrender to this mystery in our lives, and this means letting go of our “control buttons.” It means dying to the untethered selves that occupy us daily; it means embracing the sufferings of our lives, from the little sufferings to the big ones; it means allowing God’s grace to heal us, hold us, and empower us for life; it means entering into darkness, the unknowns of our lives, and learning to trust the darkness, for the tenderness of divine love is already there; it means being willing to surrender all that we have for all that we can become in God’s love; and finally, it means to let God’s love heal us of the opposing tensions within us. When we can say with full voice, “You are the God of my heart, my God and my portion forever” [Psalm 73:26], then we can open our eyes to see that the God I seek is already in me … and in you. We are already One. [2]


[1] Ilia Delio, “Christogenesis by Any Other Name?,” New Creation, Center for Christogenesis, October 12, 2020,

[2] Ilia Delio, The Hours of the Universe: Reflections on God, Science, and the Human Journey (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2021), 105–106.

Image credit: A path from one week to the next—Madison Frambes, Untitled 7, 5 and 8 (detail), 2023, naturally dyed paper and ink, Mexico, used with permission. Click here to enlarge image.

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