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Center for Action and Contemplation

Reflecting God

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Incarnation: Week 1

Reflecting God
Thursday, January 14, 2016

We have created a terrible kind of dualism between the spiritual and the so-called non-spiritual. This dualism is precisely what Jesus came to reveal as a lie. The principle of incarnation proclaims that matter and spirit have never been separate. Jesus came to tell us that these two seemingly different worlds are and always have been one. We just couldn’t see it until God put them together in his one body (see Ephesians 2:11-20). “In [Christ Jesus] you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22). [1]

Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) said, “Creation is the primary and most perfect revelation of the Divine.” The original incarnation actually happened about 13.8 billion years ago with the moment we now call “The Big Bang.” That is when God decided to materialize and to self-expose. This was the “Cosmic Christ” through which God has “let us know the mystery of his purpose, the hidden plan he so kindly made from the beginning in Christ as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth” (Ephesians 1:9-10). [2]

Jesus the Christ is the very concrete truth revealing and standing in for the universal truth. I think this is precisely what he is referring to when he constantly calls himself “The Son of the Human.” Paul writes, “The fullness is founded in him . . . everything in heaven and everything on earth” (Colossians 1:19-20). Franciscan philosopher John Duns Scotus (1265/66-1308) says Christ was the very “first idea” in the mind of God, and God has never stopped thinking, dreaming, and creating the Christ. “The immense diversity and pluriformity of this creation more perfectly represents God than any one creature alone or by itself,” adds Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica (47:1). [3] Each manifestation is revealing a different part of the eternal mystery of God and therefore inherently deserves respect and reverence. [4]

This includes you too! Being human is just a little less than God (Psalm 8:6). To trust this gives us an extraordinary dignity that we have in our very human nature, because we are in fact “sons and daughters of God.” We are created in the image of God, we come forth from God, and we will return to God. We each uniquely reflect part of the mystery of God in between! We must find out what part of the mystery is ours to reflect. All I can give back to God is what God has uniquely given to me—nothing more and nothing less. [5]

Gateway to Silence:
God is not “out there.”


[1] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality (Franciscan Media: 2010), 17.

[2] Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Creation as the Body of God,” Radical Grace, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Center for Action and Contemplation: April-June 2010), 3, 22.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Adapted from Richard Rohr Franciscan Mysticism: I AM That Which I Am Seeking (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2012), disc 3 (CD, MP3 download).

[5] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2003), 96-97.

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