Incarnation: Week 1
Summary: Sunday, January 10-Friday, January 15, 2016
Because of incarnation, we can say, “God is with us!” (Sunday)
The genius of the biblical revelation is that we will come to God through “the actual,” the here and now, or quite simply what is. (Monday)
Healthy religion, as the very word re-ligio (“rebinding”) indicates, is the task of putting our divided realities back together: human and divine, male and female, heaven and earth, sin and salvation, mistake and glory. (Tuesday)
Just as we have domesticated the Gospel to make it into a means of social order and control, so we have avoided the scandal of the incarnation to avoid God “in his most dangerous disguise” —this material world. (Wednesday)
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! (Thursday)
If God is Trinity and Jesus is the face of God, then it is a benevolent universe. God is not someone to be afraid of, but is the Ground of Being and is on our side. (Friday)
Practice: The Sacred Heart
As a Catholic, I was often puzzled by the continued return to heart imagery among our saints and in our art. The “Sacred Heart” of Jesus and the “Immaculate Heart of Mary,” where both are pointing to their blazing heart, are images known to Catholics worldwide. I often wonder what people actually do with these images. Are they mere sentiment? Are they objects of worship or objects of transformation? Such images keep recurring because they must have something important, good, and perhaps even necessary to teach the soul. What might that be?
Many have described prayer as bringing your thinking down into your heart. Next time a resentment, negativity, or irritation comes into your mind, and you are tempted to play it out or attach to it, instead move that thought or person into your heart space—literally. There, surround this negativity with silence (which is much easier to do in the heart) and your pumping blood (which will often feel warm like coals). In this place, it is almost impossible to comment, judge, create story lines, or remain antagonistic. You are in a place that does not create or feed on contraries but is the natural organ of life, embodiment, and love. Love lives and thrives in the heart space.
This practice has kept me from wanting to hurt people who have hurt me. It keeps me from obsessive, repetitive, or compulsive head games. It can make the difference between being happy and being miserable and negative.
Could this be what we are really doing when we pray for someone? Yes, we are holding them in our heart space. Do it in a physical, experiential way and you will see how calmly and quickly it works. Now the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart have been transferred to you. They are pointing for you to join them there. The “sacred heart” is then your heart too.
Gateway to Silence:
God is not “out there.”
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013), Appendix D.
For further study:
Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer
Richard Rohr, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality