The Mystery of Incarnation — Center for Action and Contemplation

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The Mystery of Incarnation


The Mystery of Incarnation
Friday, January 27, 2017

Francis of Assisi knew that if you can accept that the finite manifests the infinite and that the physical is the doorway to the spiritual (the foundational principle we call “incarnation”) then all you need is right here and right now—in this world. This is the way to that! Heaven includes Earth. Time opens you up to the timeless, space opens you up to spacelessness, if you only take them for the clear doorways that they are. There are not sacred and profane things, places, and moments. There are only sacred and desecrated things, places, and moments—and it is we who desecrate them by our blindness and lack of reverence. It is one sacred universe, and we are all a part of it.

The realization that the concrete opens you up to the universal might be the only fully trustworthy or possible path anyway, because that is how sensate humans normally operate. Much common religion is ideology more than any real encounter with Presence. But abstract theology will not get you very far. We all must start with our own anecdotal experience and then build from there. What else can we do? Wise spiritual directors, Scripture, and Tradition tell you what of your experience is worth looking at and what is perhaps a detour or a dead end.

When religion becomes mere ideology or theology, it starts—and stays—with universal theories; the rubber never hits the road again. As Pope Francis says, people all over the world are rejecting this ideological (top down) form of religion—as they should, because this is not the path of Christ himself.

By taking the mystery of the Incarnation absolutely seriously and gradually extending it to its logical conclusions, the seeming limitations of space and time are once and for all overcome. The Christ Mystery refuses to be vague or abstract; it must be concrete and specific. When we stay with our daily experiences and apparitions, we see that everything is a revelation of the divine—from rocks to rocket ships. The divine is disclosed everywhere for those who have eyes to see. Our only blindness is our own lack of fascination, amazement, humility, curiosity, awe, and willingness to be allured forward.

Gateway to Silence:
Awaken me to Love this day.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi (Franciscan Media: 2014), 6-7.

Image credit: Stigmatizzazionedi San Francesco (fresco detail), 1297-1300, Legend of St. Francis, Giotto di Bondone, Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, Assisi, Italy.
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