God’s Embrace Holds Us

The incarnation has revealed what true humanity is, to be realised not by running away from the world or turning our backs on it in indifference and fear. Christ does not reveal what it is to be divine but what it is to be human. That our God-likeness might become complete is the purpose of creation. And the way to human fulfilment is to penetrate right to the heart of the world, in all its sufferings, ugliness and desolation as well as its joys, beauty and integrity.

In Christ our humanity has undergone transformation. This transformation is not something added on to our nature – a divine layer on top of our humanity. It is rather the revelation of the intrinsic meaning of our lives. We are God’s dream coming true. We are God’s delight. God rejoices in our humanity and God is the energy behind every heartbeat of our lives . Another way of putting this is to discern the activity of grace within our souls. At our very centre is the address of the Holy Spirit. God has taken up residence in our innermost place. Again, the incarnation liberated God from the prison of the heavens, chained by God’s transcendence.

The Vatican Council’s document, The Church in the Modern World, makes it clear that in the past we over-emphasises the notion of two distinct worlds, one sacred, one profane. We forget that the old distinction between the holy and the human has been overcome in the person of Christ. In Christ it is revealed that God’s home is now in people. In him it is made clear that God speaks in and through the words and actions of all God’s creatures. Our prayer and sacramental worship are the necessary means of remembering and celebrating this profound truth . . . God’s gift of self-communication and healing compassion is happening to us in every event and at every moment of our ‘ordinary’ lives.

One could say that nothing is outside the reach of God. Even before we become present to others and to the world, we are already held in God’s embrace. We do not, for instance, have a relationship with God in addition to other relationships. We experience and relate to God, in and through all our relationships. Our relationship with God is inseparable from every relationship we experience.

(Passion for the Possible pp 18, 19)