‘Incarnation means that each human person has been taken up into the very heart of God, into a boundless love that ennobles each human being, conferring on them an infinite divinity. We love this magnificent planet on which God has put us, and we love the human family which dwells there with its tragedies and aspirations.’ Evangelii Gaudium 178
As this book began, so it ends, with the meditative reflection of Rhineland Mystic Mechtild of Magdeberg
‘The day of my spiritual awakening
was the day I saw and knew I saw
all things in God and God in all things.’
Incarnation reveals that the energy pulsing within the universe, driving it ever onward and into eternity, is God’s outpouring, creative love at the heart of the cosmos and in the heart of every person. Everyone is, therefore, a unique expression of that same dynamic of creative love that is always enabling and ennobling us to realise our in fleshed divinity, affirming that every aspect of our human experience is already sacred. It is the same force that spins the planets, shapes the baby, transforms pain, and brings us to our knees in adoration. And when we are caught up in that flow of loving energy, we know that love will always somehow prevail, even in the midst of the tragedies that befall us.
The implications of seeing through the lens of incarnation in this way, of seeing God in all things and all things in God are immense. They demand of us a metanoia, a radical conversion of heart and mind to a new way of seeing, a new way of being, and a revisioning of the role of the Christian community, the church. It is Pope Francis’s hope that, recognising the planet within which we live as God’s body, and every person as a divine co- creator with God, we would take off our shoes and walk humbly and with reverence, cherishing our Mother Earth and each other. The everyday choices we make in terms of our use of natural resources, our patterns of consumption and our way of relating to one another, would be for the flourishing of our planet and of the whole human family. Compassion would be the leitmotif by which the Christian community would be recognised.
Faced with the divisions we see in our world, the poverty, violence and oppression of human families, together with the destruction and wanton depletion of the Earth’s resources, Pope Francis is making an urgent call for renewal at every level. He is wise enough to know, however, that first our own hearts must be set on fire with a vision that is compelling if we are to be innovators of this new reign of compassion. For the Pope, love is the touchstone, and he refers to Jesus loving ‘this magnificent planet on which we are placed by God, and the people who live on it’. The starting point is to look anew with wonder and great compassion are at our earthly home. We are speaking of the attitude of the heart, one which approaches life with serene attentiveness, which accepts each moment of a gift from God to be lived to the full.
There is a powerful image that might serve to challenge us to recognise evermore deeply the power we carry. Can we begin to see ourselves as the latest, most complex expression of God’s creation? On the one hand we are creation become self-consciousness through the divine flow of the evolving love within us now. And we are also, through incarnation, the earthly embodiment of God. We could see ourselves then, first as a mirror, able to reflect back to Mother Earth, in a way no of the creature can, the beauty we behold, the beauty she is. And we could also truly think of ourselves as the fleshing of God’s eyes through which God can see the world. There is much to contemplate in this way of perceiving our central, quite unbelievable role in the whole astonishing story of divine evolution – to be the eyes of both creation and God. St Theresa tries to understand this mystery in the words the Risen Christ spoke to her about his need of her eyes, ears, tongue if ever the world is to be saved. I offer another glimpse in a short meditation:
And God said
May you delight in your body;
It is my body too.
Please see the world anew each day;
how else can I behold my beauty?
Fill the earth with the sounds of life;
how else can I hear my song?
May your skin rejoice in the passion of the sun;
and your tongue tingle with the joy of new wine.
Don’t you know you are my senses?
Without your body I cannot be here.
(An Astonishing Secret pp229-231)