Unceasing Incarnation – Struggling to Walk In Our Vocation as Theotokos and Bethlehem

During the “reflecting on the writings of the saints” portion of my quiet time this morning I was reading today’s reflection from the Passionists website and realized that, in the Roman Catholic Church, today is the solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. The reflection, which can be found here, includes this statement:

From very early in the life of the Church Christians have believed that Jesus, who is the Christ, is fully human and fully divine. This was formally defined as a doctrine of the faith during the 3rd Ecumenical Council at Ephesus in the year 431. The Council expressed this belief by giving Mary the Greek title Theotokos, which means: The-One-Who-Gives-Birth-To-God! In English translation this is frequently expressed as: “The Mother of God” or “The God Bearer”.

Christmas is proleptic. It draws us forward ever more deeply and completely into itself – His Way, Truth and Life. Our life, if it is a Christmas life, is not our own and yet it becomes truly ours by being a Christmas life. We gain our life by letting go of “my” life.

It is appropriate, as we journey through Christmas, to begin to let the other shoe drop, and ask, “If Christ is born of Mary then in what way is His dynamic incarnation – unceasingly being born – occurring now?”

So, the fruitful journey of addressing the question resulted in what follows. Perhaps it will be beneficial as you struggle with that same Christmas question.

I came across this quote, somewhere, that attributes to Meister Eckhart these words,

What good is it to me if Mary gave birth to the Son of God 1400 years ago, and I do not also give birth to the Son of God in my time and in my culture?  We are all meant to be mothers of God.  God is always needing to be born.

So, the Theotokos is the icon of the disciple as “Christ-bearer.” This message is the whole point of the great Christmas hymn, “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

O Little Town of Bethlehem
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight…

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today…
(Phillips Brooks)

I am the Christ-bearer. My life is the address where those who are being invited to come and see the incarnate Christ show up. I am Bethlehem.

That led me to these two quotes from Meister Eckhart:

God enters into you with all that is his, as far as you have stripped yourself of yourself in all things. It is here that you should begin, whatever the cost, for it is here that you will find true peace, and nowhere else. Source

A man should shine with the divine Presence without having to work at it… One must be permeated with divine Presence, informed with the form of beloved God who is within him, so he may radiate that Presence without working at it. Source

So, I spiraled back around to the idea of “unceasing incarnation.” That led me to a quote from the writings of Franciscan priest and writer, Richard Rohr who has put it succinctly,

God is into giving away God.  That’s all God is doing is giving away God.  There’s nothing else.  That’s God’s job description.  I want to give away some more God.  And God is trying through every metaphor, every act of creation, every moment of time to reveal a little more of God. Source

That triggered Eucharistic thoughts. The poem by the English poet and Anglican priest, George Herbert:

Love
Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,

Guilty of dust and sin.

But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack

From my first entrance in,

Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning

If I lack’d anything.

‘A guest,’ I answer’d, ‘worthy to be here:’

Love said, ‘You shall be he.’

‘I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,

I cannot look on Thee.’

Love took my hand and smiling did reply,

‘Who made the eyes but I?’

‘Truth, Lord; but I have marr’d them: let my shame

Go where it doth deserve.’

‘And know you not,’ says Love, ‘Who bore the blame?’

‘My dear, then I will serve.’

‘You must sit down,’ says Love, ‘and taste my meat.’

So I did sit and eat.

So, Christmas is an invitation to come and “truly see” what is really going on in the world. Indeed, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5.8)

The pure in heart are those whose vision is the Christmas vision. The pure in heart truly have the “Christmas spirit.” They truly seek and see and serve Christ “at all times and in all places.”

Once again, more from Meister Eckhart:

All beings
are words of God,
His music, His
art.

Sacred books we are, for the infinite camps  in our  souls.

Every act reveals God and expands His being.
I know that may be hard
to comprehend.

All creatures are doing their best
to help God in His birth
of Himself.

Enough talk for the night.
He is laboring in me;

I need to be silent
for a while,

worlds are forming
in my heart.

“I AM can be spoken by no creature but by God alone. I must become God and God must become me, so completely that we share the same ‘I’ eternally. Our truest ‘I’ is God.” Source

Wow, what an amazing journey of revelation. God grant me the spirit of joyful repentance to adjust my life so this is more how I live my life in practical ways during 2014.

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