Further Meditations on Grace, Christmas & Divinity Visiting Earth

Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner connects Christmas and grace in a very direct way when he writes that the “highest realization” of the “Christian doctrine of grace [is] when the divine logos becomes a creature.”     

The intimacy of incarnation: “Madonna Breastfeeding the Child.” Painting by Pompeo Batoni, c. 1770. Museo de Arte de São Paulo, on Wikimedia Commons.

It follows that Christmas is an especially grace-filled event with consequences for all humanity.  Indeed, grace “divinizes the essence, powers and activity of humans.”  

Thanks to the Christmas event, the Incarnation of Divinity entering human history with all its trials and tribulations, and “by the Absolute outgoing self-communication,..and by the incarnation and grace…the created world” is set “free for its own history.”

What an invitation lies here for humanity to grow up and stand up, become adults who are lovers and justice-makers and peace-makers! 

This is surely our “own history” that we are now set free to create, isn’t it? 

Christmas is an ultimate moment in the “self-communication” of Divinity or “the Absolute’s” special outreach to human beings.  The Creator God is not distant or impersonal, but very eager to dwell among humans.  Earth, a tiny dot in a two-trillion-galaxy universe, boasts a special divine visitation.  So speaks the Christmas and Jesus story.

Humanity learns of divine visitation: “Angels Announcing the Birth of Christ to the Shepherds.” Painting by Govert Flinck, 1639. Louvre Museum, on Wikimedia Commons.

The result of that visitation, says Rahner, is that by grace God communicates himself [and] makes humans share in the very nature of God. Humanity constitutes as co-heir with the Son himself, called to the eternal life of God face to face, called to receive the direct vision of God, called therefore to receive God’s own life.

We are curious about UFOs and about other forms of intelligent life visiting or having visited planet Earth—as well we should be.  But what about The Maker of the Cosmos and the Great Mystery visiting Earth as well?  Is there evidence that God truly visits the Earth? 

The Christ story says that has happened and is happening still, the incarnation is a “continuous incarnation” just as creation is a “continuous creation” as Père  Chenu puts it so succinctly.

*Karl Rahner in The Encyclopedia of Theology: The Concise Sacramentum Mundipp. 588, 591.

See Matthew Fox, “Sermon One: All Creatures Are Words of God,” and “Sermon Two: Creation: A Flowing Out But Remaining Within” in Fox, Passion For Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart, pp. 57-74.

Also see Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice

Also see Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

Banner Image: “Adoration of the Shepherds.” Gerard van Honthorst , c. 1622. Pomeranian State Museum, on Wikimedia Commons via Google Art Project.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you sense at times that the essence, powers and activity of humans have become divinized?  What are those times?

Recommended Reading

Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart

Matthew Fox’s comprehensive translation of Meister Eckhart’s sermons is a meeting of true prophets across centuries, resulting in a spirituality for the new millennium. The holiness of creation, the divine life in each person and the divine power of our creativity, our call to do justice and practice compassion–these are among Eckhart’s themes, brilliantly interpreted and explained for today’s reader.
“The most important book on mysticism in 500 years.”  — Madonna Kolbenschlag, author of Kissing Sleeping Beauty Goodbye.  

A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice

In A Spirituality Named Compassion, Matthew Fox delivers a profound exploration of the meaning and practice of compassion. Establishing a spirituality for the future that promises personal, social, and global healing, Fox marries mysticism with social justice, leading the way toward a gentler and more ecological spirituality and an acceptance of our interdependence which is the substratum of all compassionate activity.
“Well worth our deepest consideration…Puts compassion into its proper focus after centuries of neglect.” –The Catholic Register

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

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8 thoughts on “Further Meditations on Grace, Christmas & Divinity Visiting Earth”

    1. Avatar

      Yes to the classical Nativity tableau of the Blessed Mother and Her Son.

      BUT we have evolved sufficiently to have inclusive Christmas cards ‘appear’ with the striking announcement “It’s a girl!” And deep soul Joseph, always on the margins or out of the picture entirely, sees his betrothed at risk because of her pregnancy yet completes the marriage taking on the burden of that risk to be her protector as well as act as ‘midwife’ to the birth, an act which would have him deemed ‘unclean’ by the purity laws of his time. Orthodoxy can’t put a chokehold on compassion. He was told in a dream to marry Miriam. 2000 years later Carl Jung pointed out that Voice Dreams are the most deeply authentic.

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        Dear Gwen. Thank you for your perspective and voice. It blessed me and made me laugh, Its a girl. How wonderful to imagine. Blessed be God. Blessed be her Holy name. Amen.

  1. Avatar

    Yes, even though — horrific wars are still going on around the world; pollution, the destruction of our planet continues by man made economic forces based on greed; racism, poverty and social disparities/injustices/suffering continue in most countries — there are still many intelligent, compassionate human beings around the world who have not lost their Faith and are living their daily lives in their own unique ways and gifts with one another to express their DIVINE LOVE, Wisdom, Justice, Healing, Strength, Creativity, Joy, Hope, Compassion… working through them in our Beautiful Sacred Mother Earth to continue helping to manifest/incarnate God’s Loving Diverse ONENESS Queendom~Kingdom on Earth as it Already Is Within Us in HEAVEN in the Sacred Process of the ETERNAL PRESENT MOMENT….

  2. Avatar

    “The ‘Prophet and the Incarnation’ is Not a ‘Cause’ ”

    Bringing forth an ever-flowing stream of inclusive peace, joy, love, truth, thanksgiving, mercy and compassion are signs of the prophet and the incarnation. Radical action occurs when the Spirit everlastingly manifests across all space and time. The ‘prophet and incarnation’ is not a ‘cause’ to be battled or won, rather the reflection of the universal reality. — BB.

    1. Avatar

      A “prophet” was someone who spoke out about the extreme distance and disconnect between the ideal, revealed Christ-exemplar (logos) life/plan/Creation, as contrasted with the actual situation. Prophets spoke out when humans stumbled badly and wandered far from their divinely-intended potential. Jesus, the DIVINE Exemplar (God fully living-in-human body, in time and matter) acted precisely AS mystical prophet, in addition to living as an example, speaking out against the arrogant judgement of sinners by other sinners, the suppression of women’s spiritual needs, and the money and power-based institutions of religions, among other things. He strongly spoke up for a different way of seeing and living.

      And as a woman-mystic, I will continue to speak out LOUDLY against the ongoing, appalling, UN-Christlike, Mystically UN-True, utterly corrosively harmful, shameful imposition of women’s second-class spiritual status by male fellow-Christians, which began so soon after Jesus’s crucifixion over 2,000 years ago. Men couldn’t wait to “correct” Jesus and put women (back) in their place, stooping to inserting their own preferred, abusive, dominance/male-ego model rather than aiming for Christ’s “ridiculously high” (and shockingly egalitarian) exemplar.

      How can women — and all humans — live up to their full and rightful, beautiful potential if they’re only given a distorted, abusive, cruelly limiting model? Prophets, mystics, women must all speak out.

  3. Avatar

    The times when I see our divinity are the times when people rush to help even into danger, like the UN workers dying in Palestine right along with all the other innocents. I see it in the brave people even in the most oppressive regimes who speak the truth and are imprisoned, tortured, and killed for it. I see it in the artists who create beauty to lift us all up. I see it in the prophets like Matthew and others who continue to teach us. And I see it in every small kindness, even a smile toward a stranger.

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