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.”
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.
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 Mundi, pp. 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?
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.