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Monday, 15 December 2014 13:34

God with us

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Sr Berneice Loch rsm 150In a season characterised by shopping and material concerns, CRA President Sister Berneice Loch rsm reflects on the significance of the Incarnation - God becoming man - on our ecological consciousness.

With all the rush of Christmas preparation and last minute shopping, it is all too easy to lose sight of the wonder of Christmas and all too difficult to find time to savour the time of Advent, a most beautiful phase in the Church’s Liturgical Year. This year Advent has particular significance for us as Religious, as it marks the start of the Year of Consecrated Life to which the Pope has called us.

There is a sense in which we all need to set our own individual goals for the Year of Consecrated Life as well as make plans about how we can collectively, in our Congregations and Communities, make it a special year with a lasting impact in our lives and the life of the Church. With the Season of Christmas upon us, it is relevant and timely to consider how we could savour the miracle of the Incarnation this Christmas and perhaps make its message a focus of the Year of Consecrated Life.

It is tempting to simplify the Incarnation down to a baby in a manger, angels, donkeys and wise men, because the reality is so beyond our grasp. In the words of Elizabeth Johnson in “Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love”, “(it) affirms the radical notion that the one transcendent God who creates and empowers the world freely chooses to join this world in the flesh, so that it becomes a part of God’s own divine story forever.” She goes on to quote Karl Rahner, “The statement of God’s Incarnation – of God’s becoming material – is the most basic statement of Christology” (quotes from pgs 196 and 197 eBook by Fakenham Prepress Solutions, Fakenham, Norfolk NR21 8NN)

The context for Elizabeth’s writing is her reflection on the significance of the Christ-event for our ecological consciousness, our awareness that we are intrinsically related to and part of everything that is in the entire cosmos. It is quite impossible for us to be insensitive to abuse of others or abuse of the earth itself if we truly believe in the Incarnation, in God’s bodily presence in creation. Justice and eco-Justice are sometimes portrayed as being somehow in competition, at odds with each other. Instead they are simply two faces of the same enormous reality.

May the Season of Christmas with all its traditional enjoyment of liturgy, songs and feasting bring us to a renewed and deepened celebration of our identity as people loved by God. We are part of a cosmos which God has not only created from a distance but in which God dwells along with each one of us and all else created.

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