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Incarnating Jesus

In some mysterious way, the Risen Christ has gathered us all into His ongoing Incarnation, the Body of Christ. This continuity with Christ’s earthly Incarnation opens up new ways to achieve contact and intimacy with Christ. In His earthly life, Christ incarnated the infinite life and compassion of God in a unique way. When we give concrete expression in our lives to the virtues and qualities which He incarnated, we enter into real intimacy with Him.

When we live the Cursillo Tripod of Holiness, Formation and Evangelization, are we not incarnating Christ? After all, the Tripod is the process model for growing in the spiritual life.  Being a fully human person, Christ Himself had to grow through this process as He grew in wisdom, age and grace. At one level, we can say that living the Tripod is in fact imitating the life of Christ. But more significantly, we can say that living the Tripod is our way to intimacy with Christ. For Incarnational Spirituality teaches us that when we live the unique characteristics of Jesus, we incarnate Jesus as a member of the Body of Christ: we bring to birth the Christ within us.

Holiness. Before Christ ever asked the apostles, “Whom do people say that I am,” He had to first ask Himself that question. Like all human beings, He had to experience Self-discovery. He had to face the struggle between God-centeredness and self-centeredness. When Christ went off alone into the mountains for private prayer, He must have prayed: “Where is the Spirit leading Me?” He too had to grow in dependency on the Spirit. He too had to grow in compassion for others. He too had to grow in courage.

Christ put a special stamp on the way He grew in His relationship to God. The result: the spiritual growth process is not just a method; it is not just imitating Christ. When we give concrete expression to our pursuit of holiness, we achieve intimacy with Christ.

Formation. When Jesus returned to Nazareth to preach in the local synagogue, He deliberately chose the scripture that announced the signs of the Messiah’s coming. He knew His scriptures. It is not hard to imagine that Jesus spent much time studying the Old Testament in an effort to discover His identity and mission.

Again, Jesus lived a life of spiritual formation in a unique way. When we spend time studying scripture, performing spiritual reading, or attending retreats or lectures to form ourselves in the spiritual life, we engage in Christ’s unique activities. All these activities become so many opportunities for real intimacy with the Risen Jesus.

Evangelization. When we make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ, or when we create Christian communities that are charismatic, growth and evangelizing communities within our environments, what are we doing? Are we just following a methodology to transform society? No! Are we just imitating Christ’s life on earth? No!

In reality, what we are doing is to enter into contact with the Risen Christ. Why? Because Christ made His evangelizing so unique that He owns all evangelizing activities. When we evangelize, we enter more deeply into the life of the Risen Christ. We vibrate in real time with the living Risen Christ when we manifest in our small, but unique way, the infinite richness of God’s life and compassion in the way that He did.

We can experience deeper union with Christ in our moments of seeking holiness, in our moments of working at spiritual formation, in our moments of evangelizing. At such times, we are being asked to bring out in ourselves the Christ Who put a special stamp on the way He did Holiness, Formation and Evangelization. At such times, we should pray that the Spirit will empower us to incarnate through our actions Christ in the process of becoming Himself and thereby experience union with Him.