Incarnational Spirituality

Like all spiritualities, Incarnational spirituality (Resurrection-centered Spirituality) has three components: a theology of God, a psychology of persons, and a methodology for deepening this human-divine relationship. Whereas the Spirit-centered spirituality focuses on our living with the Spirit as our interior guide, the Incarnational spirituality focuses on our manifesting the Risen Jesus’ presence and power within us through our ACTIONS. We were born to incarnate the Risen Christ in our own unique way!

Real Presence. The false impression is that Jesus was made flesh, walked the earth for some time and ascended physically to heaven─ “a thirty-three year experiment, a one-shot incursion by God into human history” explains Fr. Ronald Rolheiser in The Holy Longing. Rather, the Body of Christ means three things: Jesus, the historical person; the Eucharist, which is also the physical presence of God among us; and the body of believers, which is likewise the Body of Christ in an organic way.

The body of believers is not just a mystical reality, but a physical one; and not something that represents Christ, but something that is Him, states Fr. Rolheiser. The word was made flesh and continues to dwell among us. And in some mysterious way, He has gathered us into His ongoing incarnation as the Body of Christ.

Real Power. The Incarnation is the ongoing process of the Spirit penetrating us with Christ’s presence and powers. Where there is Christ’s presence, there is also His power. Yes, we have powers that we don’t realize that we have. We are the ultimate sacraments. Whatever the sacraments can do, we can do for each other. Baptism is a sign that we can help each other be born again in Christ. Confirmation is the sign that we can confirm others with the Spirit. We can forgive, we can heal, we can bind others to Christ through our love. We can make every meal a Eucharist. We can even unite with our deceased loved ones by living the special way they incarnated Christ during life.

Real Challenge.  The challenge is to take possession of Christ’s powers. We will have to make them our own if we are to act as the Body of Christ. We are so used to looking upon the Church as the keeper of Christ’s powers. Rather, we must look upon the Church sacraments as guides to what human beings need and signs of what we should be doing for one another.  Just the thought of assuming Christ’s powers is intimidating!

It helps to understand the psychology of human action. By action, we mean our willing, choosing and doing by which we become ourselves and determine our history. Further, our actions reflect implicitly our values, our vision of life, our view of reality. Our actions incarnate who we are as persons. Think of our Vision, Values, Action model. Thus, if we have incarnated Christ, our actions will show it.

Admittedly, we have pathological forces within us that hamper our growth. At the same time, there are sources of power at the core of our being that drive us to be more truly ourselves. One source is our eros, our inner fire, our life energy. Another source is our positive heart wishes to love, to be loved, to grow and to share life experiences. Then there is the divine power, the Spirit penetrating us with Christ’s presence and powers. The Spirit taps our raw energy and our positive heart wishes to prompt us to give birth to the Christ that we are already. So we do not imitate Christ as if He were exterior to us, but by BEING the Christ that we are ALREADY in some mysterious way.

We experience a little of whatSt. Paulmeant when he said: “Now, not I, but Christ lives in me.” You experience someone taking over your life and taking you beyond yourself in actions of faith, hope and charity. In those moments you have incarnated Christ in your own unique way.