Tuesday, 11 December 2012 17:21

Encountering God

Written by  Father Daniel McCarthy
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There is no substitute for genuine personal encounter. This is true especially in our relationship with God, who is revealed to us as a communion of three persons in a single unity. God comes in person to us and draws us into a relationship. In this personal encounter, we change and become like him who became one of us.

This mystery is expressed in the prayer for Mass on Christmas day:

O God, who both wondrously fashioned,
and more wondrously restored the dignity of human nature,
grant to us, we ask, to be sharers of the divinity of the one,
who deemed it worthy to become a partaker of our humanity.
(translation from original Latin by author)


 
The Word of God put on our humanity and was born a babe, fully God and fully human without sin. We share in his divinity, but in a different way than he partakes of our humanity; we do not become divine in the same way he became human. Rather, when we share in his divinity, we become fully human.

To be fully human is to share on a human level in the communion of persons revealed in the Trinity.  When we share in that communion, we become fully human.

We say that the three persons of the Trinity are distinct from one another but not divided from one another.  They are united with one another but not confused with one another. We live this communion of persons on a human level when we respect personal difference between people without separating people from one another. We also speak of our communion with one another without confusing our personal identities.

This union in diversity is seen when, after many years, a married couple has learned to respect one another in their personal difference, yet are so formed by their union that they do not know themselves apart from one another.

After many years in the monastery monks and religious sisters may have a similar experience.  They may likewise be deeply formed by their identity as members of their monastic communities even as they define themselves in clear distinction from the others.

As we prepare for Christmas, remember that only one thing surely lasts. It is our personal encounter with God and each other.  Like the Trinity we are called to union with others in ways respect of personal differences.  When we gather this Christmas, let us take time to respect the differences we encounter in others.  When we do that, we reflect and experience more deeply the personal communion of the Trinity.  This is how we become fully human and so share of his divinity who partakes of our humanity.

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