To paraphrase the great theologian, Meister Eckhart, of the 1400s: “What difference would it make to me that Christ was born 1,400 years ago, if I did not also believe that Christ is born in me today?”
We spend a lot of time reflecting on the earthly birth of Christ. We have the four weeks of Advent to prepare for the feast of Christmas. We have the actual day of Christmas. And the church celebrates the weeks of the Christmas season after the actual day.
But January and February have fewer celebrations. Yes, there is Valentine’s Day. (And God have mercy on the soul of any man who forgets to buy a card or gift for his wife or girlfriend.)
But could we use this time, not just to reflect on romantic love, but also to reflect on divine love? Just as we long to love and to be loved, can we also imagine God longing to love us and be loved by us?
We believe that in the fullness of time God wanted to enter history and be born physically. Can we allow ourselves to believe that God wants to enter each one of us and be born in us?
Salvation history is not just about what God did in the past, but what God wants to do through each one of us in the present. If we believed God lived in us and in each person we meet, there would be no more murders in Baltimore City, or anywhere else. We would not need weapons of mass destruction. We would not need to spend billions on arms while millions starve.
I’m not being naive. I understand the need for police and military. Thank God for them. Original sin manifests in actual sins every day. I’m glad we have people to protect us from our worst impulses. But if I really believed God lived in me, how would I treat myself and others? If the world believed God lives in everyone, how would we treat everyone?
Someone has wisely observed: “Christianity hasn’t failed. It’s just never been tried.” True, numerous saints have been canonized. Countless holy people live lives of extraordinary goodness. God wants to take on our flesh and blood and be born in all of us.
What if we let that happen?