Week 2 of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius begins with an exercise Ignatius gives us that is referred to as Contemplating the Incarnation. He invites us to take a step into the heart of the Trinity, from where we overlook the world from the heart of God. We know the whole world is embraced by God and we enter into the heart of God and overlook the whole world.

And what do we see? We see suffering, destruction, sadness, death, birth, life, hope, love. We see both the violence, the pain and the suffering and the job and love – and we see the heart of God holding both. Sin, injustice and war…and also peace, nonviolence and love – all held in the heart of God. We need to understand there is both – the violence and the love.

We see all this from the heart of God, experiencing the passionate love of God. Ignatius wants us to imagine God saying, “What more can I do?” And hear Jesus says, “I’ll go, Father.”

Ignatius wants us to see that, in spite of sin in the world, and my own sin, God loves us so much that he sends the Word into our midst.

Michael Moynahan, S.J. has a poem entitled Incarnation, designed to convey something of this first meditation. Here is how it goes:

We tried in so many ways to communicate our love.
If communication is not what you say but what people hear,
then what we said was warped and wrenched
into distancing prescriptions that had no heart.

You asked for food. We sent manna.
You asked for drink. Water flowed from the rock.
You asked for directions. Moses brought the law.
And on and on.
Still you grew more distant, more deaf, more blind.
Memories dulled. Speech slurred. Dreams dissolved into wander dust.

And so we did what families do when confronted with calamity.
We drew straws. Shorty lost.
He came to share your plight, your fight, your night,
and point you toward tomorrow.

Wishing Christmas blessings to you and your families!