This Advent, Ignatian writers from across the Jesuit Conference are sharing 25 days of reflections on Ignatian heroes. You can receive these reflections directly in your inbox by signing up here.
Day 25: Jesus the Christ
By Eric A. Clayton
I know what you’re thinking. “But Eric, how can Jesus be in the Ignatian tradition? Isn’t it the other way around? Isn’t it more accurate to say Ignatius was following in the tradition of Jesus?”
And to that I say: It’s Christmas – why are you checking your emails?
But you’re not wrong. Saying Jesus is in the Ignatian tradition does feel a little backwards. And yet, is it?
Because each and every person we’ve met throughout these 25 days of Ignatian heroes has manifested to us in some unique, essential way what it means to be Christ, to live as Jesus the Christ invites us to. They build on Ignatius, yes, but the respond to the challenge of Christ – and they live as Christ in their own present moment using the spiritual tools of St. Ignatius in some important way.
In fact, each and every one of the writers who have generously shared their insights and reflections this Advent also manifest to us what it means to be Christ living right now. They, too, are Christ in the world, saying to us some essential, distinct word about the Word made flesh.
And you – yes, YOU – too, manifest Christ. Something about the Ignatian tradition has sparked in you a desire to come to know Jesus the Christ more intimately. And Christ already dwells within you, delighting in all that you are, inviting you into a closer relationship. Mystery meets mystery.
Today, Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, God incarnate among us. But Advent was never just the build up to a holiday, to the remembrance of an event from the distant past.
Advent has been about remembering and reclaiming who we are and who we might yet be: bearers of Christ to our world. We, too, are heroes in the Ignatian tradition, inspired to carry Christ into our world while recognizing Christ already there, in all things.
Jesus the Christ is a hero of the Ignatian tradition because Christ dwells in each of us, in each of the women and men we’ve encountered these past many days. Jesus invites us to rise to the challenge of the Christmas season, to go forth and see Christ already dwelling in the many modern-day mangers of our lives. We’re challenged to go and bear witness to Christ being born anew in the lives of each and every person – and, indeed, in the groaning of all of creation – on this very day and every day yet to come.
Reflection: Take a moment today to reverence Christ dwelling within you. How will you help others birth Christ already dwelling within them this Christmas season?
Eric A. Clayton is an award-winning writer and the author of “Cannonball Moments: Telling Your Story, Deepening Your Faith.” He is the deputy director for communications at the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States where, among other things, he writes the weekly column, “Now Discern This.” His essays on spirituality, parenting and pop culture have appeared in National Catholic Reporter, America, U.S. Catholic and more, and his speculative fiction has been published by Black Hare Press and others. Follow his writing at ericclaytonwrites.com.