How Human Was Jesus? ? -- Patrick O'Connell

If this title doesn’t strike you as ‘odd’ you may be like I was a few years ago. As I’ve reconsidered the question using contemplative prayer, I find my life and my relationship with him being transformed. I know a man who is just like me (minus sin) who lives [walks, talks, discusses things, plays, prays for things, has personal preferences, favorite songs, and loves beauty…] in heaven with my Father. Now, I know he happens to also be fully God, but that does not diminish the human reality of this heaven dwelling man, Jesus. Somehow, my post-resurrection imaginings had over-emphasized the fully God side of his personhood to the point of obscuring my ability to see that what in fact awaits each true disciple of Jesus: a post-death extension of our human existence (minus sin) in heaven with this human friend and savior, Jesus. Humanness is not something to be overcome. Humanness is, in God’s words “VERY GOOD”! Humanness (minus sin) is eternally beautiful and precious.

So, how has this been transforming?

Keeping in mind these truths, I’ve simply been carrying on a prayer conversation with the Father asking Him to make me willing to be more human. I practice listening for, and then rejecting, lies which try to discount or disqualify various healthy human joys, passions and pursuits on the basis of their lack or overt ‘spiritual’ significance. I, at times, pray with engaged imagination “Father, reveal to me the ‘me’ you imagined when you said ‘Let there be a ‘me’!”.

As I’m slowly discovering the ‘me’ God envisioned ‘me’ to be, I’m simultaneously finding myself Spirit- empowered to put on (almost like putting on a robe) greater confidence, behaviors, and even different language rising forth from this more fully human version of myself.

It’s exciting. It’s a process. It’s scary at times. It’s an adventure I will (with God’s help) not draw back from. In the end I believe it’s a part of my faith walk I’ve been missing; It’s a pathway to the life of passionate-compassion, mercy, patience which will continue to make me an effective, compelling human witness to the love of Jesus, our savior.

My next prayer is this: that I may learn how to pass on to those whom God sends me this love and passion for God and a determination to do the same for those God sends them.