The Mystical Humanity of Christ Alive in the Advent Story

C. E. Umbria

The Mystical Humanity of Christ Alive in the Advent Story

What is the meaning of the Mystical Humanity of Christ? What does Cora Evans want us to understand by it and how does it show up in her writings? Cora considered promulgating the Mystical Humanity of Christ her central mission, as does the non-profit ministry of the same name sponsoring her cause for canonization and this website. One of the ways that Cora fulfilled that mission was through her writing, based on her mystical visions and ecstasies, which portray in vivid and moving detail intensely personal accounts of Gospel characters and scenes that invite us deeper into the Mystery of the Incarnation: to wonder at God in moving in Human flesh. 

The Incarnation, which is the heart of the Catholic faith, is at center stage in Advent. During our preparation for the Great Feast of the Incarnation - Christmas - we can take the opportunity to really meditate on God coming into the world He created, becoming a character in a story he wrote. This preparation often involves lights and cookies, as it certainly did for Cora and her family and friends too. But this visually attractive and sweet tapestry is laid over an invisible and immediately present but hidden reality. Advent is about this discovery, but what are we looking for? Is it about seeing and being seen, but who sees us, where, and why? What remains shrouded? 

Advent is a story that is pregnant with the mystery of seeking and finding and the very human longing - even aching - for the more we sense latent in all the season music, peppermint flavored coffee, and overstuffed stockings. At its face, Advent is quite a simple story that we all know and visualize collectively as a culture in the Nativity scene. All the main characters are there; some wise men, shepherds, angels, and depending on if you got a good deal a nice variety of animals packed around the manger, with Mary and Jesus hovering over the Christ Child. We know these characters all arrived in this moment, but sometimes they become too frozen in our imagination, in their own time, and if you are from Minnesota, then most likely under a few snowdrifts as well. 

In the piercing light of Christ, permeating through Cora Evans' body and soul, the icicles hanging off of Joseph's beard melt away. He moves off your lawn into your home and breaks through the coffin of our spiritually starved imaginations into a living being. Mary, normally hidden away in silence speaks, and the Magi, often drifting offstage finally arrive to encounter Jesus. However, it is not the blonde-haired plastic infant with his hands sprawling, but a real two-year old who is able to silence Kings and sooth his puppies who were "nestling in the Messiah's lap" while He was "caressing them," inquiring into their treatment, and pronouncing the great role they (dogs) have had in civilization." The small creatures "with paws on his knee, knelt as if in prayer." 

This scene, which is taken from The Advent Story: The Faith Journey of the Magi by Cora is arresting because it allows us to enter into the Gospel from a different plane, into a story more easily intersecting with our own world of puppies, two-year-olds, and unexpected guests. The effect is immediate and initiates intimacy as all meaningful stories and exchanges do, whether in airports or living rooms. It is easy to walk by a homeless person on a crowded street, but if you hear her story on YouTube on the other side of the world you feel a compulsion to reach out. Solidarity and friendship is the fruit of shared stories and lives. Otherwise, the other is just a frozen figure, related to our life as a background piece, unnoticed and incapable of wounding or welcoming us within.

Cora was wounded from within by this living Christ. His Presence hurt. Whether it was in the form of the stigmata or the shunning by former family and friends that she left behind on her journey towards becoming Catholic. Once she invited Christ to dwell within her, she opened herself to more joy and pain than she could imagine. Christ could not be set off to the side, like a statue in many of our homes. Her mystical marriage to Christ meant that everything mattered now and that her whole world came alive. Even a quick walk across a park could become an occasion for mystical ecstasy. From an early age, Christ had instructed Cora to "Constantly think of Me. Find Me in all things of the earth. I have left a thought of Me even in a blade of grass." Saints see Christ all the time, rather than trying to imprison Him in the Tabernacle, in the Sacraments, in the "big" moments of new life, sickness, and death. Like the homeless person you just took to lunch, it is hard to simply saunter by on a slow Saturday afternoon now. If its Esther from Bakersfield and she scarred by her military deployment and trying to save for an apartment to share with her grandmother who reminds you of your grandma, now Holly dwells within you. It is a living communion, the kind that we are made for eternally. 

Cora, based on her ecstasies, relates to us of how the Magi comes to dwell with Jesus and correspondingly how Jesus seeks to dwell with Him and with us. We get to hear his story, along with some of his friends - Kings who die without finding the One they are looking for. We get to see the clash between the Magi and Herod and how Herod despises mystery and he "will outlaw anything mysterious," for "Mystery is not for this world of intellect."  While Herod enshrines logic as supreme and wants to control manipulate others and the world, the Magi recognizes that in His search for "a magnificent Light" that as "white in color and its height was beyond the calculations of mere man" and admits that in their search the Magi "have not reached" their "destination, nor do we know exactly where it is, nor in which direction." The Magi is vulnerable and longs for someone greater than himself. He knows he can not dictate the outcome as he has been wandering for years but years in hope. 

After finding the Messiah and kneeling before Him communing with the puppies he has brought, "In desperation as to what to do, the great Magus knelt beside the hounds and asked the Child Messiah whether or not He would like to have the baby whelps of these two hounds. The face of little Jesus was suddenly enhanced with joy. That look of satisfaction was reward enough for the great Magus." As the Magi and Jesus are walking together shortly after this, Jesus "whispered, 'Lift Me up into your arms." The Magi had brought valuable gems and jewels to be given to the Messiah, but when he encountered Him in the Flesh, he met God in-person and "His heart received this message as if he were in ecstasy, seeing this little Child Jesus as True Man." 

The Magi had been seeking a Divine Messiah and He found Him. Yet, he discovered something more. He discovered a Sacred Humanity: Jesus as truly human. Yet as the story goes, this is not just the discovery of Jesus' Humanity, but of a more profound sense of his own. According to the private revelations of Cora's story, when the Holy Family flees Herod's wrath in Egypt, they providentially reunite with the Magi who becomes their companion and devotee. Initially, a zealous and serious religious seeker, the Magi is transformed by the joy and jubilance of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus as they embrace the life, culture, and spiritual strengths of Egypt. "They had helped him to rise above the solemn ascetical cult, seldom smiling which has been his heritage. He loved the new Way." While he wept when they left Egypt, he also had remembered all their laughter. He had reflected on the beauty of Mary and "the golden hued tapestry of Heaven folded into the eons." He had begun to contemplate the Mystical Humanity of Christ, to understand it meant the embrace of all the details of human life. From the stars and the puppies to the shared laughter of friends, every moment and reality contained the possibility of encounter and communion with Christ, his companion, the companion of all who seek Him.