Welcome to the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Participation 1: Incarnation

Question:

List three attributes of God that matter most to you.
Write your Answer – click here

Transcript of Video:

I keep coming back to the idea that we’re part of the ongoing embodiment or incarnation of Christ in the world, we’re the body of Christ. I have a kind of trinity of divine qualities or divine attributes that I think of here and one is love, God is love. And in the prologue it says, “That through Jesus Christ grace and truth come into the world.” So my little trinity of divine attributes, love, grace and truth, those are what I tend to fasten on. If I’m thinking how can I, how might I, how might we, incarnate or embody or make real, make concrete in this world the divine attributes, I think well what would be loving in this particular situation. What would be graceful or gracious or gratuitous or grateful in this moment or what word of truth might be spoken or what truth might be sought after. Both the seeking after and the speaking of truth participate in that word being made flesh even now as we speak. And I think things are most incarnational of the divine nature when they embody all three of those qualities of love and grace and truth.

– Br. Mark Brown

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85 Comments

  1. Annmarie on January 29, 2015 at 12:59

    Love, forgiveness, understanding . I think God understands some of the difficult times we face in this world. Even in everyday life we can sometimes make the wrong decisions. In light of this I believe God understands and forgives because of his love for us.

  2. Stephanie on April 4, 2014 at 14:01

    How many and how often commenters here called out forgiveness as a specific attribute of God’s grace is moving to me. Another attribute of God’s that matters to me is his DESIRE.

  3. Ellen on April 1, 2014 at 23:45

    Compassion
    Forgiveness
    Equality

  4. Diane Sherwood on March 31, 2014 at 12:30

    How do you say it any better than Dr. Brown? Well said, Mark. I have etched that mantra in my heart. Thank you.

  5. Meg on March 30, 2014 at 22:47

    1. Infinite Love, as expressed in His Gift to us of Jesus, all He taught and sacrificed for our salvation.
    2. Unconditional Forgiveness, allowing me to repent and try again to be an expression of His love in the world, rather than an expression of my human failings.
    3. Faithful Presence, His constant guiding voice in the promptings of His Holy Spirit when I listen, the instructive words of hymns and scripture, and acts and words of those in my life who are moved to act to be His hands and feet in my life and in the world.

  6. kew on March 29, 2014 at 17:58

    Love
    Immanence
    Infinitude

  7. Christina on March 29, 2014 at 09:35

    I am coming to this several days late: 29th.
    I have just been listening again to this week’s videos. I have the same concern this morning as I had when I first listened to the video.
    The first two attributes? Yes.
    The third one. Yes, but with tongue in cheek. I feel that it is important to watch our Words when we are telling the truth as we see it. Very recently I experienced this and while my Word was the truth for me, it was probably too sharp for my listener. The truth could have been expressed in a more loving way. God forgive me. Christina

  8. Beth on March 28, 2014 at 13:04

    Love “God is love.”
    Grace ‘ His grace fills me”
    Forgiveness He gave up His only Son that we may be forgiven”

  9. Christopher Engle Barnhart on March 27, 2014 at 12:20

    To me Faith, Love and Hope are the three most important attributes of God.

  10. Bonnie McNamara on March 25, 2014 at 16:49

    Love, forgiveness, and belief in the reality and strength of the Atonement.

  11. Claudia Booth on March 25, 2014 at 15:16

    Love, grace and truth, yes, we must be reminded of these these attributes in daily life, especially when we negatively judge others. Love, grace and truth must be applied to ourselves, as well.

  12. Bernadette Zimmerman on March 25, 2014 at 10:35

    The great lesson of Forgiveness. To be forgiven and to forgive. This can set you free. Thank you Jesus.

  13. Marilyn Weir on March 25, 2014 at 08:08

    1) LOVE. Unconditional love. Knowing that God loves me no matter what. 2) GRACE. Grace to me is that place in between the unconditional love of God and the very human place of failing and weakness that we live with every day. Grace is the bridge that helps us get back to God. 3) PEACE. Peace is what we have when we know God and are in harmony with God and ourselves.

  14. Dorothy Brown on March 25, 2014 at 05:58

    First and foremost Love. I am loved, not because of anything I do, but simply because I am a part of God. Compassion, for my weaknesses and failings, which he mercifully forgives. Omnipresence, God is in all things, upholding them, keeping the cells of my body working in harmony as he does all things.

  15. john on March 25, 2014 at 05:13

    patience-eternally patient;hope filled-a hope which always opens the future; creative-always ready to create something new from the ashes & dust

  16. Charlotte Cole on March 25, 2014 at 04:24

    Love, forgiveness & companion

  17. Donalee on March 25, 2014 at 02:26

    1. He is my Lord and Savour-.(unlimited power )-Omnipotent
    2. I am lost without Him -He is
    present everywhere – Omnipresent
    3. He loves me in spite of me – All knowing – Omniscient

  18. Kathy on March 25, 2014 at 01:54

    God’s love, compassion and presence – He is always there for me- to guide, forgive, strengthen and love- I can count on and trust Him – what an incredible gift!

  19. Sr. Donna Morgan on March 25, 2014 at 01:26

    Love, Faithful and Forgiving

  20. Deacon Susan in California on March 25, 2014 at 01:20

    I lean on the principles of my beloved Sisters of the Community of the Transfiguration: Kindness, Simplicity and Joy. These touch me as a way of life that reflects some vital attributes of God. In my prison ministry (Kairos) I meet god as Forgiveness, Encouragement and Hope. Now I’ll scroll back and read what others have disclosed. The attributes of God are limitless; thus, because we cannot know God, they needs must reflect what each of us most desires.

  21. Winifred on March 24, 2014 at 23:44

    1-Constancy
    2-Beauty
    3-Change

  22. Rebecca on March 24, 2014 at 22:02

    Love abounds in the heart
    Joy brings harmony to the soul
    Forgiveness leads to a sense of wholeness from within

  23. Gloria Veltman on March 24, 2014 at 21:54

    Love. Mind. Forgiveness.

  24. Denise Schroeder on March 24, 2014 at 20:17

    Forgiving, Merciful, Almighty.

  25. Dorothy Wilson on March 24, 2014 at 19:38

    Love, transformation , comes forgiveness and healing ; patience .

  26. Kathleen Sheehy on March 24, 2014 at 19:26

    He is the same yesterday, today and forever – a still point in all the turbulence of our lives.

    He loves extravagantly – gratuitously even, as Brother Mark said.

    He is WITH us, became one of us.

  27. Nellie on March 24, 2014 at 18:42

    The first word that came to mind – immediately at the end of the reflection – was “Humility.” Sitting in silence for a moment, the word “Mercy” comes to mind. But I am glad to see the word, “Love” at the top of brother’s Trinity. It is Love – for God, and God’s Love for Us, and Love for Each Other – that enables Grace and Truth and Mercy and Kindness. It is truly Humbling to acknowledge and accept, say “OK” to, bask, in God’s Love. Love provokes a “gladness of being,” humility.

  28. gwedhen nicholas on March 24, 2014 at 18:12

    Three attributes which mean the most to me are Love, Mercy, and Forgiveness.

  29. LindaR on March 24, 2014 at 18:01

    Love – unfailing, unconditional, beyond human comprehension.
    Compassion – God is the only one who truly knows everything about us, and rather than being repulsed by our weaknesses and sufferings, God suffers with us and cares for us with infinite mercy, grace, patience, and tenderness.
    Presence – God is with each of us continuously, even when we don’t notice.

  30. Lisa on March 24, 2014 at 17:56

    Being vulnerable, in and with God
    Being willing to grow, change, transform-transfigure
    Being forgiving in ourselves and in community.

    All of these, I feel-think, flow out of a decision to love,
    on God’s part (in the Beginning), on my part (now).

    And because that decision is beginning to matter to me in a new, more formed awakening, I feel different,
    a slight quickening of spirit. I notice my cells, busily moving about, seem reorganized into many climbing expeditions, as if they’ve just heard the view inside is opening out. They all want to be the first to see it for themselves.

    I loved reading everyone’s responses today. I am grateful to you all for opening the path with such clarity and devotion. What a Lenten journey this is.

  31. Louise Clarke on March 24, 2014 at 16:52

    His intimate constant presence
    His love
    His desire to participate in human concerns

  32. Win on March 24, 2014 at 16:23

    I think today it is good to write my answer before looking at others. It will be interesting to see how these answers vary or are alike. Br. Mark I loved your comment about truth – “what word of truth might be spoken or what truth might be sought after”. Those are two quite different actions. Truth spoken lovingly I’d hope might always be accepted. The second part was the most intriguing to me however – “what truth might be sought after”. That is something I can do in any situation (good or bad ((My judgement there not God’s))). In any event even if it is something I might consider by my own standards not to be good there will always be a truth to be sought after. I like that concept.
    The three attributes that came to mind first for God, and there are so very many, were abundance, wisdom and love – there always has to be love when thinking of what God is like. But then that word vengeance popped in there too. I had to look up the etymology for that word which actually was very helpful, because the original meaning is of being claimed as one’s own! So when God declares to being a vengeful God that declaration is simply claiming what is God’s to be God’s in the first place! What a comforting thought! That’s exactly what I want for myself – to be God’s own! So thanks be to God for being vengeful!

  33. Clare Keller on March 24, 2014 at 15:34

    God’s enfolding Love
    God’s grounding Providence
    God’s holy wisdom

  34. Lois Gagnon on March 24, 2014 at 14:50

    merciful——guidance—-Ever Loving Presence
    In a recent sermon heard, the theme was to remember that God always has our back. This thought goes with me daily, and thus brought forth this response.

  35. Margaret Dungan on March 24, 2014 at 14:38

    I too have to stay with love,,grace. and truth because if I stay with these three each one brings a new gift every day. It may be comforting,challenging or even scary but always life giving.
    Margaret.

  36. Marcos on March 24, 2014 at 14:15

    compassion, mercifulness, and steadfastness

  37. Eve Webster on March 24, 2014 at 13:58

    I can only add Power and Presence.
    I pray that God will be present with me and make me present in situations where I find myself.
    I pray that God’s power will make things happen for good, despite the distress we see in so many places.

  38. Maureen on March 24, 2014 at 13:48

    Love
    freely given
    Infusing

  39. barbara on March 24, 2014 at 13:15

    I am so appreciative of Brother Mark’s choice of words.
    I want to engrave those three words,Love,Grace and Truth,as a reminder to be aware and intentional in reflecting on opportunities to grow each moment.

  40. Julie Watt Faqir on March 24, 2014 at 13:12

    Love, Compassion, Grace.

  41. Marianne on March 24, 2014 at 12:25

    Love. Beyond all else.
    forgiveness/healing.
    truth/justice

  42. Margie Faulkner on March 24, 2014 at 12:20

    The three attributes of God that I think of most are His Love for us all, His Peacefulness that He shares with us and His Patience. If He is for us, who will be against us. Thank You Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

  43. Margie Faulkner on March 24, 2014 at 12:18

    Three attributes of God that mean the most to me are His Love, His Peacefulness and His Patience. With these if He is for us who will be against us. Amen.

  44. Jennie M Anderson on March 24, 2014 at 12:13

    Love, Peace and Joy. Love, that all powerful, creative and healing “force of nature” that is at the essence of God. Peace, not a lack of conflict but a lack of oppressive violence that blocks or stymies good growth. Peace, that place of creative light… And joy… that deep and abiding knowledge or “knowing” that because God is “in charge” we can celebrate all things for which we are grateful with a certainty that they are because of God’s presence. Through these three attributes of God I hope to live into God’s truth for me and for life.

  45. MSamuelsen on March 24, 2014 at 11:59

    God:
    Univeresalism, Unity
    Mystery, Inquiry
    Comfort

  46. Gina on March 24, 2014 at 11:56

    To me, God’s attributes are unconditional love, which would also include compassion and forgiveness; parenthood; and holy playfulness.

  47. Cush on March 24, 2014 at 11:26

    For me God is love and grace, but I’m not sure truth encompasses the reconciliation part for me — I guess I want to add a fourth dimension – love, grace, truth and reconciliation.

  48. Mary on March 24, 2014 at 11:21

    Love. Joy. Mercy. And then there’s faithfulness, grace, and the sheer magnificent glory and beauty of Absolute Holiness.

  49. Lorna Harris on March 24, 2014 at 11:16

    Hmmm I am not wild about the idea of attributing attributes to God. How can I assume I can define God?! so I suppose I would go to the person of Jesus and look at his life for clues: love, patience, truth in being.

  50. Barbara Johnson on March 24, 2014 at 11:12

    Abiding love.
    Constant forgiveness.
    Steadfast presence.

  51. Victor on March 24, 2014 at 11:11

    Loving
    Creator
    Incarnate

  52. John Okerman on March 24, 2014 at 11:04

    Love, Forgiveness, and Father are the three attributes that I see in God. He truly loves each one of us and wants what is best for us. He forgives us on a continual basis for our sins, and he is a Father and we are his children. As shown in yesterday’s video God is our Father and is there for us in times of celebration and in times of need. The example of a young child jumping off the diving board into a parent’s arms is an example of God being there for us as a Father.

  53. Barbara A. Harris on March 24, 2014 at 10:56

    Full of Compassion and Mercy
    Slow to anger and of great Kindness
    In a word: Love

  54. Casey on March 24, 2014 at 10:54

    Love: the core of god’s presence

    Inclusion: again and again god uses Jesus to model this practice on earth, to reach for and to fully enfold those on the fringe

    Grace: a gift to all, known and unknown

    I see both grace and inclusion can be simply a product of love which would give me two more: mystery and kindness. Same argument for kindness but the mystery component is speaking loudly to me.

  55. charles on March 24, 2014 at 10:45

    Thank you for the thought that the Incarnation is not a one time event, but an ongoing process in which we all participate. This leads me to wonder when the process began. Was the Incarnation present in the manna in the desert? Was the Incarnation present in the ram provided to Abraham for sacrifice instead of Isaac?

    • Maureen on March 24, 2014 at 13:56

      I think the process of God is outside time and place. John, who calls Jesus The Word, says the Word was in the beginning.
      According to Teilhard deChardin, creation is an eternal process, one where we are created and creating, evolved and evolving.

      • charles on March 24, 2014 at 15:43

        Nice. Process outside of time, process without time. More to think about.

      • Win on March 24, 2014 at 16:40

        Was it in the apple Eve offered to Adam?

  56. Annette Foisie on March 24, 2014 at 10:35

    Love.

    Healing/ transformation.

    Forgiveness/ grace.

  57. Jane Anne Gleason on March 24, 2014 at 10:07

    Love.
    Grace.
    Forgiveness.

    But the greatest of these is love. Uncondtional, unearned. just given.

  58. Carla on March 24, 2014 at 10:05

    Merciful
    Forgiving
    Loving more than any human could possibly give or show

  59. Greg Little on March 24, 2014 at 09:56

    The three Br. Mark lists are central to my understanding of God’s creative power. I would add repentance and forgiveness that grace empowers and makes God’s grace real in the world.

  60. Jenny Hall on March 24, 2014 at 09:48

    Love, Grace, Presence.

  61. MRM on March 24, 2014 at 09:37

    and thank you for this question. Reflecting on it has taken me deeply into simple worship and love of God.

  62. MRM on March 24, 2014 at 09:35

    unconditional mercy/forgiveness – that, for me, is the essence and most vital of expression of God’s unfathomable love for us. If I were afraid of falling, I could not try to walk . . . God always catches us, and lifts us up again.

    infinite generosity – that God continues to shower blessings upon us even when we reject, misuse or fail to recognize them. How many burning bushes do we pass by each day?

    Inscrutability – that our Lord is so much greater than anything of this world that we cannot imagine or understand – but in metaphor and parable – even God’s shadow. How great and powerful a God is that?!

  63. Polly Chatfield on March 24, 2014 at 09:29

    Oh yes, love first, then patience – eternal patience – and finally, tenderness. To embody those we would be “God in the world” indeed.

  64. Karen on March 24, 2014 at 09:23

    Love, peace, forgiveness

  65. Tammy on March 24, 2014 at 09:18

    The only way I have been able to make sense out of free will is to believe that we are called to be part of God’s presence in the world…as co creators….our choices matter…our decisions matter and always God allows that even if it is not in God’s best interest to do so…. With that in mind I would say the three attributes for me are….Love which binds everything together in perfect harmony ( most of the time!)…Love is more powerful than anything that would present itself as adversary…. Love which allows us to fail but to participate fully in the work of redemption none the less………Grace which allows love an opportunity to work , to take hold because it allows for forgiveness when it isn’t deserved or merited….and I want/hope that God is All Powerful…meaning God has is capable of being our refuge and our fortress….able to ” hide us under the shadow of his wings”….this is for me an ongoing battle of belief….what does God do or not do…what can God change or not change….how does God intervene or not intervene…..I suspect this is something I will continue to wrestle with until I draw my last breath…..

  66. Pam on March 24, 2014 at 09:13

    unconditional love (grace)
    compassion (suffering with and always being present) healing (the desire and ability to make all things and all people whole)

  67. Margo on March 24, 2014 at 09:06

    A God of personal intimacy

    A God of individual mercy

    A God who demands justice.

  68. Susan on March 24, 2014 at 08:50

    God is love, forgiveness, and justice. Love as has been described in today’s meditation, forgiveness as an outward sign of grace and love, and justice as in social justice for all peoples.
    It is therefore my charge to show those three attributes to others in my daily life as the Word becomes flesh through me.

  69. Pam on March 24, 2014 at 08:33

    Mercy, grace and love – for me and for others. There are so many people that are hurting and so longing for these qualities I think.

  70. Rhetta Wiley on March 24, 2014 at 08:26

    Compassion – because of his Incarnation, God knows every joy and sorrow I have ever known.

    Love – because it is God’s love that creates, redeems, and sustains the world.

    Mystery – because I like being kept on my toes.

  71. Betty Jenkins-Donahue on March 24, 2014 at 08:06

    He loves me
    He expects me to love others as I should love myself
    He accepts me when I don’t and expects I will try again to do better.

  72. Morgan Thomas on March 24, 2014 at 07:45

    I love those three words:love,grace and truth. It will be a good exercise to dwell on those as I live my day. Thank you, Brother Brown.

    I am thinking of these three: adoption, belonging and hope. Perhaps those are worth considering especially in a day when our faith needs to speak saving words to the dehumanizing, growing divides brought on by technology-dependency and ethnocentricity.

  73. Bob O. on March 24, 2014 at 07:35

    Love is the number 1 arttribute for me since it seems that 2 and 3 are precipitated from number 1.

    For me number 2 is forgiveness and number three is a sense of having an anchor to make sense of this world.

  74. Christopher Epting on March 24, 2014 at 07:16

    In recent years, I have come to focus on God as:
    The Source of Life
    The Source of Love
    And the Ground of all Being.

  75. Br. Stephen Francis Arnold, OSB on March 24, 2014 at 07:13

    Forgiveness
    Encouragement
    Recognition

  76. May Daw on March 24, 2014 at 07:05

    Love and grace, absolutely! In place of truth I would name GLORY, which resonates more strongly with me, partly because it’s so difficult to pin down, and thus more mysterious and God-like. Think of the differing images in these three hymns: “God of grace and God of glory/ On thy people pour thy power” “The glory of these forty days/ We celebrate with songs of praise” ” Glory be to Jesus/ Who in bitter pain” I’m grappling with even comprehending the extent of what GLORY encompasses.

    • Leslie on March 24, 2014 at 08:33

      Thank you, May. Yes, glory! Earthquake, wind and fire; then the sound of sheer silence.

  77. Lisa on March 24, 2014 at 07:03

    Love, grace, presence.

  78. Jim on March 24, 2014 at 06:12

    Hmmm…three attributes that matter most to me. Well, I know love one, forgiveness or a forgiving nature is two, and the third is perhaps humor. An earlier meditation discussed humor and I found that so amazing–God laughing with and occasionally at us in our human foibles.

  79. Michael Kolenick on March 24, 2014 at 06:09

    I couldn’t possibly sum it up any better! Love, because that is the basis of His relationship with us; Grace, because that is the essence of His forgiveness of us; Truth, because I know that we have a God who tells us ‘like it is’.

  80. Carl Riedy on March 24, 2014 at 05:54

    May we all be blessed this third week in Lent.
    At the core of the Three in One is Love. I, then focus on a key attribute of each of the Persons. Abba forgives, is all merciful, accepts me unconditionally. Christ, heals and can be present anywhere and everywhere. The Spirit is the energy, the Giver of Life, which allows me to try and be a disciple of Christ.

  81. Bob on March 24, 2014 at 02:46

    Love – for all the world

    Forgiveness – the me, and others

    Power – to make a difference.

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