On December 10, I received a phone call saying my brother-in-law, Cozz Regele, had died. He and my sister, Colleen, had been married for 59 years, raised 7 children and have 20 grandchildren. My mind rolled back many happy memories of Cozz; one tangible one was that he had given me his two Baltimore Catechisms from his grade school days at St. Mary Church, Metamora, Illinois.
I thumbed through the very yellow, worn and sometimes scotch-taped pages recalling that Cozz had memorized and recited every answer to the 420 questions. But more importantly he had lived out their meaning during his lifetime. Since it was close to Christmas, I turned to page 11, chapter 6, to see what the catechism, copyright 1933, said about the Incarnation.
Question 69 asked, “What do you mean by the Incarnation?”
The Answer: By the Incarnation I mean that the Son of God was made man.
At Cozz’s funeral and during the days we spent with his family many memories of Cozz’s life were recalled. As I listened to the stories, anecdotes and memories, I came to realize a fuller definition of the Incarnation. When we push our understanding of God’s involvement with humanity back to the beginning of creation, we realize that God was “incarnated” into all of creation. “All of creation is infused with, sustained by, driven by the energy that is of God.” (Morwood: Tomorrow’s Catholic)
So when we speak of the Incarnation, we are talking about a presence within the depths of all that is. Cozz’s life modeled for us a very human and real way of incarnation. Believing in this new definition of the Incarnation, this 2010 Christmas, each of us has the potential to “incarnate” or live out truths and values and love that reflect a divine reality at work in us as Cozz did.
Cozz’s care for his Mother, his wife and children and grandchildren, was based on his belief that God’s presence is in all of them. His golf course designs, his very accurate blue prints, diligence at his wood working and the perfect water sprinkling plans, were evidence of his belief that all of creation is infused with, sustained by, and driven by the energy that is of God. Cozz’ s love for the 30 rose bushes in his yard, the orange & lemon trees, the purple and yellow pansies with faces turned toward us, all spoke of Cozz’s awareness that God’s presence is in everything and that the Incarnation is lived out by our values and love for all of creation.
While sadness and mourning clothed all of us, somehow or other Cozz’s spirit of love, his palpable joy and care spoke clearly of a new meaning of the coming birth of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate God. The presence of his three day old great-grandchild, Aiden, also spoke as a special way to celebrate the incarnation! Cozz’ life of 85 years clearly incarnated his Baltimore Catechism lesson of “What is the Incarnation?”
Thank you, Cozz, for showing us how to really live the incarnation through your faith, goodness, compassion, patience, your energy and presence that always reflected Christ.
Reflection: Who resembles the incarnated Christ to you? How can you be the Incarnated Christ to others?