Archives for posts with tag: Sr ilia Delio

 

I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.

Jn 10:11-18

“If we are to remain faithful to the gospel, we have to adjust its spiritual code to the new shape of the universe. It has ceased to be the formal garden from which we are temporarily banished by a whim of the Creator. It has become the great work in process of completion which we have to save by saving ourselves.” The most fundamental task of our age is to forge a union between evolution and Christianity, if we are to go forward toward the fullness of God. It became increasingly evident to Teilhard that if Christ is to remain at the center of our faith in an evolutionary universe, then this cosmic Christ must begin to offer himself for our adoration as the “evolutive” Christ—Christ the Evolver. The one who is in evolution is himself the cause and center of evolution and its goal.

Delio, Ilia (2011-11-09). The Emergent Christ. Orbis Books. Kindle Edition (820-822). 

Teilhard’s quote from Christianity and Evolution, 91-92 and 181.

Jesus our shepherd became, after his resurrection, Christ our shepherd. He is with us always. John’s gospel, science and evolutionary Christianity all tell us and show us that Christ, the Word, was with us from the beginning of times and is accompanying us through times toward the Omega Point, lifting everyone of us up with Him.

Christ is also asking everyone of us to be a shepherd wherever we find ourselves. We all are sheep who are expected to become shepherds when needed. I realize that convention tells us that priests are our shepherds, which is partly true. By going along with this idea, however, I do not have to take responsibility for some of what I could do wherever I am. 

One of my beloved shepherds these days is a Sister of the Sacred Heart. Anyone who protects, guides, and inspires is a shepherd. Each one of you reading this post is a leader, in one domain or another. Any time we pour some of our love into the world, for instance, we follow into the footsteps of our Divine Shepherd and lead others to Him.

I remember Teilhard writing that we can choose to help the world evolve toward the Omega Point or we can slow it down and contribute to its devolution. I can help make the world a better place or I can maintain the status quo and add my shoulder to the structure of sin. Every small act, each innocuous thought, during the day adds to or subtracts from the good of order…

I can hear the call of our Cosmic Shepherd. How I want to follow Him…

Art: Salvador Dali, the Ascension of Christ, 1958

 

 

Below you will find an excerpt from Ilia Delio’s The Emergent Christ, a book which has accompanied me — or guided me — in the final days of Lent. She describes the Resurrection as a new Big Bang bringing about a New Creation and, hopefully, a new heart in each one of us.

Viewed in a certain way, the Trinity decided to incarnate in Jesus to show us the divine way to live. Then Jesus had to die, resurrect as the Christ, and return to his Father, so that the Spirit could be released and bring about this New Creation which we each are called to bring about. [Please excuse my simple mind which can only express a beautiful and complex reality in simple, and maybe even simplistic, terms.]

If you are interested in Christianity and evolution and have not yet read this book, you may want to do so.    

 

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The cross is not merely Christ’s passion, Volf writes, but it is God’s passion. It reveals the total self-giving love of God that reaches out to estranged humanity and embraces every stranger as the beloved.

     In the cross we are embraced by the Trinity of love, who loves us with the same love with which the persons of the Trinity love one another. The crucified Christ signifies a space in God’s self for the other and an invitation for the enemy to come in.

     In the cross, therefore, we are taken up in the eternal embrace of the triune God of love. This embrace in love by the crucified Christ in which the arms of Christ are the arms of the triune God is, according to Volf, the meaning of Eucharist. “The Eucharist,” he writes, “is the ritual time in which we celebrate this divine ‘making-space-for-us-and-inviting-us-in.'”

     However, it is not simply being embraced by God but an empowering of God’s love by which we are to embrace others, including our enemies. That is, “having been embraced by God, we must make space for others in ourselves and invite them in— even our enemies.”

     Evolution means that Christ is not yet complete and we are not complete. In Jesus, God’s self-communication to creation explodes into history. Evolution assumes an explicit direction. God evolves the universe and brings it to its completion through the instrumentality of human beings. Jesus is the Christ, the climax of that long development whereby the world becomes aware of itself and comes into the direct presence of God.

     The teaching that Jesus is the Christ means Jesus is not any person but the fully integrated person in whom God has revealed Godself in the most complete way. In Jesus, the Christ becomes explicit; hence, the meaning of the cosmos becomes explicit as well. The whole creation is intended to be a unity in love in union with God.     

     Those who proclaim themselves Christian proclaim belief in the risen Christ and must be on the way toward development of a transcultural consciousness and thus transcultural encounters.

     In Jesus we see that the future of the material universe is linked to the fulfillment of the community of human beings in whom the world has come to consciousness.

     The evolutionary process is moving toward evolution of consciousness and ultimately toward evolution of spirit, from the birth of mind to the birth of the whole Christ.

     What took place in the life of Jesus must take place in our lives as well, if creation is to move toward completion and transformation in God. Healing divisions and forming relationships that promote greater unity are sources of God’s gracious presence emerging from within the history of the cosmos.

     Jesus marks a new direction in evolution toward integrated being, healthy relationships, and healing presence, all of which contribute to the act of a new future. As the wellspring of divine love emerging from within, Jesus shows us what it means to be a human person and the way to deepen our humanity toward the fullness of life. His disciples recognized him as the Christ, the anointed One (Mk 8: 27), the One who will bring about a new future, a new creation, and who has already done so in our present age.

     The Christ emerges in Jesus, and the humanity of Jesus shows us what the Christ looks like; his humanity is our humanity, and his life is our life. What took place in Jesus’ life must take place in ours as well if the fullness of Christ is to come to be. “Our salvation is necessary for the completion of Christ,” wrote the Cistercian Isaac of Stella. Christ is the future of this evolutionary cosmos, the One who trinitizes creation into a household of unity, the integrated unified center of persons in love.

 

Delio, Ilia. The Emergent Christ (Kindle Locations 1120-1173). Orbis Books.

 

 

Art: Josef Žáček, Resurrection, found here.

 

 

 

 

The cross is not merely Christ’s passion, Volf writes, but it is God’s passion. It reveals the total self-giving love of God that reaches out to estranged humanity and embraces every stranger as the beloved. In the cross we are embraced by the Trinity of love, who loves us with the same love with which the persons of the Trinity love one another. The crucified Christ signifies a space in God’s self for the other and an invitation for the enemy to come in.
— Delia, Ilia. The Emergent Christ. Orbis Books. Kindle Edition. (1120-1124)

Note: Volf is Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation.

 

    The whole of Jesus’ life is an unfolding towards fullness of life. So even at this stage of his life, as he invites us to stay with him, he has something to reveal to us about life. 
    But to come to sense how this unfolding is taking place in Jesus, even at this stage as he goes though his passion and death, it is absolutely essential that we do not place ourselves on the road to Calvary as roadside watchers of a drama that is happening.
    We need to reach intimately into his heart, to sense what is happening in Jesus’ heart as he is going through all of this. For ultimately what makes a difference to life is not what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us. And this is only known from within the depth of one’s heart.
— Fr. Cecil Azzopardi, SJ, Ignatian Immersion Retreat, May 2013, Manresa

 

Here I am, ready (can I ever be ready enough?) to walk with Jesus this week all the way to the Golgotha, with his mother, his friends, and his enemies. I hope some day to love him so much that I will indeed be able ‘to reach intimately into his heart’, to understand how he did all of this. 

I imagine his love for and his trust in Godde stronger than the pressure of the society around him or the fear of his friends for him. 

He had to die, said Caiaphas, not only for the nation, “but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.” And gather, Jesus did, or Christ rather, in a way Caiaphas could never have imagined.

Walking with Jesus this week will be a privilege. All I can do is stand by him as he goes through all that is awaiting him. I might enter the mystery of his death and then maybe not. Most of all, I feel I owe him to be with him, to be there for him, while giving him the best my heart and mind have to offer.

May the Spirit accompany each one of us on our journey to Jerusalem.

Photo: Cristo de la Sonrisa, Javier, Spain

 

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You are no longer strangers and sojourners,but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Eph 2:19-22

This passage from Ephesians has long been a favorite of mine. Everything about it enchants me. That we are no longer strangers, but companions with the holy ones and part of Godde’s household; that the Risen Christ is the head of it all, that with him we all form a sacred temple and that in him we are made into a place where Godde in the Spirit does live.

I returned from Manresa understanding deep down that through the Risen Christ we all are interconnected, interrelated, and interdependent, not only with every human being on this planet, but with every bit of matter or Nature, on earth and in the Cosmos.

This is where St Paul, Teilhard, Richard Rohr, Sr. Ilia Delio, and so many other men and women who believe in Evolutionary Christianity, talk of the same Cosmic vision, led by the Risen One, the Cosmic Christ.

What I liked in this passage then makes so much more sense today. We are truly all brothers and sisters in the Risen Christ, working together for the coming of the Kingdom — or working against it if one cannot accept this deep connection between all of us.

The Christ project, so clearly explained by St Paul here, inspires me and invites me to get up every morning to work for it.

I found online a website created by Louis M. Savary, the author of The New Spiritual Exercises: In the Spirit of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and The Divine Milieu Explained: A Spirituality for the 21st Century. Below is a quote, from his website, Teilhard for Beginners, which adds to St Paul’s understanding:

For Teilhard, Christ today is not just Jesus of Nazareth risen from the dead, but rather a huge, continually evolving Being as big as the universe. In this colossal, almost unimaginable Being each of us lives and develops in consciousness, like living cells in a huge organism. At various times, theologians have described this great Being as the Total Christ, the Cosmic Christ, the Whole Christ, the Universal Christ or the Mystical Body of Christ. (Louis Savary, “The Divine Milieu Explained” )

I will close with another quote, this time from Sr. Ilia Delio, which reveals an angle that Ignatius himself experienced in a mystical vision by the river Cardoner in Manresa.

“God is the unbroken wholeness in movement, 
and creation is movement toward God-centered wholeness.”

We are no longer strangers and sojourners, but companions of Christ and all his saints, all evolving toward the completion of the Creation, the coming of the Kingdom. What an intoxicating reality.

Photo: Giuseppe Peppoloni, Confluence des Religions

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Go first and be reconciled. Mt 5:26

It is not easy to return from a long immersion into holiness and mysticism. My soul keeps fluttering like a butterfly, landing on this thought, or that one, beholding the beauty of what is at hand, and spacing out.

Back in our old house, we have resumed our morning prayer at the kitchen table, this time with a twist: first, we each go to our room for a while and pray the daily readings on our own. Then we come down to the kitchen, light a candle, read the passages, and share what we’ve found in then for us this day.

Be Reconciled. Reconciliation brings up the idea of healing and “making whole,” this new expression found in Sr. Ilia Delio, OSF’s The Emergent Christ. Becoming “whole-maker”, repairing what’s broken, making anew what’s fragmented.

Be reconciled with your brother, says Jesus. My brother, sister, parents, grandparents, relatives, in-laws, friends, colleagues, neighbors, priests, Church — myself…

While in Manresa, the first morning of our eight-day silent retreat, I watched fascinated the waters of the Cardoner river, heavy and muddy after several days of stormy weather. I could not take my eyes away from the debris twirling, over and over, in a pool of their own, as if forgotten by the stream itself. I saw in it all the flotsam I carry in the waters of my own life. Sure enough, some time later, the river once again looked clear; the branches and plastic bottles had been carried away.

In the weeks following the retreat, I found out that pretty much every other participant had gone through the same reflection, as if the Spirit had ensured that Nature itself would be one of our spiritual guides.

Before I left Manresa, I planned to write a string of small papers with the names of people and situations that I wanted to let go with the river, as a gift from my heart to Godde of all that is no longer needed in my life. But I never got to do it. Fortunately, not far from my house is a lovely river awaiting my gift of ghosts past.

As I read the Gospel this morning, my mind did not come up with any rancid grudge. My inner stream rippled peacefully. I felt already reconciled or maybe, more accurately, in a process of continuous reconciliation. It is time now to go beyond reconciliation and making whole all that was or still is fragmented. Saying Yes to Godde, Yes to Life, Yes to The Other, and Yes to myself.

Be reconciled. I sense that if I want to follow the Risen Christ, I must let go of my past and not look back.

Go and be reconciled. A spring of peaceful water sings in my heart, echoing the songs of the birds in the garden.  Love your Godde, your neighbor, and yourself.

In the name of the Risen One…