CAN A THINKING HEART MAKE US WHOLE?

by Ilia Delio, OSF

The volatility of the news is a good indicator of the unstable forces that are impacting our world today. A drop of 850 points on the NASDAQ and it seems like we are treading on a global land mine.  Be careful where you walk or what button you push–you may lose everything. The recent sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church has destabilized the credibility of the Church and perhaps made faith in a loving God ever the more fragile.  Who can we trust?  How are we to think in these troubled times and, more so, what are we to think about?  What should we hope for?

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A WELCOME ADDRESS FROM THE NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Greetings! I am Gregory Hansell, the new and first Executive Director of the Omega Center. I’m honored and thrilled to join you all at this exciting and crucial moment for both the Center and our divisive world. So let me say first “Thank you!” to Ilia, the Omega Center board and team, and all of you who have already welcomed me so graciously and kindly.
This is a time of great progress at the Omega Center and considerable foment on our troubled planet. I believe Ilia Delio’s profound vision of wholeness—the bridging of science and spirituality, world religions, and contemplative knowing within the grand cosmic deepening of divine love and consciousness—can help heal our world and lead us to a new era of spiritual celebration and human flourishing.  
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THE BOUNDLESS BODY OF CHRIST

by Br. Ivan Nicoletto, OSB Cam

With a myriad of terrestrial living beings we are one aspiring flesh, which wants to keep itself alive, which is moved by the same striving for fulfillment and wholeness. With them we share the same hunger and thirst to thrive, to enjoy, to grow, to communicate, and to feel. We are inhabited and moved by desires as the primordial expressions of the flesh of the world. Desire tells us that we are not only propelled by primary needs such as food, housing, clothing, or things we can possess, manage, and define. We are driven by a desire beyond desire that shines in an amazing way in the life of Jesus Christ.
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CHURCH AS AN EVOLVING LIFE-SYSTEM: BOTTOM-UP AS WELL AS TOP-DOWN ORGANIZATION

by Fr. Joe Bracken

Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church” (Mt. 18:16).  Throughout most of its long institutional history, the Roman Catholic Church has prided itself on the stability of its mode of operation.  Decisions by and large have been made from the top-down: from the Pope and Vatican officials to the regional bishop with his staff and finally to the pastor of the local parish and his staff in dealing with individual parishioners. This hierarchically ordered structure of authority guarantees fidelity to Church tradition, a sense of corporate unity here and now, and a stable outlook for the future.
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RECONSTRUCTING WHOLENESS

by ED BACON

Transgender experiences are teaching us a great deal when we have learning hearts. I deeply appreciate the reality that our transgender siblings in the human family share about being “assigned” one binary identity that doesn’t match one’s inner reality. That one profound facet of the transgender journey has helped me understand the “trans” nature of my own theological, spiritual, and religious narrative. Being assigned one identity when your inner reality is quite different also sheds light on why I felt compelled to attend the first Omega Center national conference in Kansas City in July.

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SCHISM OR EVOLUTION?

by ILIA DELIO

Something momentous is happening in our midst. The concerted efforts to oust Pope Francis are deeply tied to the perverted crisis of abuse embedded in ecclesiastical power structures.  While some may spiritually rely on Julian of Norwich’s “all shall be well”, the fact is, all is not well and will not be well unless the Church undergoes a deconstruction of power and authority and a reconstruction along new lines of inclusivity and integrated systems.

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DEATH IN THE CHURCH: IS NEW LIFE AHEAD?

by ILIA DELIO

The recent disclosure of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and the extent of depravity reported in the news is symptomatic of a Church in crisis.  It is no longer acceptable for the Pope simply to issue a public apology nor is it sufficient for any group merely to reflect on what has happened by issuing position statements. The Church has a deep structural problem which is entirely bound to ancient metaphysical and philosophical principles, not to mention imperial politics, that at this point require either a radical decision towards a new ecclesial structure or accept the possibility of a major schism. The rock-solid Church has crushed human souls and twisted authority into deceit. The male-dominated Christ center no longer holds and there is simply no solution or comforting words that can placate the extensive damage to fragile human lives that has taken place over the past decades. The evidence of abuse brought to light in the Catholic Church is simply unfathomable.

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TEILHARD DE CHARDIN AND THE THREE FACES OF GOD

by PAUL SMITH

I offer Teilhard’s evolved Three Faces of God for your own understanding and spiritual practice in whatever forms fit for you. I especially encourage my postmodern readers to not lose Jesus in the glory of the Cosmic Christ or dismiss a personal friendship with the spiritual presence of the Risen Jesus. Christianity was born out of friendship with Jesus, first in his historical physical body with a few others, and now in his risen spiritual body with all who would enter that transforming friendship. We need a God that is big enough for our minds, close enough for our hearts, and us enough for our deepest identification.

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OMEGA CONFERENCE: TOWARDS A PLANETARY FAITH

by ILIA DELIO

I just returned from a wonderful five-day retreat at San Alfonso Retreat House in Long Branch New Jersey. It is always a special time of the year because it is a “Sisters Retreat,” that is, a retreat especially designed for religious women, replete with adoration, daily Mass and morning and evening prayer.  Basically the retreat follows the daily convent schedule: Matins, Vespers, Mass and afternoon adoration.  This year the theme was “Living from the Heart” and the 137 Sisters gathered from various congregations reflected on the spiritual meaning of the heart.

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TOWARDS A RENEWAL OF THE WHOLE

by ILIA DELIO

We are living on a fragile planet right now. The forces of resistance are felt all around us as we seek to hold on to our personal wealth, privileged security, political freedom and religious beliefs.  But the structures that gave rise to these systems are giving way to something new, a type of interconnectedness that is less bounded, more open, informationally-driven and global in scope. Teilhard de Chardin envisioned a new paradigm at the dawn of the twentieth century and framed the new paradigm along the lines of evolution.

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