Below are some of the Praxis pages from prior months in 2017


Praxis for January 2017:  LOVE AND THE IN-BREAKING FUTURE
This month we are invited to consider and explore how love can serve and sanctify a new and in-breaking world at this turn of the year.

Our world has become very fragile with thin, defended borders between people.  The heightened sense of insecurity due to political instability and global economic and climate pressures seem to be provoking an environment of growing discouragement and distrust.  In light of these conditions, we invite you to consider the following questions:

 

  • If love, as Teilhard suggests, is at the heart of the cosmos, how can this reality shape our lives despite the challenging conditions and negative messages around us?
  • How do we see and approach the future in view of love?
  • Do you notice a growing sense of distrust or wariness, and if so in what ways and places do you notice this?
  • What do you think can help alleviate a climate of distrust, and to boost greater confidence and hope for our future?
  • Are there practical ways that individually and collectively we can contribute to a positive shift and to foster conditions where love and trust are championed?

 

***

 

A major contributing factor to feelings of isolation and disconnection can be caused by the way we use and relate to technology. In Ilia’s blog GOD IS BORN AGAIN AND AGAIN, she refers to the ideas brought forward by Nicholas Carr in his book The Shallows. Here are a few short excerpts from that book:

…media aren’t just channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. Whether I’m online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. (7)

Psychological research long ago proved what most of us know from experience: frequent interruptions scatter our thoughts, weaken our memory, and make us tense and anxious. The more complex the train of thought we’re involved in, the greater the impairment the distractions cause. (132)

The price we pay to assume technology’s power is alienation. The toll can be particularly high with our intellectual technologies. The tools of the mind amplify and in turn numb the most intimate, the most human, of our natural capacities — those for reason, perception, memory, emotion. (211)

 

In light of the above, reflect upon the following questions:

 

  • Observe what tools and technologies you utilize throughout your day. Does using these tools interfere with your concentration or sense of peace and calm?
  • When you consider the common technologies and tools you use, is there a way you can perform the same function without the tool, and what do you think could be the result?
  • Even with tools and technologies that clearly provide a more efficient use of our time and energy, can you see any obvious or subtle ways that unexpected limitations or negative consequences result?
  • Are there tools or technologies that you use that may be influencing your inner values?
  • What technologies have enhanced your relationships and well-being?
  • What natural capacities do you see being sacrificed by yourself or others as new technologies are adopted and integrated as cultural norms of operation?

 

***

 

Consider the following quote from Ilia’s blog  LOVE IS BORN AGAIN AND AGAIN:

We must find a new world within our souls.  To do so we must invert our priorities:  we are constantly searching without but God is dwelling within.  The only way to know this source of new life is in silence and stillness.

Ilia suggests a potent antidote to our current sense of alienation and the frenetic pace of modern culture can be found through generating opportunities for contemplation and meditation.  As she says:

…contemplation is a radical call to inner emptiness and stillness.  When we lose our capacity for inner peace and patience we are left only with the worship of the instantly visible, the immediately possessed, the vapors of material highs and technological thrills. Thus we are left with the barrenness of the instantly forgotten.

 Fortunately opportunities for learning meditation and practicing stillness are becoming much more widespread, in workplaces, colleges, in community settings, even in virtual groups and gathering.  Centering Prayer is a popular method of meditation developed for Christians seeking a form of contemplative practice. The practice cultivates an interior foundation of stillness through the use of a sacred word and the gentle releasing of thoughts as they arise. There are many excellent introductions to the practice of Centering Prayer, as taught by long time proponents such as Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault or Contemplative Outreach.

 

  • Do you have a current practice of contemplation or meditation?
  • If not, consider exploring some of the methods and resources available in your community or online.
  • A very powerful way to practice silent meditation is with others. Can you gather together a group, and/or organize a training for those interested in learning Centering Prayer or another type of meditation?
  • Even if you don’t take up a regular meditation practice, perhaps you can include brief periods of silence or quiet contemplation into your day. Notice if your mood or attitude shifts after a short time of intentional, unencumbered quiet.

 

Many people report that making opportunities to consciously disengage from technology and finding a moment of inner stillness and quiet can have a profound and positive impact.  Even briefly stepping outside to slowly and deeply take in a breath of fresh air, to gaze at the sky, or to take a short walk, can make a big difference in our own well-being and how we interact in our homes and workplaces. Our own lives will be enriched, and we provide an example for others seeking a more conscious pace and a more life-affirming set of  priorities.

Our small moments of peace instill greater peace in the world, and as more of us are drawn into the interior stillness, there is a far greater chance the same will be reflected in our external experiences.  It is a gift to ourselves and our world.

 

We are one,
after all, you and I,
 together we suffer, together exist
and forever
 will recreate each other.

~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


Praxis for February 2017
How Can We Love in an Age of Distrust?

In recent months, and with overwhelming regularity, we hear reports of deepening divisions and growing distrust as social tensions intensify in many communities. Clearly we need to find ways to build a stronger foundation of cooperation, care, and renewed trust in order to overcome this troubling disunity.

In light of these conditions, we invite you to explore situations within your own life and communities that could contribute to more positive relationships and outcomes. Through our own lives and engagement, and as co-create agents in our unfolding future, we can offer an alternative experience.

 

Consider the use of technology

In Ilia’s essay this month she describes how our dependence and constant use of technology in our daily lives has disrupted our biological adaptation to evolution:

“Studies today show that the human brain is changing due to continuous internet use…Since the brain is a “use it or lose it” organ the obsessive dependence on technology is causing the human brain to lose the memory capacity and the capacity to think deeply. Moreover, our sense perceptions are being changed in so far as the lines between virtual and real are becoming erased. As a result, our emotions of love, compassion, fear and aggression are being altered…We have some serious questions to face, not so much “what are we doing with our technology?” but “what are becoming with our technology?”

  • In what ways do you think technology can interfere with, or enhance positive relations?
  • Do you experience technology as a distraction that inhibits the development of close and caring ties with others, or a thinning out your memories?
  •  Consider how you use technology to connect with others locally or globally.  Are there opportunities for you to unplug from technology, and instead reach out for an in-person interaction with a stranger, or even someone who clearly holds opposing views, perhaps to spend time over coffee or a dinner?
  •  Consider ways that you can more consciously express yourself to build trust and kinship in your conversations both online and in-person? Notice what happens when you take that step.

 

Engaging with nature and sacred space

Ilia suggests that as our technologies and other scientific advances become more prevalent our time and attention spent connecting with nature is reduced, and we are losing our sense of spiritual space in the physical world: “…the light of divinity in nature, as Saint Francis perceived, is now found online in the unlimited arena of virtual reality.”

  • Do you regularly find time to spend outdoors and in nature?
  • How does time in nature impact your general sense of well-being and your world view?
  • Where are there opportunities for you to give up some time engaging online, and instead take a mindful walk outdoors, observing and appreciating the natural world?
  • Do you have sacred places or ‘spiritual spaces’ that you visit regularly? Can you find or create a spiritual space?

Practicing forgiveness

The capacity and willingness to love by way of forgiveness and reconciliation is essential in order to create a flourishing future together. As Ilia says this requires a decision:

“… to love beyond what is beneficial or satisfying to one’s ego; it is to love by way of sacrifice…. Love is not looking at the other but it is looking together in the same direction, releasing the other from the grip of hate and allowing the good of the other to shine through, in so far as that good is oriented toward a new future.  Where there is love and forgiveness, there is hope for a new reality.”

Ilia points us to the powerful example of forgiveness as depicted in the film The Railway Man. Many of us feel inspired and motivated to express forgiveness and initiate a process of reconciliation when hearing of such extraordinary real-life accounts. But even small gestures made to restore harmony and open one’s heart can have profound effects. You need not condone someone’s behavior or unacceptable actions to extend forgiveness—only truly want to overcome the division between you and restore the primacy of love that unifies us.

  • Who are you willing to forgive this day because you believe in the power of love to create a positive new future?
  • Are there instances where you can practice mercy and self-forgiveness, recognizing that you are an evolving human ultimately seeking goodness and love?
  • Are there other stories and examples that you can use to remind yourself of the powerful impact of practicing forgiveness?

Trusting in the process of change

In her piece The Power of Love in an Unfinished Word, Kathleen Duffy offers this:

“Scientists assure us that a certain amount of instability is important for growth-filled change. Nothing happens when a system is in equilibrium. Teilhard somehow realized this and looked at the tensions of his day as an opportunity to stir up the enthusiasm and courage needed to address creatively the problems that beset the human family and Earth, our common home.”

  • Observe your reactions. Are you noticing yourself becoming overly negative or anxious about the current challenges of our times? Do you have confidence in our human capacity to navigate change?
  • What helps you overcome doubt or cynicism about the future?
  • To what extent are you comfortable with ‘not knowing’ and able to remain open- minded about the future?
  • What would help you deepen your trust and faith as we face into an unknown future?
  • What situations in the past, or in your own life, that seemed or felt like a crisis resulted in growth and unexpected new possibilities?

Let us look at the earth around us. What is happening under our eyes within the mass of peoples? What is the cause of this disorder in society, this uneasy agitation, these swelling waves, these whirling and mingling currents and these turbulent and formidable new impulses? [Humanity] is visibly passing through a crisis of growth . . . becoming dimly aware of its shortcoming and its capacities. . . . it sees the universe growing luminous like the horizon just before sunrise. It has a sense of premonition and of expectation.

~ Teilhard de Chardin


Praxis for March – April 2017
Content for Reflection and Praxis

This month we would like to offer you some questions inspired by reflections from the Ritiro Group of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany NY. The Ritiro Sisters maintain a balance of a modern day contemplative lifestyle and an environment of prayer and reflection with ministries that include retreat work, spiritual direction, and vigils for World Peace. Their members have backgrounds in Education, Health Care, and Social Work. The group has been meeting regularly to contemplate and discuss our Omega Center blogs.

We hope you will consider these comments and questions as prompts for your own contemplation, and for approaching a more conscious relationship with technology in your daily life.

***

The inquiry of the Ritiro Omega Group centered on the theme of awareness and the choices we make as we interact with our technological tools, and how this impacts our thoughts, behavior, and activities.

For instance many of us can relate to an increasing sense of anxiety or loss of freedom as technology has a more prominent influence on our time and lives. The example provided was how we can become caught up checking “one more email,” and how that so easily turns into another and another. Most of us have experienced the result: “one more email reply” or other online activities unexpectedly stretch far beyond the time we had intended.

The following questions were inspired by the group’s inquiry:

  • How do we allow technology to infiltrate our lives and interfere with our time for sacred practice or contemplation?
  • How can we consciously integrate technology with our contemplative needs?
  • What do we observe as we monitor the way we use technology in our lives?
  • Are we becoming less human as technology becomes a greater part of our existence?
  • Can we develop spiritual spaces through technology?
  • How does technology relate to God’s unconditional love in our lives, and can it play a part in cultivating forgiveness and reconciliation?
  • How consciously do we choose sacred moments of “being” vs. “doing”?
  • How do we discern Truth and Reality in a technological age?
  • Do opportunities to “experience the energy of God’s Love” change in a technological age?
  • Does technology change how Spirit works within us?
Practice
  • Try consciously pre-determining how much time you would like to allot to attending to email or engaging online, and set a timer to keep to the intended time frame. Does this boost your sense of trust and confidence in how technology can serve, as opposed to control us?
  • Take some time to consider the positive role of technology to keep us connected and informed. Does this shift how you use technology?
  • When you notice yourself becoming tense, anxious, or overwhelmed when engaging with technology, pause momentarily.  Observe where you are physically holding the tension, take a long deep breath, and ask yourself if there is some adjustment you can make in your approach, attitude, or even physical position that would help release the tension and regain a sense of calm and balance.
  • Share with a friend or colleague methods that you find useful to help and encourage a greater awareness and appreciation for our relationship with technology.

***

Do you meet with others to reflect upon and discuss Omega Center content? We welcome any information or feedback from your group.


For April and May we explored the question:   HOW DO WE ACT FROM HOPE IN AN AGE OF DISTRUST?

 

Read Cynthia Bourgeault’s 3-part exploration of TEILHARD FOR TROUBLED TIMES here:

Part 1 – Deep Hope Flows Over Deep Time 

Part 2 – Don’t Co-exist, Coalesce!

Part 3 – The Living Reality of Omega

As a follow-up reflection on Cynthia’s posts as well as a number of related resources,  please see Marty Schmidt’s blog  Teaching Teilhardian Hope in Hong Kong.


As Cynthia suggests, it is at this moment in history and amid the narrow and divisive points of view evident today, that Teilhard’s vision provides a “…vastly broader and more hopeful perspective in which to search for a new moral resolve.”

For Teilhard, a faithful assent and adherence to a set of doctrines and principles was not sufficient. Conscious, responsive action based in one’s higher faith is vital. Cynthia emphasizes that

Teilhard’s conviction that faith is not something that we have but something that we do is perhaps the best antidote possible to the despair and distrust that paralyze so much of our post-modern moral resolve.

Practicing Hope and Faith

Hope can be a powerful spiritual practice to carry us through challenging times. It will not only bring a more positive quality to our lives, but can have a profound impact on others around us as well. We comfort and inspire each other when we demonstrate hope in our words and our actions.

  • What cultivates a sense of hope for you?
  • Can you intentionally choose to take on a more hopeful perspective?
  • Does taking a ‘deep time’ perspective enhance your sense of hope?
  • How do you practice hope and optimism and still meet and face challenges and make necessary changes as required?
  • Use Ilia’s step-by-step process of OMEGA LECTIO DIVINA  to read through the long-treasured Peace Prayer of Saint Francis:

prayer of St. Francis

Note your reflections in a journal, create an image or write a poem to express your findings, or share what is emerging for you with a trusted friend or study group.

***

Cynthia mentions that in January 2015 she declared to her Wisdom network the THE YEAR OF TEILHARD DE CHARDIN and encouraged her students to “… take on the collective task of getting to know his work better.”

If you have not yet had the opportunity to read Teilhard directly, or would like to read more of his writing, perhaps take on the same challenge over the coming months.

Here are the books by Teilhard de Chardin that Cynthia referenced in her blog:

The Human Phenomenon (HP)

The Divine Milieu (DM)

The Heart of Matter

Writings in Time of War

The Christic

Cynthia’s 2015 challenge to her students, as well has her recommendations for reading Teilhard can be read here.

***

Here are two additional resources for learning more from Cynthia about Teilhard’s significance to our moment in history:

The Survivor’s Guide to the Galaxy: Teilhardian Wisdom for Troubled Times – video teaching available through by Aspen Chapel

Teilhard for our Times – online course offered by Spirituality & Practice

“…it is all too easy to understate and miss that hope is not intended to be an extraordinary infusion, but an abiding state of being. We lose sight of the invitation – and in fact, our responsibility, as stewards of creation – to develop a conscious and permanent connection to this wellspring…”  ~ Cynthia Bourgeault, Mystical Hope 

 flower in sidewalk

 


Praxis for May – June 2017

EXPLORING THE DOUBLE HELIX OF LOVE AND SUFFERING

Double Helix 

See the following posts:

In addition to the reflections and practice suggestions included in the above blogs, we hope you will find the following thought-provoking and helpful.

 

Practice:

Below we have provided a selection of quotes related to suffering. As a contemplative practice, we suggest reading through these passages using the OMEGA LECTIO DIVINA method and outline. Perhaps share what arises for you with a trusted friend or write your reflections as a journal exercise.

 

Quotes:

What a vast ocean of human suffering spreads over the entire earth at every moment! Of what is this mass formed? Of blackness, gaps, and rejections. No, let me repeat, of potential energy. In suffering, the ascending force of the world is concealed in a very intense form. The whole question is how to liberate it and give it a consciousness of its significance and potentialities.

~ Teilhard de Chardin, “The Significance and Positive Value of Suffering,” quoted in Human Energy

 

The world, seen by experience at our level, is an immense groping, an immense search, an immense attack; its progress can take place only at the expense of many failures, of many wounds. Sufferers of whatever species are the expression of this stern but noble condition. They are not useless and dwarfed. They are simply paying for the forward march and triumph of all. They are casualties, fallen on the field of honour.

~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, On Suffering

 

Love is generative and divine love longs to become more visible in the fruitful flowering of life. We can imagine the universe as acosmic womb wherein God is seeking to come to birth through suffering, death, and new life.

~ Ilia Delio, from chapter five on “Love and Suffering” The Unbearable Wholeness of Being, p.75

 

…[W]e have a God who gets absurdly close, so close that we are forced to discover the face of God in all the mess of the world—racial injustice, terrorism, poverty, global warming.  Too often we want a God who will hear our cries and fix things… It is not that God is deaf to the cry of the poor. It is rather that God is poor.  It is not that God does not see our tears, but that God, too, is weeping. Only a humble God who bends so low as to pitch it all away in love can heal us and make us whole….Our only credible action is to bless this world by allowing God to break through our less-than-stellar lives. We have enormous power to heal this wounded world through merciful love, loving hearts which welcome the stranger and accept the suffering of another as our own.

~ Ilia Delio, Mercy and the Humility of God, blog on the Global Sister’s Report

 

There are different kinds of suffering… There are two rivers of life. In the first river suffering is passive and unconscious. In the second river suffering is ‘voluntary,’ which is very different and of great value.

~ G. I. Gurdjieff

rushing waters

 

 

 


Praxis for July – August 2017

 Posts 

 

Omega Lectio Divina

Below we have provided a selection of quotes. As a contemplative practice, we suggest reading through these passages using the OMEGA LECTIO DIVINA method and outline. Perhaps share what arises for you with a trusted friend or write your reflections as a journal exercise.

 

Quotes for Contemplation

 

Evolution topples this fixed static world view.  The word “evolution” comes from the Latin evolvere meaning “to unfold.”  To say life unfolds means change is part of nature; we are on the move.   The universe we are a part of has a long history and an infinite future; it is expanding. There are no fixed rules in nature; rather, there are operative principles and patterns that enable nature to sustain itself and for life to flourish.  Nature is malleable and can do new things; there is novelty in nature.  Given sufficient time and the right conditions, new things will form.

~ Ilia Delio, What Does It Mean to Live in Evolution?

 

We are moving. We are going somewhere. It is a slow but irrevocable revelation, dawning on our awareness. Our bedrock assumptions, it tells us, our most basic instincts about life and the universe are in error. Whatever solid ground we are standing on is in motion. We are not just being; we are becoming. That’s part of the revelatory power of the evolutionary worldview. It’s an ontology of becoming. We do not just exist in the universe; we are caught p in a forward movement, intrinsic to its forward intention, defined by its drift forward in time.

~ Carter Phipps, Evolutionaries pp 25-26

 

By means of all created things, without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us, and molds us. We imagined it as distant and inaccessible, when in fact we live steeped in its burning layers.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu

 

We need to create an interior universe. We live in this outer universe but we don’t know our own inner universe…We’ve done enough discovery now in the outer universe to last us for a while, why not discover our inner universe. Be an explorer.

~ Ilia Delio Creating an Interior Universe (audio interview)

 

Practice and Reflection Questions

  • Ilia emphasized the importance including time for silence, contemplative practice, and inner reflection as we face a changing world. Do you make time for contemplation or meditation? What would you need to do to integrate these into your daily living?
  • What responses arise for you when you consider we are co-creators in the evolutionary process – that our participation is required for the fulfillment of spirit becoming conscious?
  • Where do you see yourself resisting change?
  • Where do we draw our inspiration and strength to welcome and participate in change?
  • Are you willing to be an “inner explorer”? What supports your inner exploration?
  • Practicing and exploring with others is both supportive and helps us grow beyond our individual perspective. Do you have a community of “fellow explorers” to support your inner work, contemplative practice, and understanding of an evolutionary worldview? Where might you find such a supportive community, or with whom could you start one?

cave

 


Praxis for September 2017

 Posts:

 

Quotes for Contemplation

A dynamic interior spirit must be at the heart of change. Change is not what happens outside us; rather, change must first take root within us. If we cannot embrace change interiorly we will not accept change exteriorly unless it is thrust upon us; and then it is not live-giving change, but forced endurance.

~ Ilia Delio, Christ in Evolution

 

The time has come to realise that an interpretation of the universe—even a positivist one—remains unsatisfying unless it covers the interior as well as the exterior of things; mind as well as matter. The true physics is that which will, one day, achieve the inclusion of man in his wholeness in a coherent picture of the world.

~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Human Phenomenon

 

We need to create an interior universe. We live in this outer universe but we don’t know our own inner universe…We’ve done enough discovery now in the outer universe to last us for a while, why not discover our inner universe. Be an explorer.

~ Ilia Delio Creating an Interior Universe (audio interview)

 

Practice and Reflection Questions

  • What comes to mind for you as a way to strengthen our “interiority”? What practices would be helpful?
  • How might a greater emphasis on interiority change your way of acting in the world or relating to others in your life?
  • Practicing and exploring with others is both supportive and helps us grow beyond our individual perspective. Do you have a community of “fellow explorers” to support your inner work, contemplative practice, and understanding of an evolutionary worldview? Where might you find such a supportive community, or with whom could you start one? You can read Ilia Delio’s suggestions and outline for forming a group here.

maze


Praxis for October 2017

Posts:

 

Omega Lectio Divina

Below we have provided a selection of quotes. As a contemplative practice, we suggest reading through these passages using the OMEGA LECTIO DIVINA method and outline. Perhaps share what arises for you with a trusted friend or write your reflections as a journal exercise.

 

Quotes for Contemplation

A “cosmic christology” reminds us that every aspect of the cosmos is in Christ, everything is Word incarnate. Everything bears the infinite love of God, each in its own way, which means that there’s nothing earthly that doesn’t have some divine dignity to it.

~  Ilia Delio in “Universal Savior: Ilia Delio reimagines Christ” posted at UniversalCatholic.org

 

Just as the Trinity is foundational to understanding the loving, inclusive, and participatory nature of God, a proper notion of the Cosmic Christ brings the mystery even closer to home. The health and survival of our planet and all its inhabitants may depend upon recognizing the inherent sacredness of all materiality. The God many Christians worship is far too small. God is not and never has been a “tribal” God, somewhere “out there,” belonging only to Judaism or Christianity. It’s no wonder so many educated, postmodern people have given up on such a God. This God is not nearly as big as science is discovering the universe itself to be. How could the Creator be smaller than the creation and less loving than most creatures?

~ Richard Rohr, “The Christ Is Bigger than Christianity” from CAC daily meditations, March 26, 2017

 

The fact that Christ emerged into the field of human experience for just one moment, two thousand years ago, cannot prevent him from being the axis and the peak of a universal maturing. In such a position, Christ, wholly “supernatural”… gradually radiates his influence throughout the whole mass of nature. Since, in fact, only one single process of synthesis is going on top to bottom of the whole universe, no element and no movement can exist at any level of the world outside of the informing action of the principal center of things.

~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, quoted in Christ in Evolution by Ilia Delio, 77

 

 

Practice and Further Exploration

In discussing The Cosmic Christ, Richard Rohr offers this statement: “Matter has become a holy thing and the material world is the place where we can comfortably worship God just by walking on matter, by loving it, by respecting it.”

  • In what ways can you heighten your awareness of the holiness of this material world?
  • Are there ways you can modify your habits or actions to more consciously grow in love and respect for the world?
  • What happens when you walk on the earth while intentionally appreciating and recognizing the holy nature of matter?
  • Practice mindful, meditative walking in nature, noticing the sights, smells, sounds, and felt sense of the ground beneath your feet. Be present to the sacredness of what you are encountering and experiencing.

 

As Fr. Richard shares in this audio interview “I’m rediscovering the need and the value of personal prayer.”

  • Consider this in the light of your own prayer practice. Are you open to ‘rediscover’ prayer for yourself?
  • Contemplate the following quote from Ilia Delio, and how this could expand your concept or practice of prayer:

    Prayer is centering the mind on ultimate life-energy—God—through which we are connected to the entire universe. It opens the heart to a greater fullness of life and challenges us to surrender those part of ourselves that we find unlovable or to control or manipulate. ~ Ilia Delio, Making All Things New, p 171

  • If personal prayer has not been a regular practice, perhaps start to explore what this could mean for you. Is there an intimacy with Reality that you can access in open receptivity? Share what you are discovering in your prayer life here.

 

Practicing and exploring with others is both supportive and helps us grow beyond our individual perspective. Do you have a community of “fellow explorers” to support your inner work, contemplative practice, and understanding of an evolutionary worldview? Where might you find such a supportive community, or with whom could you start one? You can read Ilia Delio’s suggestions and outline for forming a group here.

 

walking in nature


 


Praxis for December 2017
Content for Consideration

 

 

Omega Lectio Divina

 

Below we have provided a selection of quotes. As a contemplative practice, we suggest reading through these passages using the OMEGA LECTIO DIVINA method and outline. Perhaps share what arises for you with a trusted friend or write your reflections as a journal exercise.

 

Quotes for Contemplation

 

By virtue of the Creation and, still more, of the Incarnation, nothing here below is profane for those who know how to see.

~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu

 

A mystical Christian encounters a person as an encounter with God. This is incarnation now. We allow that person to be who they are because that’s the person God created. I think it’s a matter of looking at the person as an icon of God—one in whom God is shining through… God seeks to be incarnate in an expanding incarnation. The Christ is waiting to be born anew… But Christ cannot be born anew without our saying yes to bringing Christ into the world.

~  Ilia Delio in “Universal Savior: Ilia Delio reimagines Christ” posted at UniversalCatholic.org

 

Without incarnation, God remains separate from us and from creation. Because of incarnation, we can say, “God is with us!” In fact, God is in us, and in everything else that God created. We all have the divine DNA; everything bears the divine fingerprint, if the mystery of embodiment is true.

~ Richard Rohr, “God Is Not “Out There from CAC daily meditations, January 20, 2016

 

God’s embodiment in the human does not begin with Jesus of Nazareth, nor with a non-evolutionary understanding of the human, dating our species to a mere 5-10 thousand years. Instead we need an enlarged view of God’s embodiment in the human stretching right back to 7 million years ago, the current paleontological date for human origins.

~ Diarmuid O’Murchu, INCARNATION AS EMBODIMENT OF SPIRIT

 

[Incarnation is] the eternal God humbly bending down and lifting the dust of our nature into unity with his own person.

~ Medieval theologian Bonaventure

 

Alfred Whitehead once noted that if God is creator and creation is evolution, then God cannot be an exception to evolution’s principles but must be its chief exemplar. Hence if evolution is marked by openness, change, novelty, and becoming then so too is God. Our God is an open God, a changing God, a novel God, a God who is becoming in and through cosmic life. This is the core meaning of incarnation; it is the story of Christmas.

~ Ilia Delio,  INCARNATING THE UNIVERSE: MATTER MATTERS TO GOD

 

God is the great mystery, ultimately incomprehensible. New conceptualities may give us a new understanding of God; in the end, however, we cannot capture God with our minds. But we can know God with our hearts as the mystery of Love, source of life and healing, dwelling with us and in us in love.

~ Fr. Thomas E. Hosinski,  THE IMAGE OF THE UNSEEN GOD

 

For Further Contemplation, Exploration, and Practice

 

In his blog post, INCARNATION AS EMBODIMENT OF SPIRIT, Diarmuid O’Murchu states

…the first and oldest body through which God reveals Godself is not the human, but the cosmos itself. Then God’s revelatory creativity is manifested in and through all the galactic and planetary bodies, including our Home Planet the Earth. And within our Earth are several embodied forms, mountains, lakes, plants, animals, even bacteria. 

  • Consider this statement and how that might impact our relationship to the Cosmos, and to our planet. What would change for you with this expanded concept of incarnation?
  • Can you relate to mountains, lakes, plants, animals, and bacteria as forms of embodiment revealing God?
  • Next time you are walking outdoors, see if you can relate to the land forms, plants, and animals as the embodied divine. Do you find adopting this perspective difficult? What changes in your experience? What do you notice?

There has been a historical emphasis in Christianity that this incarnated life was less important then the eternal life in the hereafter.

  • What changes for you if incarnation in this embodied form is taken more seriously?
  • Does this change how you live your life or how you relate to your body?

Consider as well this following passage:

Salvation becomes our primary responsibility through learning afresh what it means to be authentically human upon our Spirit-infused earth. Jesus achieved this integrity in a uniquely remarkable way, leaving us a blueprint on how to become incarnational people in a more authentic way.

  • What does it mean to you to live as “authentically human upon our Spirit-infused earth?
  • Do you feel a greater sense of duty or responsibility when taking this perspective?
  • How might your life change to reflect this responsibility?

 

*****

 

One of the ideas that Thomas Hosinski speaks to in our Omega Center interview and shares in his book summary, THE IMAGE OF THE UNSEEN GOD , is this:

…existence is participation in the being or life of God.  This allows us to understand creation as God sharing God’s being and life with all creatures.

  • Have you considered your existence as participating in the being or life of God? What does this mean for you?
  • Do you have an experience of creation as God sharing God’s being?
  • What implications does this have if we include “all creatures” in this sharing of God’s being?

Thomas Hosinski invites us to consider this statement:

…if we believe that Jesus Christ is the incarnation of God, then what Jesus said or implied about God and what he did ought to give us essential criteria for formulating an understanding of God.

  • Does this statement change or shed new light how you might approach Jesus’ teaching?
  • What would change in how you live, act, or interact with others if your understanding of God was more closely aligned with what Jesus said or implied about God?
  • Is there something newly revealed to you if your understanding of God was based more explicitly on Jesus’ actions and what he did in his life?

A fundamental point that Fr. Hosinski stresses is this:

God is the great mystery, ultimately incomprehensible.  New conceptualities may give us a new understanding of God; in the end, however, we cannot capture God with our minds.  But we can know God with our hearts as the mystery of Love, source of life and healing, dwelling with us and in us in love.

  • What helps you approach God from beyond your mind and conceptual thinking?
  • Have you noticed or experienced the discomfort and disorientation that can arise when a foundational and firmly held spiritual belief or principle no longer feels true or relevant?
  • Can you accept our limited ability to know things for certain, and to surrender to a larger unknowing and mystery? What helps or hinders you capacity for living in the mystery?
  • What practices help you know God in your heart, as the mystery of Love?

At the end of our interview with Fr. Hosinski he mentions three practices that help keep him connected to the larger possibilities and embodiment of the mystery of love, namely participating in the Eucharist, being part of a spiritual community, and working in his garden.

  • What practices or ritual help you form or keep this spiritual connection alive in your life?

 

Exploring with Others

Practicing and exploring with others is both supportive and helps us grow beyond our individual perspective. Do you have a community of “fellow explorers” to support your inner work, contemplative practice, and understanding of an evolutionary worldview? Where might you find such a supportive community, or with whom could you start one? You can read Ilia Delio’s suggestions and outline for forming a group here.