The Cosmic Christ

The following is used with permission by the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC), first published in Daily Meditations November 5, 2015

Franciscan mysticism has a unique place in the world through its absolutely Christocentric lens, although the Franciscan emphasis is actually nothing more nor less than the full Gospel itself. Most Christians know about Jesus of Nazareth, but very few know about the Christ, and even fewer were ever taught how to put the two together. Many still seem to think that Christ is Jesus’ last name. By proclaiming my faith in Jesus Christ, I have made two acts of faith, one in Jesus and another in Christ. The times are demanding this full Gospel of us now.

Though it overlaps with many aspects of non-Christian mysticism—such as nature mysticism, Islamic Sufi mysticism (ecstasy and joy), Hindu mysticism (unitive consciousness and asceticism), Buddhism (non-violence and simplicity), and Jewish prophetic oracles—Franciscan mysticism is both deeply personal and cosmic/historical at the same time. [1] We must know that Franciscanism is not primarily about Francis of Assisi. It is about God, and the utter incarnate availability of God. In fact, when some fixate on Francis and Clare too long their spirituality invariably becomes sentimental, cheap, and harmless. Franciscan mysticism is about an intuition of Jesus as both the Incarnate Human One and the Eternal Cosmic Christ at the same time.

The first and cosmic incarnation of the Eternal Christ, the perfect co-inherence of matter and Spirit (Ephesians 1:3-11), happened at the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the human incarnation of that same Mystery a mere 2,000 years ago, when we were perhaps ready for this revelation. Christ is not Jesus’ last name, but the title of his historical and cosmic purpose. Jesus presents himself as the “Anointed” or Christened One who was human and divine united in one human body—as our model and exemplar. Peter seems to get this, at least once (Matthew 16:16), but like most of the church, he also seems to regress. Christ is our shortcut word for “The Body of God” or “God materialized.” [2] This Christ is much bigger and older than either Jesus of Nazareth or the Christian religion, because the Christ is whenever the material and the divine co-exist—which is always and everywhere.

Ilia Delio writes, “The conventional visualization of the physical world was changed by Einstein’s special theory of relativity, which showed that matter itself was a form of energy. . . . For all practical purposes, energy is the ‘real world.’” [3] There it is: science revealing that everything is both matter and energy/spirit co-inhering as one; this is a Christocentric world. This realization changes everything. 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. The Christ is God’s active power inside of the physical world. [4]

Delio continues: “Through his penetrating view of the universe Teilhard found Christ present in the entire cosmos, from the least particle of matter to the convergent human community. ‘The Incarnation,’ he declared, ‘is a making new . . . of all the universe’s forces and powers.’ Personal divine love is invested organically with all of creation, in the heart of matter, unifying the world.” [5] For many years, imitating Teilhard de Chardin, I used to end my letters with his own complementary close, “Christ Ever Greater!” This had little to do with my hopes for the expanding of organized Christianity, not that there is anything wrong with that. I think we are all sad to admit that organized Christianity has often resisted and opposed the true coming of the Cosmic Christ. The coming of the Cosmic Christ is not the same as the growth of the Christian religion. It is the unification of all things.

 

References:
[1] Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Franciscan Mysticism: A Cosmic Vision,” Radical Grace, Vol. 25, No. 1 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2012). You can read the full article in the Fall 2015 issue of CAC’s newsletter, the Mendicant.

[2] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self, 77.

[3] Ilia Delio, The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love24-25.

[4] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Christ, Cosmology, and Consciousness (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2010), MP3 download.

[5] Ilia Delio, The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love127 

Further exploration of the Cosmic Christ can be found in the CAC Daily Meditations here.

3 Total Articles

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New Creation is the Center for Christogenesis online magazine dedicated to deepening our awareness of God, Cosmos, and Humanity in a scientific age.

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A love letter to Ilia and Peirre Teilhard de Chardin Dear Ilia, I am so grateful to have found your books, your website, the Omega community and you, the prophet. Of course none of this was accidental. It all started with a car accident on my 21st birthday in 1968. I was driving alone at night, back to my job as a junior housemistress in a rural boarding school in Australia. Only my knee was badly injured in the accident but when I regained consciousness in the ambulance, I was aware of a terrible pain in my chest (bruising from the impact against the steering wheel before seat belts) as I struggled to breathe, it crossed my mind that I might be dying. I remember clearly thinking ‘what did the nuns teach us to do when one is dying?’. I was feeling pretty panicky by now and said the ‘Our Father’ as I was praying I relaxed with great relief because I knew from that moment (since never waived in my whole body conviction), that I actually, after all that teenage angst and doubt , did believe in God and more importantly that he/she believed in me. It was the greatest birthday gift I could have wished for . However it took about 15 years of ‘unfolding’’ to recognise the giftedness of this experience. The freedom of discovering that “faith” is not a noun but a verb of growing and becoming has given me licence to come and go, explore here and there, on and off. From Liberation theology, to the feminist project, sojouning with protestant friends and projects in social justice and ecological activism to Francis’ Laudato Si, the testament in scripture and finally home to the cosmic Christ and Teilhard de Chardin. Recently I get quite giddy, or ‘tipsy’, in awe and wonder at evolutionary creation and sometimes can cry at the privilege of being part of it. When I see an ant, busy about its business, or a weed struggling between the paving stones, I say to them,’even to be one of you would have been a great gig in this universe!, but to be chosen to be human through chance and natural selection, at this time of internet and DNA, to live in this country of security and more than my needs, to be a woman, a mother, grandmother and to have reached this consciousness of ’ unbearable wholeness’ and all that that means takes my breath away, like a car crash! Just one question. I don’t believe in “supernatural” any more. Is that heresy? The more I read about evolutionary biology and ponder on its implications for an evolutionary chistology, the more it seems to me that from the sub atomic to the cosmic scale, natural creativity, interconnectivity, communication networks, diversity, regeneration: have it all in hand. Thus the concept of ’super-nature’ is a tautology. I hope humanity can redeem itself, so that homo sapiens can continue to evolve into communities of healing and peace, but if not, then the infinite impulse will mourn the suffering and loss, but life is’ immortal and love is eternal’ (Bede Jarret) Resurrection goes on in the now, on the cusp of creating the future. Many thanks for your website. People like me need your company and inspiration. Patricia
Patricia Devlin
Monasterevin, co.Kildare.Ireland, AK
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