Nonviolence . . . Human trafficking . . . Women . . . . The elderly . . . Immigrants' rights . . . Housing. . . Children . . . Prisoners' rights . . . Health care . . . World Hunger . . . Globalization, as it affects Latin America . . . Care of the earth . . . Seamless ethic of life

Note: The ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author's and should not be ascribed to the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes or its members.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Richard Rohr Meditation: God in All Things

Image description: Whirlpool Galaxy: The crossed pattern within the nucleus of M51 indicating two dust rings around the black hole at the center of the nebula.

Whirlpool Galaxy: The crossed pattern within the nucleus of M51 indicating two dust rings around
the black hole at the center of the nebula. Credit: NASA/ESA

The Cosmic Christ:
Week 1

God in All Things

The day of my spiritual awakening
was the day I saw and knew I saw
all things in God and God in all things.

—Mechtild of Magdeburg (c. 1212—c. 1282) [1]

Understanding the Cosmic Christ can change the way we relate to creation, to other religions, to other people, to ourselves, and to God. Knowing and experiencing the Cosmic Christ can bring about a major shift in consciousness. Like Saul’s experience on the road to Damascus (see Acts 9), you won’t be the same after encountering the Risen Christ.

As with the Trinity, the Cosmic Christ is present in both Scripture and Tradition and the concept has been understood by many mystics, though not as a focus of mainline Christianity. We just didn’t have the eyes to see it. The Cosmic Christ is about as traditional as you can get, but Christians—including many preachers—have not had the level of inner experience to know how to communicate this to people.

The Cosmic Christ is Divine Presence pervading all of creation since the very beginning. My father Francis of Assisi intuited this presence and lived his life in awareness of it. Later, John Duns Scotus (1266-1308) put this intuition into philosophical form. For Duns Scotus, the Christ Mystery was the blueprint of reality from the very start (John 1:1). Teilhard de Chardin brought this insight into our modern world. God’s first “idea” was to become manifest—to pour out divine, infinite love into finite, visible forms. The “Big Bang” is now our scientific name for that first idea; and “Christ” is our theological name. Both are about love and beauty exploding outward in all directions. Creation is indeed the Body of God! What else could it be, when you think of it?

In Jesus, this eternal omnipresence had a precise, concrete, and personal referent. God’s presence became more obvious and believable in the world. But this apparition only appeared in the last ten seconds of December 31, as it were—scaling the universe’s entire history to a single year. Was God saying nothing and doing nothing for 13.8 billion years? Our code word for that infinite saying and doing was the “Eternal Christ.” (See John 1:1-5, Colossians 1:15-20, Ephesians 1:9-12 if you think this is some new idea.)

Vague belief and spiritual intuition became specific and concrete and personal in Jesus—with a “face” that we could “hear, see, and touch” (1 John 1:1). The formless now had a personal form, according to Christian belief.

But it seems we so fell in love with this personal interface with Jesus that we forgot about the Eternal Christ, the Body of God, which is all of creation, which is really the “First Bible.” Jesus and Christ are not exactly the same. In the early Christian era, only a few Eastern Fathers (such as Origen of Alexandria and Maximus the Confessor) cared to notice that the Christ was clearly historically older, larger, and different than Jesus himself. They mystically saw that Jesus is the union of human and divine in space and time, and the Christ is the eternal union of matter and Spirit from the beginning of time. 

When we believe in Jesus Christ, we’re believing in something much bigger than just the historical incarnation that we call Jesus. Jesus is just the visible map. The entire sweep of the meaning of the Anointed One, the Christ, includes us and includes all of creation since the beginning of time. Revelation was geological, physical, and nature-based before it was ever personal and fully relational (see Romans 1:20).

Gateway to Silence:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

[1] Sue Woodruff, Meditations with Mechtild of Magdeburg (Santa Fe, NM: Bear & Co., 1982), 46. 
Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Cosmic Christ, discs 1 & 2 (CAC: 2009), CD, MP3 download; and 
Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi (Franciscan Media: 2014), 185, 210, 222. 

“Evolutionary Thinking”
a new issue of Oneing, CAC’s spiritual, literary journal
“Foundational hope demands a foundational belief in a world that is still and always unfolding.” —Richard Rohr

Discover the many ways in which we can consciously contribute to the evolutionary process, both at the universal and personal levels. The story has not yet ended. Have hope!

Featuring Michael Dowd, Tasha Wahl, Micky Scottbey Jones, Mike Morrell, Sally Severino, and others.

This limited edition publication is now available at

2016 Daily Meditation Theme
Richard Rohr's meditations this year invite us to discover, experience, and participate in the foundation of our existence—Love. Throughout the year, Fr. Richard's meditations follow the thread of Love through many of his classic teachings in 1-2 week segments. Learn more and watch a video introduction at

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Copyright © 2016
Center for Action and Contemplation

Frederick Buechner Quote of the Day: Earth

For thousands upon thousands of years people couldn't see the earth whole — only as much of it at a time as there was between wherever they happened to be and the horizon. For most of them, the question of flatness or roundness must have seemed altogether irrelevant. Either way, it was plainly enormous. Beyond the fields and the mountains there was the sea, and beyond the sea more fields, more mountains. Whatever wild ideas they had about how it came into being or who made it, they knew it had been around more or less forever. Just by looking at it you could tell that — the ancient rocks, the vast deserts. Nothing less than God himself could ever bring it to an end, and God didn't seem to be in any special hurry about it. In the meanwhile, though time and change eventually carried off everybody and everything else, it was as clear as anything was clear that at least the place they were carried off from was for keeps. Spring would follow winter like the ebb and flow of the tides. Life in one odd shape or another would keep going on and on, the old ones dying and the new ones being born.
Then suddenly pictures were taken from miles away, and we saw it at last for what it truly is. It is about the size of a dime. It is blue with swirls of silver. It shines. The blackness it floats in is so immense, it seems almost miraculously not to have swallowed it up long since.
Seeing it like that for the first time, you think of Jesus seeing Jerusalem for the last time. The ass he's riding comes clip-clopping around a bend in the road, and without warning there it is. His eyes fill with tears, as Luke describes it. "Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace," he says. "For the days shall come..." (Luke 19:41,43). The holy city.
The holy earth. We must take such care of it. It must take such care of us. This side of paradise, we are each of us so nearly all the other has. There is darkness beyond our wildest imagining all around us. Among us there is just about enough light to get by.
~originally published in Whistling in the Dark and later in Beyond Words

Friday, October 21, 2016

November 8 Election - You Decide

In three weeks citizens of the USA will choose their political leaders for terms of two  (Congressional), four (Presidential) and six (Senate) years. Many local races are also on the ballot. For non-partisan information about candidates I encourage you to dig deeper by visiting MyVoteSmart. Also, Wisconsin Vote has nonpartisan profiles of the candidates (not just Republican and Democratic) who are on the ballot. (Look for similar resources where you reside.)


O God, You showed us the importance of acting on behalf of those who are without power and whose voices are not heard. Guide us to promote a “seamless garment” of issues concerned with the sanctity of all stages of life and all human beings. We offer a prayer of thanksgiving for our freedom to vote and make our voices heard in the public square. Guiding Spirit, be with us as we use “reason with faith” to judge political candidates and political agenda so we may work for the common good of all. Let us always turn to You in our prayer of active discernment. Amen.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ahimsa: Let Love be Your First, Middle and Last Name

Ahimsa: Love Is Your Nature 
Sunday, October 9, 2016 
Before you speak of peace, you must first have it in your heart. —St. Francis of Assisi [1] 
Christianity seems to have forgotten Jesus’ teachings on nonviolence. We’ve relegated visions of a peaceful kingdom to a far distant heaven, hardly believing Jesus could have meant we should turn the other cheek here and now. It took Gandhi, a Hindu, to help us apply Jesus’ peace-making in very practical ways. As Gandhi said, “It is a first class human tragedy that people of the earth who claim to believe in the message of Jesus, whom they describe as the Prince of Peace, show little of that belief in actual practice.” [2] Martin Luther King, Jr., drawing from Gandhi’s work, brought nonviolence to the forefront of civil rights in the 1960s.
Nonviolent training has understandably emphasized largely external methods or ways of acting and resisting. These are important and necessary, but we must go even deeper. Unless those methods finally reflect inner attitudes, they will not make a lasting difference. We all have to admit that our secret inner attitudes are often cruel, attacking, judgmental, and harsh. The ego seems to find its energy precisely by having something to oppose, fix, or change. When the mind can judge something to be inferior, we feel superior. We must recognize our constant tendency toward negating reality, resisting it, opposing it, and attacking it on the level of our mind. This is the universal addiction, as I say in the introduction to Breathing Under Water. [3]
Authentic spirituality is always first about you—about allowing your own heart and mind to be changed. It’s about getting your own who right. Who is it that is doing the perceiving? Is it your illusory, separate, false self; or is it your True Self, who you are in God?
As Thomas Keating says:
We’re all like localized vibrations of the infinite goodness of God’s presence. So love is our very nature. Love is our first, middle, and last name. Love is all; not [love as] sentimentality, but love that is self-forgetful and free of self-interest.
This is also marvelously exemplified in Gandhi’s life and work. He never tried to win anything. He just tried to show love; and that’s what ahimsa really means. It’s not just a negative. Nonviolence doesn’t capture its meaning. It means to show love tirelessly, no matter what happens. That’s the meaning of turning the other cheek. Once in a while you have to defend somebody, but it means you’re always willing to suffer first for the cause—that is to say, for communion with your enemies. If you overcome your enemies, you’ve failed. If you make your enemies your partners, God has succeeded. [4]
[1] Paraphrase of Francis of Assisi, Opuscoli di S. Francesco d’Assisi, ed. Fr. Bernardo da Fivizzano (Firenze Tip. della SS. Concezione di R. Ricci: 1880), 272.
[2] Mahatma Gandhi,
Truth is God, ed. R. K. Prabhu (Navajivan Publishing House: 1955), 145.
[3] See Richard Rohr,
Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps (Franciscan Media: 2011).
[4] Thomas Keating,
Healing Our Violence through the Journey of Centering Prayer (Franciscan Media: 2002), disc 5 (CD).
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Mary and Nonviolence (CAC: 2002), CD, discontinued; and
Richard Rohr and Thomas Keating,
Healing Our Violence through the Journey of Centering Prayer (Franciscan Media: 2002), discs 2 and 5 (CD).

This Election, Vote With A Conscience (by Tony Magliano, NCR)

U.S. Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton and U.S. Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump (CNS/Brian Snyder/Mike Segar, Reuters
Throw your political affiliation out the window!

But you're a loyal Democrat. Or perhaps instead, you're a loyal Republican. Never mind that.

Your political affiliation is not that important. 

What's crucially important is your affiliation with Jesus, and your commitment to his campaign -- to his divine plan. 

Are you voting for Jesus Christ? Read More.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Colombia's Juan Manuel Santos: 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Awardee

Today the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced its choice of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his efforts to negotiate with the FARC rebels an end to Colombia’s fifty-year civil war that caused the deaths of over 220,000 and the displacement of six million of its citizens. Despite the Colombian citizens’ rejection of the peace agreement last Sunday President Santos is committed to bring Colombians into dialogue to forge an amended agreement that will bring peace and reconciliation. 

Upcoming UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Former Prime Minister of Portugal to Become Secretary-General of the UN on January 1, 2017
Antonio Guterres, a devout Catholic, served the U.N. for a decade as its refugee chief. Earlier this year he described the role of Secretary General as "acting with humility, without arrogance, without giving lessons to anybody, but working as a convener, as a facilitator, as a catalyst and behaving like an honest broker, a bridge builder and a messenger for peace." Let us pray in thanksgiving for the decade of service by Ban Ki-moon of South Korea and for blessings on Mr. Antonio Guterres as he begins his vital service to the international community. May he be able to garner political will among nations to resolve the global refugee crisis and to achieve the Charter of the United Nations.