I am enjoying the tremendous privilege of a week of study leave. I let go of my plan to attend a preacher’s conference in Minneapolis, to stay home and read “The Universal Christ”, the latest book by Fr. Richard Rohr.
Richard Rohr is a Franciscan monk and priest, who lives and works at the Center for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico. I met Fr. Richard a little over a year ago, at Tulane University in New Orleans organized by my friend William Thiele and the School for Contemplative Living.
Rohr’s subject in this new book is the “Christ Mystery, the indwelling of the Divine Presence in everyone and everything since the beginning of time as we know it”
I thought that each day I could share some of the quotes that captured my imagination.
“What if Christ is a name for the transcendent within of every ‘thing’ in the universe? What if Christ is a name for the immense spaciousness of all true Love? What if Christ refers to an infinite horizon that pulls us from within and pulls us forward too? What if Christ is another name for everything in its fullness?”
“The essential function of religion is to radically connect us with everything. (Re-ligio = to re-ligament or reconnect.) It is to help us see the world and ourselves in wholeness, and not just in parts. Truly enlightened people see oneness because they look out from oneness, instead of labelling everything as superior or inferior, in or out.”
“Numerous Scriptures make it very clear that this Christ has existed ‘from the beginning’ (John 1:1-18, Colossians 1:15-20, and Ephesians 1:3-14 being primary sources)”
“if you believe Jesus’s main purpose is to provide a means of personal, individual salvation, it is all too easy to think he doesn’t have anything to do with human history- with war or injustice, or destruction of nature, or anything that contradicts our ego’s desires or our cultural biases. We ended up spreading our national cultures under the rubric of Jesus, instead of a universally liberating message under the name of Christ.”
“A merely personal God becomes tribal and sentimental, and a merely universal God never leaves the realm of abstract theory and philosophical principles. But when we learn to put them together, Jesus and Christ give us a God who is both personal and universal. The Christ Mystery anoints all physical matter with eternal purpose from the very beginning.”
“a true comprehension of the full Christ Mystery is the key to the foundational reform of the Christian religion, which alone will move us beyond any attempts to corral or capture God into our exclusive group.”