The Universal Christ
Christ Is Everywhere
Thursday, December 6, 2018
Christ is the eternal amalgam of matter and spirit as one as they hold and reveal one another. Wherever the human and the divine coexist, we have the Christ. Wherever the material and the spiritual coincide, we have the Christ. That includes the material world, the natural world, the animal world (including humans), and moves all the way to the elemental world, symbolized by bread and wine. The Eucharist offers Christians the message in condensed form so we can struggle with it in a very concrete way. We cannot think about such a universal truth logically; we can only slowly digest it! “Eat it and know who you are,” St. Augustine said.  We are what we drink and eat, as any good nutritionist will say.
Only slowly does the truth become believable. Finally, the Body of Christ is not out there or over there; it’s in you—it’s here and now and everywhere. The goal is then to move beyond yourself and recognize that what’s true in you is true in all others too. The Universal Christ permeates all creation including us. We are all the image and likeness of God!
This recognition was supposed to be a political and social revolution. But Christians wasted centuries arguing about whether it was true at all! The orthodox insistence on the “Real Presence” in the Eucharist is merely taking the Mystery of Incarnation to its natural and full and very good conclusion. Here I am quite happy to be fully Catholic. “There is only Christ, he is everything, and he is in everything,” Paul shouts (see Colossians 3:11). This is not pantheism; it is the much more subtle and subversive panentheism, or God in all things.
You and I are living here in this ever-expanding universe. You and I are a part of this Christ Mystery without any choice on our part. We just are, whether we like it or not. It’s nothing we have to consciously believe. It’s first of all announcing an objective truth. But if we consciously take this mystery as our worldview, it will create immense joy and peace. It gives us significance and a sense of belonging as part of God’s Great Work. We are no longer alienated from God, others, or the universe. Everything belongs. And it is pure, undeserved gift from the very beginning.
Participating in Christ allows each of us to know that “I don’t matter at all, and yet I matter intensely—at the same time!” That’s the ultimate therapeutic healing. I’m just a little grain of sand in this giant, giant universe. I’m going to pass in a little while like everyone else will. But I’m also a child of God. I’m connected radically, inherently, intrinsically to the Center and to everything else.
 Paraphrasing Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 272, “On the day of Pentecost, to the infantes, concerning the sacrament.” See The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, pt. 3, vol. 7, tr. Edmund Hill (New City Press: 1993), 300-301.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Christ, Cosmology, & Consciousness: A Reframing of How We See (CAC: 2010), MP3 download; and