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Center for Action and Contemplation

Consciously Evolving

Friday, March 15, 2019

Christ in Evolution

Consciously Evolving
Friday, March 15, 2019

Ilia Delio explores what it means to consciously, intentionally participate in evolution:

Because we humans are in evolution we must see Christ in evolution as well—Christ’s humanity is our humanity, Christ’s life is our life. . . . To live Christ is to live community; to bear Christ in one’s life is to become a source of healing love for the sake of community. . . .

We must liberate Christ from a Western intellectual form that is logical, abstract, privatized, and individualized. We must engage in the complexification of Christ . . . which means accepting the diversity and differences of the other as integral to ourselves and thus integral to the meaning of Christ. Engagement with the other is not dissolving ourselves into the other but being true to ourselves—our identity—by finding ourselves in God and God in the other. . . .

Christ is the power of God among us and within us, the fullness of the earth and of life in the universe. We humans have the potential to make Christ alive; it is what we are created for. To live the mystery of Christ is not to speak about Christ but to live in the surrender of love, the poverty of being, and the cave of the heart. If we can allow the Spirit to really take hold of us and liberate us from our fears, anxieties, demands, and desire for power and control, then we can truly . . . live in the risen Christ who empowers us to build this new creation. We can look toward that time when there will be one cosmic person uniting all persons, one cosmic humanity uniting all humanity, one Christ in whom God will be all in all. [1]

On the whole we are not conscious of evolution, and we do not act as if our choices can influence the direction of evolution. . . .

What will it take for us to realize that we are unfinished creatures who are in the process of being created? That our world is being created? That our church is being created? That Christ is being formed in us? . . . The good news of Jesus Christ is not so much what happens to us but what must be done by us. The choices we make for the future will create the future. We must reinvent ourselves in love. . . .

We must consciously evolve; we must orient our being toward new life and growth because the unity that we really are, the deep connective tissue of oneness, will not let us rest with separateness. . . . Too much is at stake now to hide behind our secure walls. . . .

We must choose to be whole, to be attentive to God’s ongoing work in our lives. God will not create a new future for us, but God invites us to become more whole within ourselves so that we may become more whole among ourselves. Evolution toward greater wholeness is evolution toward more life and love. This is the basis of contemplative evolution and the emergence of Christ. [2]

[1] Ilia Delio, Christ in Evolution (Orbis Books: 2008), 180.

[2] Ilia Delio, The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love (Orbis Books: 2013), 202-203.

Image credit: Gua Tewet Tree of Life (detail), cave painting, Borneo, Indonesia.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: If the dynamics of the universe from the beginning shaped the course of the heavens, lighted the sun, and formed the earth, if this same dynamism brought forth the continents and seas and atmosphere, if it awakened life in the primordial cell and then brought into being the unnumbered variety of living beings, and finally brought us into being and guided us safely through the turbulent centuries, there is reason to believe that this same guiding process is precisely what has awakened in us our present understanding of ourselves and our relation to this stupendous process. —Thomas Berry (1914-2009)
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