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The Enduring Spiritual Insight

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jesus: The Christ

The Enduring Spiritual Insight
Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Francis of Assisi must have known, at least intuitively, that there is only one enduring spiritual insight and everything else follows from it: The visible world is an active doorway to the invisible world, and the invisible world is much larger than the visible. I call this “the mystery of incarnation”—the essential union of the material and the spiritual worlds—or simply “Christ.”

Our outer world and its inner significance must come together for there to be any wholeness—and holiness. The result is both deep joy and a resounding sense of coherent beauty. What was personified in the body of Jesus was a manifestation of this one universal truth: Matter is, and has always been, the hiding place for Spirit, forever offering itself to be discovered anew. Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when he said, “I am the gate” (John 10:7). Francis and his female companion, Clare, carried this mystery to its full and lovely conclusions. Or, more rightly, they were fully carried by it. They somehow knew that “the beyond” was not really beyond, but in the depths of here.

John Duns Scotus (1266-1308) put the lived intuition of Francis and Clare into philosophical form. For Scotus, the Christ Mystery was the blueprint of reality from the very start (John 1:1). God’s first “idea” was to pour out divine, infinite love into finite, visible forms. The Big Bang is our scientific name for that first idea; “Christ” is our theological name, and it is all about love and beauty exploding outward in all directions.

Sadly, Christians were not told to understand Christ as the Archetype and Model for all of creation despite Scripture clearly teaching it (Ephesians 1:3-14; Colossians 1:15-20). Instead, we spent most of our time trying to prove that Jesus was “God,” which would put our religion out in front of the others and solidify our own ranks. Most Christians, having extracted Jesus from the Trinity, had no overarching schema or explanation for where this God was “coming from” and where this God was leading them, which is precisely back to union with God. We did not let Christ “hold all things together” as the author of Colossians promised (1:17). Each Christian denomination became a “text” outside of any meaningful “context,” or a bit of Jesus without any Cosmic Christ, as it were. Jesus always becomes too small if the Eternal Christ is forgotten, ignored, or not loudly proclaimed.

Gateway to Silence:
In Christ, we become God’s Love.

Adapted from Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi, pp. xiv, 185, 215

Image Credit: The Cosmic Christ (detail) by Sr. Nancy Earl, © 2008, CAC archives
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