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Unveiling the Universal Christ

Mirroring the Mind of Christ

Tuesday, August 24th, 2021

Unveiling the Universal Christ

Mirroring the Mind of Christ
Tuesday, August 24, 2021

For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, everything visible and everything invisible . . . —Colossians 1:16

The true and essential work of all religion is to help us recognize the divine image in everyone and every thing. It is to mirror things correctly, deeply, and fully until all things know who they are. A mirror by its nature reflects impartially, equally, effortlessly, spontaneously, and endlessly. It does not produce the image, nor does it filter the image according to its perceptions or preferences. Authentic mirroring can only call forth what is already there.

We can enlarge this idea of mirroring to give us another way of understanding the Universal Christ. For example, there is a divine mirror that might be called the very “Mind of Christ.” The Christ mirror fully knows and loves us from all eternity and reflects that image back to us. I cannot logically prove this to you, but I do know that people who live inside this resonance are both happy and healthy. Here’s how the Franciscan mystic Bonaventure (c. 1217–1274) described this mirroring: “We can contemplate God not only outside us and within us but also above us: outside through his vestiges [creations], within through his image and above through the light which shines upon our minds, which is the light of Eternal Truth.” [1]

Can we then also see the lovely significance of John’s statement, “It is not because you do not know the truth that I write to you, but because you know it already” (1 John 2:21)? He is talking about an implanted knowing in each of us—an inner mirror, if you will. Today, many would just call it “consciousness,” and poets and musicians might call it the “soul.” The prophet Jeremiah would call it “the Law written in your heart” (31:33), while Christians would call it the “Indwelling Holy Spirit.” For me, these terms are largely interchangeable, approaching the same theme from different backgrounds and expectations. In that same letter, John puts it quite directly: “My dear people, we are already the children of God” and in the future “all we will know is that we are like God, for we shall finally see God as God really is!” (1 John 3:2).

The “image of God” is absolute and unchanging; it is pure and total gift, given equally to all. There is nothing we humans can do to increase or decrease it. It is not ours to decide who has it or does not have it, which has been most of our problem up to now—deciding who is in and who is out, who is up and who is down, who is “going to heaven” and who is not. Only the tiny mind would want such a strange and horrible “comfort.” The great mind hands such questions back where they belong, to the only mind where everything belongs, which is of course the Mind of Christ.

References:
[1] Bonaventure, The Soul’s Journey into God, 5.1, in Bonaventure, trans. Ewert Cousins (Paulist Press: 1978), 94.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope for, and Believe (Convergent: 2019), 59–61; and

How Do We Get Everything to Belong?, disc 3 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2004), CD, MP3 download.

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Image credit: Charles O’Rear, Grasses After Spring Rain (detail), 1973, photograph, Nebraska, National Archives.
Image inspiration: Each blade of dew-graced grass is part of a larger braided design, just as each person is part of a larger whole. The extraordinary glistens in the most ordinary.
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