The Body of the Cosmos — Center for Action and Contemplation
×

By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies and our Privacy Policy.

A Sacramental Reality

The Body of the Cosmos

Tuesday, April 26th, 2022

Father Richard continues to emphasize the centrality of the Eucharist in a Christian life:

The Eucharist—or what many Christians refer to as communion—becomes our ongoing touchstone for the Christian journey. It becomes a place to which we must repeatedly return in order to find our face, our name, our absolute identity, who we are in Christ, and thus who we are forever. We are not just humans having a God experience. The Eucharist tells us that, in some mysterious way, we are an ingested God having a human experience!

This continues in Romans 8:19–25 (as creation), 1 Corinthians 10:16–17, and 11:23–25 (as bread and wine), and in 12:12–13 (as people). In each of these Scriptures, and in an ever-expanding sense, Paul expresses his full belief that there is a real transfer of human and spiritual identity from Christ to Creation, to the elements of bread and wine, and through them to human beings.

Thus Eucharist, like Resurrection, is not a unique event or strange anomaly. Eucharist is the Incarnation of Christ taken to its final shape and end—the very elements of the earth itself. It is all one huge continuum of Incarnation. It is indeed one sacred universe, all things turning around one thing (uni versus), the divine. [1]

Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn (1926–2022) wrote about “Jesus and Buddha as brothers.” On the Christian communion ritual, he writes:

The bread that Jesus handed to you, to us, is real bread, and if you can eat real bread you have real life. But we are not able to eat real bread. We only try to eat the word bread or the notion of bread. Even when we are celebrating the Eucharist, we are still eating notions and ideas. “Take, my friends, this is my flesh, this is my blood.” Can there be any more drastic language in order to wake you up? What could Jesus have said that is better than that? You have been eating ideas and notions, and I want you to eat real bread so that you become alive. If you come back to the present moment, fully alive, you will realize this is real bread, this piece of bread is the body of the whole cosmos.

If Christ is the body of God, which he is, then the bread he offers is also the body of the cosmos. Look deeply and you notice the sunshine in the bread, the blue sky in the bread, the cloud and the great earth in the bread. Can you tell me what is not in a piece of bread? The whole cosmos has come together in order to bring to you this piece of bread. You eat it in such a way that you become alive, truly alive. . . . Eat in such a way that the Holy Spirit becomes an energy within you and then the piece of bread that Jesus gives to you will stop being an idea, a notion. [2]

References:
[1] Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope for, and Believe (New York: Convergent, 2019), 137–138.

[2] Thich Nhat Hanh, Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers (New York: Riverhead Books, 1999), 106–107.

Explore Further:

Image credit: Patricia Duncan, Flight of Lesser Sandhill Cranes (detail), 1975, photograph, Nebraska, public domain, National Archives. Morgan Winston, Bread and Goblet of Juice for Communion (detail), 2020, photograph, Florida, free use. Jenna Keiper, Winter Trees (detail), 2021, photograph, Washington, used with permission. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States.

This week’s images appear in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story. 

Image inspiration: God’s sacramental reality is much bigger and more ordinary than what we often consider “holy.” The Divine Presence is found in bread, wine, a sedge of sandhill cranes, and trees in winter.

Story from Our Community:

I have a deeper appreciation of the entire cosmos—creation as the first incarnation. Two years ago my husband and I left New England and moved to Florida. Here palm trees replace the pines of Maine and where we once loved the maples of Vermont, now the egrets, heron, and ibis entertain us all day long. Whether maples or live oaks, robins or egrets, it is all One along with me in this Christ-soaked world.
—Glenny D.

Share your own story with us.

Prayer for our community:

God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough,  because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Listen to the prayer.

 

Join our email community

Sign-up to receive the Daily Meditations, featuring reflections on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.


Hidden Fields

Find out about upcoming courses, registration dates, and new online courses.
Our theme this year is Nothing Stands Alone. What could happen if we embraced the idea of God as relationship—with ourselves, each other, and the world? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.