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The Resurrected Christ
The Resurrected Christ

The Resurrection of All Things  

Monday, April 10, 2023

Father Richard invites us to expand our understanding of resurrection: 

I want to enlarge your view of resurrection from a one-time miracle in the life of Jesus that asks for assent and belief, to a pattern of creation that has always been true, and that invites us to much more than belief in a miracle. It must be more than the private victory of one man to prove that he is God.  

Resurrection and renewal are, in fact, the universal and observable pattern of everything. We might just as well use non-religious terms like “springtime,” “regeneration,” “healing,” “forgiveness,” “life cycles,” “darkness,” and “light.” If incarnation is real, and Spirit has inhabited matter from the beginning, then resurrection in multitudinous forms is to be fully expected.  

Richard explains: 

The Christ Mystery anoints all physical matter with eternal purpose from the very beginning. We should not be surprised that the word we translate from the Greek as Christ comes from the Hebrew word mashiach, which means “the anointed one,” or Messiah. Jesus the Christ reveals that all is anointed!  

If the universe is anointed or “Christened” from its very beginning, then of course it can never die forever.  

Resurrection is just incarnation taken to its logical conclusion.  

If God inhabits matter, then we can naturally believe in the “resurrection” of the body.  

Most simply said, nothing truly good can die! (Trusting that is probably our real act of faith!)  

Resurrection is presented by Paul as the general principle of all reality (see 1 Corinthians 15:13). He does not argue from a one-time anomaly and then ask us to believe in this Jesus “miracle.” Instead, Paul names the cosmic pattern, and then says in many places that the “Spirit carried in our hearts” is the icon, the guarantee, the pledge, and the promise, or even the “down payment” of that universal message (see 2 Corinthians 1:21–22; Ephesians 1:14).  

One reason we can trust Jesus’ resurrection is that we can already see resurrection happening everywhere else. Nothing is the same forever, states modern science. Geologists with good evidence can prove that no landscape is permanent over millennia. Water, fog, steam, and ice are all the same thing, but at different stages and temperatures. “Resurrection” is another word for change, but particularly positive change—which we tend to see only in the long run. In the short run, it often just looks like death. The Preface to the Catholic funeral liturgy says, “Life is not ended, it is merely changed.” Science is now giving us a very helpful language for what religion rightly intuited and imaged, albeit in mythological language. Remember, myth does not mean “not true,” which is the common misunderstanding; it actually refers to things that are always true!  

Jesus’ first incarnate life, his passing over into death, and his resurrection into the ongoing Christ life is the archetypal model for the entire pattern of creation. He is the microcosm for the whole cosmos, or the map of the whole journey.  

Reference: 

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope for, and Believe (New York: Convergent, 2021), 169, 99, 20, 170–171. 

Image credit: A path from one week to the next—Jenna Keiper, Photo of a beloved artpiece belonging to Richard Rohr (Artist Unknown.) McEl Chevrier, Untitled. CAC Staff, Untitled. Used with permission. Click here to enlarge image

On retreat, the CAC staff used watercolors to connect to our collective grief. This is one of the watercolor paintings that came from that exercise. 

Story from Our Community:

I recently lost my 60-year-old son to cancer. One of the greatest memories I have is that we both discovered the Universal Christ in his last years. A month before he died, he wrote: “Totally immersed in the Universal Christ. I have never felt God’s presence so overwhelmingly and so real.” —Pete J. 

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