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Moving Toward Greater Love
Moving Toward Greater Love

Universal Restoration

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Second Sunday of Advent

Richard Rohr affirms God’s plan to draw all of creation into the intimacy and celebration of Love:

Jesus often uses the metaphor of a wedding to describe what God is doing—preparing and drawing us toward deeper intimacy, belonging, and union. The Eastern Fathers of the Church affirmed this belief; they called it the process of “divinization” (theosis). They saw it as the whole point of the incarnation and the very meaning of salvation. The much more practical and rational church in the West seldom used the word divinization. It was just too daring for us, despite the rather direct teachings from Peter (1 Peter 1:4–5; 2 Peter 1:4) and Jesus in John’s Gospel: “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me” (John 17:20–21).

Jesus came to give us the courage to trust and allow our inherent union with God, and he modeled it for us in this world. Union is not merely a place we go to later—if we are good. It is a place of deep goodness that we naturally exist inside of—now.

For persons—and for creation—transformation must be real and in this world. Paul’s most used phrase, “en Christo,” suggests a shared embodiment. The Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12) then takes the form of a meal so we can be reminded frequently of our core identity (1 Corinthians 11:23–26). [1] As Augustine preached, “We are what we eat! We are what we drink!” [2]

I am convinced this development of unitive consciousness is the true Second Coming of Christ. Our union with God will finally be experienced and enjoyed, despite our relentless resistance and denial. When God wins, God wins! God doesn’t lose. Apokatastasis (universal restoration) has been promised to us (Revelation 3:20–21) as the real message of the Universal Christ, the Alpha and the Omega of all history (Revelation 1:4, 21:6, 22:13). It will be a win-win for God—and surely for humanity! What else would a divine victory look like?

The clear goal and direction of biblical revelation is toward full, mutual indwelling. We see this movement toward union as God walks in the garden with naked Adam and Eve and “all the array” of creation (Genesis 2:1). The theme finds its shocking climax in the realization that “the mystery is Christ within you, your hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). As John excitedly puts it, “You know him because he is with you and he is in you!” (John 14:17). The eternal mystery of incarnation will have finally met its mark, and “the marriage feast of the Lamb will begin” (Revelation 19:7–9). History isn’t heading toward Armageddon or a “Left Behind” conclusion. Jesus says, in any number of places, it will be a great wedding banquet. [3]


[1] Adapted from Richard Rohr, New Great Themes of Scripture (Cincinnati, OH: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1999), Audible audiobook.

[2] See Augustine, Sermon 272, “On the day of Pentecost, to the infantes [ … ] in The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, pt. 3, Sermons, vol. 7, trans. Edmund Hill (New York: New City Press, 1993), 300–301.

[3] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality (Cincinnati, OH: Franciscan Media, 2008, 2022), 230–231.

Image Credit: A path from one week to the next—Madison Frambes, Untitled 1, 7, and 5 (detail), 2023, naturally dyed paper and ink, Mexico, used with permission. Click here to enlarge image.

Though she weeps, the woman is moving forward. Pain is a natural part of healing.

Story from Our Community:  

The meditations on being on the “edge of the inside” gave me hope, joy, and encouragement. I don’t have to leave, criticize, or condemn the “inside.” It is the place where I was born into, a container for “more.” I am forever grateful for the “more” that I receive in praying with you each day. Living on the “edge” gives me freedom and consolation to follow Jesus as He continues to live on the edge of the inside through the prophetic calls that surround us. —Renee T.

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