Love Is the Nature of Being

The Cosmic Christ: Week 1

Love Is the Nature of Being
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Francis of Assisi understood that the entire circle of life had a Great Lover at the center. [1] For the Franciscan School, before God is the divine Logos (rational pattern), God is Infinite and Absolute Friendship (Trinity), that is, Eternal Outpouring (Love). Love is the very nature of Being itself. God is not a Being, who occasionally decides to love, but God is “the one in whom we live, and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28) as Paul says to the intellectual people of Athens.

God is Being Itself, and by reason of the Trinity, Being is described as Love.

For us, the Trinity must be the absolute beginning point—and ending point too. Outpouring Love is the inherent shape of the universe, and only when we love do we fully and truthfully exist in this universe and move toward our full purpose.  As the Book of Revelation says, the Christ who came forth from the Trinity is both the Alpha and the Omega point of all history (1:8, 21:6, 22:13). This is not a religious statement as much as a metaphysical and cosmic statement which gives the whole universe meaning and direction and goal! God’s purposes are social, cosmic, and universal, and not just for a small group of so-called insiders. If hope is not a Big Hope, I do not think small hope is very possible.

Love is the very meaning of Creation. Many of the Fathers and Mothers of the  Church, along with many of the saints and mystics throughout history, said that God created because, frankly, God needed something to love and something that could love God freely in return. I imagine if you have children you’ve experienced this. When you welcomed your child into this world, your fondest desire, perhaps at an unconscious level, was just to love this little one in every way possible. Hidden behind that is the deep desire that “someday my child will love me back in the same way that I have loved him or her.” There’s nothing wrong with that. Of course, the very way you love your children becomes their empowerment to love you back.

Franciscan Philippe Yates puts this in cosmic terms:

At the heart of Scotus’ theology was the doctrine of the primacy of Christ. God is absolutely free and therefore if he [sic] creates it is because he wants to create. He wants to create in order to reveal and communicate his goodness and love to another. Because God loves, he wills that his creation should also be infused by love.

St. Paul tells us that Christ was the “first-born of all creation” [see Colossians 1:15], and Scotus’ theology makes sense of this affirmation. The incarnation in Scotus’ theology is the whole purpose of creation. Christ is the masterpiece of love in the midst of a creation designed for love, not a divine plumber come to fix the mess of original sin. [2]

In other words, we settled for Plan B, or Jesus as a mere problem solver after we messed up. The Good News is that the Christ is Plan A from the very beginning, and Jesus came along much later to make it all visible and loveable and attractive. Salvation is a historical, social, and universal notion, which is made very clear already by the Jewish prophets. But we made Jesus very small and then the good news of salvation became very small too.

Gateway to Silence:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

References:
[1] Richard Rohr, “Foreword,” Mirabai Starr, St. Francis of Assisi: Brother of Creation (Sounds True: 2013), viii.
[2] Philippe Yates, “The Theology of John Duns Scotus,” http://www.franciscans.org.uk/userfiles/pdf/Franciscan%20January%202006/Articles/The%20Theology%20of%20John%20Duns%20Scotus.pdf.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi (Franciscan Media: 2014), 182; and
The Cosmic Christ, disc 2 (CAC: 2009), CD, MP3 download.

Image description: Whirlpool Galaxy: The crossed pattern within the nucleus of M51 indicating two dust rings around the black hole at the center of the nebula. Credit: NASA/ESA

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