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The Story of Being

The Cosmic Egg

The Story of Being
Friday, January 29, 2021

What if Christ is another name for everything—in its fullness?

Once we know that the entire physical world around us, all of creation, is both the hiding place and the revelation place for God, this world becomes home, safe, enchanted, offering grace to any who look deeply. I call that kind of deep and calm seeing “contemplation.”

A cosmic notion of the Christ competes with and excludes no one, but includes everyone and everything (Acts 10:15, 34) and allows Jesus Christ to finally be a God figure worthy of the entire universe.

In the Franciscan tradition, John Duns Scotus (1266–1308) developed the doctrine of the univocity of being. He believed we could speak “with one voice” (univocity) of the being of waters, plants, animals, humans, angels, and God. God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4), and thus reality is one too (Ephesians 4:3–5). We are all part of The Story of Being.

Author, lawyer, and activist Sherri Mitchell shares a similar and even more ancient perspective held by Native peoples. They do not use the word Christ, but within The Story, the universal patterns hold. She writes:

We all originate from the same divine source. . . . Sadly, there will also be times when we will lose sight of this basic fact. During those times, we will become lost in the unfolding stories of our own individualized realities. [1]

Albert Einstein once talked about the illusion that is created by [the] belief in separation. He described it as a prison that restricts our awareness of connection to the whole:

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. [2]

This is an idea that still seems fantastic to many people around the world. But it is a belief that has been held by Indigenous peoples since the beginning of time. Our songs, stories, and mythologies all speak of our interrelatedness. From birth, we are taught to be aware of the expanded kinship networks that surround us, which include other human beings along with the beings of the land, water, and air, and the plants, trees, and all remaining unseen beings that exist within our universe. . . .

Our challenge is to remember all of who we are. [3]

We must rediscover, reclaim, and recapitulate The Story in as many ways and as often as we can. Remaining trapped in the smaller domes of meaning separates us from the trinitarian flow of divine love and connection that is our birthright.

References:
[1] Sherri Mitchell, Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change (North Atlantic Books: 2018), 9.

[2] Albert Einstein, condolence letter to Norman Salit, March 4, 1950. Reprinted in The New York Times, March 29, 1972.

[3] Mitchell, 9–10.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent: 2019), 5, 6–7; and

Franciscan Mysticism: I Am That Which I Am Seeking, disc 1 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2012), CD, MP3 download.

Story from Our Community:
These words “If you don’t transform your pain, you transmit it” are a matter of life or death. You either get bitter or better. Meeting Jesus again at 40 took the blinders off my eyes and unveiled the tapestry of my story—redemptive suffering, salvation, a loving Father, unconditional love, eternal perspective, a purpose and new beginning. The truth will set you free. —Linda D.

Image credit: Branches and Leaves (detail), Photograph by Thomas Merton, copyright the Merton Legacy Trust and the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University. Used with Permission.
Image inspiration: A tree with its leaves can only tell the cyclical story of life alongside a tree that is dying. Life and death in creation weave harmonies to share the rich this-ness of The Story.
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