You are the Body of Christ

The Cosmic Christ: Week 1

You are the Body of Christ
Friday, October 28, 2016

Christ is the eternal amalgam of matter and spirit as one. They hold and reveal one another. Wherever the human and the divine coexist, we have the Christ. Wherever the material and the spiritual coincide, we have the Christ. That includes the material world, the natural world, the animal world (including humans), and moves all the way to the elemental world, symbolized by bread and wine. The Eucharist offers Christians the message in condensed form so we can struggle with it in a very concrete way. You cannot think about such a universal truth logically; you can only slowly digest it! “Eat it and know who you are,” St. Augustine said. [1] You are what you drink and eat, as any good nutritionist will tell you.

Only slowly does the truth become believable. Finally the Body of Christ is not out there or over there; it’s in you—it’s here and now and everywhere. The goal is then to move beyond yourself and recognize that what’s true in you is true in all others too. This was supposed to be a political and social revolution. But we wasted centuries arguing about whether it was true at all! The orthodox insistence on “Real Presence” is merely taking the Mystery of Incarnation to its natural and full and very good conclusion. Here I am quite happy to be fully Catholic. “There is only Christ, he is everything, and he is in everything,” Paul shouts (see Colossians 3:11). This is not pantheism; it is the much more subtle and subversive panentheism, or God in all things.

The Cosmic Christ diagram.The widest part at the bottom of the hourglass I call the ever-expanding Christ Mystery. To put it forthrightly, YOU are “the second coming of Christ”!

You and I are living here in this ever-expanding universe. You and I are a part of this Christ Mystery without any choice on our part. We just are, whether we like it or not. It’s nothing we have to consciously believe. It’s first of all announcing an objective truth. But if we consciously take this mystery as our worldview, it will create immense joy and peace. It gives us significance and a sense of belonging as part of God’s Great Work. We are no longer alienated from God, others, or the universe. Everything belongs. And it is pure, undeserved gift from the very beginning.

Participating in Christ allows you to know that “I don’t matter at all, and yet I matter intensely—at the same time!” That’s the ultimate therapeutic healing. I’m just a little grain of sand in this giant, giant universe. I’m going to pass in a little while like everyone else will. But I’m also a child of God. I’m connected radically, inherently, intrinsically to the Center and to everything else.

You need never feel lonely again.

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

References:
[1] Paraphrasing Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 272, “On the day of Pentecost, to the infantes, concerning the sacrament” in The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, pt. 3, vol. 7, trans. Edmund Hill (New City Press: 1993), 300-301.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Christ, Cosmology, & Consciousness: A Reframing of How We See (CAC: 2010), 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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