Something Special about Halloween, All Saints and ClimateSe

There is, for me, something special about Halloween and All Saints Day. Together they are the Apex of the FALL season.Living in the Midwest, you get to experience four and sometimes five seasons, LOL.

In each, we experience change. Reflecting on Richard Rohr’s “The First Bible,” we see a theology of creation. The Significant Other we call God. All too often, we think of ourselves as the center of the universe, and by that, I mean we as humans. But for almost 15 billion years, the Universe and God have been one. We humans showed up roughly 300,000 years ago as Newcomers to the neighborhood. We are acting like we own this place. When will we realize we are only tenants, renters of space on this planet.

The “First Bible” spells out that lease we have with God for living on this planet. Pope Francis has added a few addendums to that lease, and like so many leases, who reads them?

Maybe we would appreciate more the realization that God, the Universe, and the US are one together on this planet if we stopped thinking we can do whatever we want because we believe we own it. As Jesus said, the Kingdom is here and now. Heaven on earth, but we have to create the environment to bring heaven to earth. We are not so good at that; look around. There are times I think we maybe should never have separated the Bible into old and new. Perhaps it implies one is better or improved over the other; think about that sometime. There is much to learn about caring for this planet and why we are one in the Jewish scriptures.

Maybe we need lessons on the theology of sacredness of everything. Richard Rohr writes, “This is the Cosmic Christ, who always was, who became incarnate in time, and who is still being revealed.”Maybe if we think more about our God revealed to us through the universe, we wouldn’t be so eager to cloud it up with chemicals and pollution.

Maybe if we engage more in mediative prayer, a total sit-in silence and listen to what God is speaking to us about our universe, seeing God in the changing colors of the Fall leaves in a walk, and in the Spring the blossoming of life, and as Winter approaches, knowing our time is always close to coming to an end so it should remind us to ask “what are we doing to bring about the kingdom of heaven on earth?”.

Meditative prayer was standard practice in the first two centuries, along with lots of meals, discussion, and debate. This practice faded away after the 4th century and was revitalized when Merton came on the scene. In the first two centuries, the early followers of Jesus often found mediation, nature, and the universe to be the path to understanding what’s it is all about.

If we take a lesson from Cardinal Joseph Cardijn and the method of action he formulated of SEE JUDGE ACT and began to apply that thinking and acting to working to resolve our climate crisis, maybe each of us in our small ways can make a difference and collectively form to bring about the kingdom, heaven on earth.

WE, the CHURCH, are quite a cable of making this happen. We did it in the early 1900s with the labor movements, Catholic Workers Movement, Christian Family Movements, etc.; we can do this again. We need to realize both hierarchy and laity; we together are Church.

The First Bible

Christ Since the Beginning

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Sacred writings are bound in two volumes—that of creation and that of Holy Scripture. —Thomas Aquinas (1224–1274) [1]

Ever since God created the world, God’s everlasting power and deity—however invisible—have been there for the mind to see in the things God has made. —Romans 1:20

I think what Paul means here is that whatever we need to know about God can be found in nature. Nature itself is the primary Bible. The world is the locus of the sacred and provides all the metaphors that the soul needs for its growth.

If you scale chronological history down to the span of one year, with the Big Bang on January 1, then our species, Homo sapiens, doesn’t appear until 11:59 p.m. on December 31. That means the written Bible and Christianity appeared in the last nanosecond of December 31. I can’t believe that God had nothing to say until the last moment of December 31. Rather, as both Paul and Thomas Aquinas say, God has been revealing God’s love, goodness, and beauty since the very beginning through the natural world of creation. “God looked at everything God had made, and found it very good” (Genesis 1:31).

Acknowledging the intrinsic value and beauty of creation, elements, plants, and animals is a major paradigm shift for most Western and cultural Christians. In fact, we have often dismissed it as animism or paganism. We limited God’s love and salvation to our own human species, and, even then, we did not have enough love to go around for all of humanity! God ended up looking quite miserly and inept, to be honest.

Listen instead to the Book of Wisdom (13:1, 5):

How dull are all people who, from the things-that-are, have not been able to discover God-Who-Is, or by studying the good works have failed to recognize the Artist. . . . Through the grandeur and beauty of the creatures we may, by analogy, contemplate their Author.

Sister Ilia Delio writes in true Franciscan style:

The world is created as a means of God’s self-revelation so that, like a mirror or footprint, it might lead us to love and praise the Creator. We are created to read the book of creation so that we may know the Author of Life. This book of creation is an expression of who God is and is meant to lead humans to what it signifies, namely, the eternal Trinity of dynamic, self-diffusive love. [2]

All you have to do today is go outside and gaze at one leaf, long and lovingly, until you know, really know, that this leaf is a participation in the eternal being of God. It’s enough to create ecstasy. The seeming value or dignity of an object doesn’t matter; it is the dignity of your relationship to the thing that matters. For a true contemplative, a gratuitously falling leaf will awaken awe and wonder just as much as a golden tabernacle in a cathedral.

[1] Thomas Aquinas, Sermons on the Two Precepts of Charity and the Ten Precepts of the Law (1273), as cited by Matthew Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality (Tarcher/Putnam: 2003, ©1992), 59.

[2] Ilia Delio, Christ in Evolution (Orbis Books: 2008), 62.

Adapted from Richard Rohr: Essential Teachings on Love, ed. Joelle Chase and Judy Traeger (Orbis Books: 2018), 30-31.

Image credit: Monhegan, Maine (detail), Nicholas Roerich, 1922, International Centre of the Roerichs Museum, Moscow, Russia.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: In the beginning was the Cosmic Blueprint (“Logos”), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. —John 1:1-5

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