As I write this blog, I don’t know what the weather will be like on January 22. Typically it’s one of the coldest days of the year, often with several feet of snow in some states. I admire the thousands of persons who travel to D.C. despite bitter cold to march for life, who witness for the worth and dignity of the unborn, who try once again after many decades to change the hearts and minds of legislators. Mary Anne Radmacher said, “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day, saying ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” To those who are in Washington today or demonstrating in nearby cities, thank you for all your effort. And by effort I mean real courage.
Author Archives: Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider
Oprah Winfrey once said, “Create the highest, grandest vision for your life because you become what you believe.” Her own life attests to her grand vision, and today we honor Martin Luther King, Jr. whose grand vision was embodied in his “I Have a Dream” speech. Much of his dream has been realized over the decades since that speech was so powerfully delivered. Much still needs to be achieved. Take five minutes today to create a grand vision for our country and world. Picture world unity, a globe pulsing with positive energy, every person creating a grand vision for his or her life. Then pray that your “I have a dream” vision will come true.
A few years ago another sister and I planted two tiny trees at Lial Renewal Center. They’re still there and taller. When we planted them I didn’t place bets on their survival, but there seems to be a chance for full growth someday. Nelson Henderson wrote, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” I doubt that I will ever sit under the shade of those two trees, and I have other doubts. In this week for Christian Unity I doubt that all Christian churches will become one in my lifetime. Yet you and I can “plant trees” of ecumenism. Do something this week to promote Christian unity. Research another Christian faith. Attend a prayer service. Join other Christians in a service project. Pray that one day we’ll all sit in the shade of God’s one love for all people
Paul Boese said, “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Who is not in need of forgiveness, and who does not need to forgive someone else? Once the hurt has occurred, nothing can change. No matter how much we’d love to change the hurt we gave to others or we have received, the hurt remains reality, our history. But those hurts do not have to affect the present or future if we forgive or are forgiven. Forgiveness brings hope for a new relationship, a chance to start again. The future is bigger with more possibilities.
Junk mail claims “You’re a winner!” until you read the catch that costs. The gospels also have a catch: “Find life! (But first deny yourself, take up your cross, and let go of life).”
In Jesus we see in human terms what it means to be God. The gospels are the story of One who came into the world (Incarnation) and loses everything (crucifixion). So where is God found? With those who lose.
Amid flash floods, earthquakes, riots, and war, people ask “Where is God?” Christians proclaim: God is on the cross. God suffers with us. God does not will or permit suffering. God’s will is simple: God wills love—all the time, and that is all. “So suffering is not an obstacle to the presence of God, suffering is one manifestation of the presence of God.” (Michael J. Himes, Doing the Truth in Love).
Himes continues: “The cross is not something that happens to Jesus, it is what Jesus has been aiming at all along.” Jesus predicts the cross all the way: the one who holds onto life loses it; the one who gives life away sees it become everlasting life.
Do I want to give myself away? I am made in the image and likeness of God who is pure self-gift. When I’m pure gift, I’m truly who I really am. If I hold on to my life, I will not have any life. But when I give my life away, it becomes everlasting life, and I’m a winner.
Balaam’s oracle prophesies the Messiah: “I behold him, though not near: A star shall advance from Jacob, and a staff shall rise from Israel” (Numbers 24). In Advent we often say that we need to bring Christ to birth. What does this mean? Evolution is birthing the Christ through a progression of unifying relationships and great complexity; that is, the whole universe is intended to become the fullness of Christ. Christ is always the future horizon of the cosmos.
Jesus is the Christ, who is the fully integrated person in whom God has revealed the Godself in the most complete way. ”In Jesus we see that the future of the universe is linked to the human community coming to full consciousness and ultimately toward evolution of spirit, from the birth of mind to the birth of the whole Christ.” How will we get there? If creation is to become transformed into God, what took place in the life of Jesus must take place in our lives as well. Jesus shows us what it means to be a human person and the way to deepen our humanity toward the fullness of life. What took place in Jesus’ life must take place in ours as well, if the fullness of Christ is to come to be. As Ilia Delio writes: “Jesus is the Christ, the climax of that long development whereby the world becomes aware of itself and comes into the direct presence of God” (69-70).
Sing about this to the melody of “Rudolph.”
Body of Christ is made from cosmic dust from ancient stars.
His cosmic earthly life is really just the same as ours.
Jesus is not the exception;
Yet there’s something very new.
In him divides are passé; unity we’re called to do.
Incarnation has emerged in our history
not because of Adam’s sin but because God’s love’s within.
Now all things are related: that’s the really best Good News.
Fullness of Christ is here now, for the Spirit is the glue.
Mary’s yes to the Angel Gabriel exploded into God’s entering our world. God had been longing to be one of us for billions of years. God loved us that much that he created a universe. At the Big Bang 14.8 billion years ago God was on his way to walk among us with two feet, two hands, two ears, and ten toes. Then when Mary said yes, this was the moment of Incarnation, God’s taking on human flesh. This was a new Big Bang! While the first Big Bang was God’s way to become one of us, this second Big Bang was to make us one with God, to make us love in the God who is Love, to make us human more complex than we are now (which will mean less physicality and more spirituality) and reach the Second Coming, that point of the fullness of life and love in God, wherein God, humanity, and all creation are one in Love.
(Sing the following to the melody of “Jingle Bells.”)
New Big Bang! New Big Bang! Mary said her yes.
In her heart the Godhead came–O womb so highly blessed!
God became one with us.
Now we’re one with God.
Universe—now linked with us toward birth of the whole Christ.
Evolution is birthing of the Christ. All relations go to great complexity.
All will one day be the fullness of the Christ.
What took place in Jesus must now take its place in us. Oh!
New Big Bang! New Big Bang! So God could give love.
Universe became so large to stretch the love of God!
God is love, so that means all evolves to Love
That’s how we are made to be the image of our God.
God created humans with a destiny toward divine plenitude. We’re evolving toward a new heaven and a new earth that Chardin calls the “Pleroma Christi.” Humans are evolving into a super-consciousness when we all will have the mind of Christ. This far surpasses a personal process as in “I gotta get to heaven.” Rather all humanity and all created matter are on the way toward the whole universe becoming part of the divine plenitude. That’s fountain fullness.
Advent is more than pulling out the crib and musing “Jesus was so cute lying in the manger.” Jesus Christ was born of Mary and he is other people (Mt. 25) and is one with the Universe. Let’s sing about this, using the melody “Frosty the Snowman.”
Mary and Joseph took a trip to Bethlehem,
Had to travel there—it was census time—but they had no place to stay.
Down to the stable soon a baby born for us.
Jesus came to show and to help us know that God brings us happiness.
It must have been God’s special love from billion eons past
That put God in the heart of all—atoms and all molecules.
Then down through all the stages—biosphere to noosphere—Christ is the one who’s present: that’s called Christogenesis!
Ebeneezer Scrooge was converted when he realized after the visitation of the three ghosts that the past, present, and future are all rolled into one. In liturgy we call that “anamnesis.” We remember the past, pray about the present, and know the potential for the future. As we look toward Christmas we remember a birth in Bethlehem, pray that God will be born in our hearts today, and realize that the fullness of the Incarnation is both coming and already here. We just haven’t experienced the fullness yet. It’s like a basketball game. If your favorite team is 20 points ahead and there’s only a minute left to play, we’re just waiting for the clock to run out. We know the victor. Similarly, we know salvation is ours, we know that the Victor is Christ, and the fullness of redemption is already here. It’s ours. We’re just waiting for the clock (the end of the world) to run out. The Cosmic Christ (also called Christ in Evolution) is the Victory.
The First Reading today (Isaiah 40:25-31) incites us to lift up our eyes and see who has created all things. He will give us strength, so keep running toward the end of the world, help bring about the fullness of redemption, and don’t grow weary. The clock is ticking.
Throughout Advent we hear “Prepare the way.” So we get busy filling in valleys, making mountains low, smoothing the rough ways. All the earth is getting ready, actually evolving to become Love, the metaphor of Christ. The Spirit who breathed upon the waters in Genesis continues to breathe over the earth. Through the Spirit Christ unites with the universe, evolving, evolving until all will be one in the fullness of the Incarnation. All is in process—all humanity and all created matter. All will one day become part of the divine plenitude in its right relationship with Love. Let’s sing about it using the melody “Angels from the Realms of Glory.”
All creation is becoming Love, the metaphor of Christ.
Incarnating evolution is the world of Christ’s Spirit.
Be a part of Christ’s own myst’ry in the Spirit’s energy.