Thursday, December 24, 2015


   While we celebrate Christmas on December 25th, Christmas is forever.  Christmas was born in eternity and extends through all space/time.

   In space/time Christmas begins 13.8 billion years ago,when Eternal, Infinite, Living LOVE creatively overflowed and birthed forth the universe.  (cf.Jn. 1:1)  Nothing can exist outside of LOVE, so LOVE filled the universe from its first moment of existence. 

   Now since only Eternity/Infinity is perfect and limitless, the space/time universe was naturally imperfect and limited.  And it immediately showed its imperfection and limitations by being chaotic. (Gen. 1:2)  Happily, LOVE was not only CREATIVE LOVE, but also HEALING LOVE.  So from within the universe, LOVE began to soothe the chaos with healing peace.  Chaotic energy particles calmed down and joined together to form atoms.  Atoms released their photons and light appeared in the universe. (Gen. 1:3)

   To complete the picture, LOVE was also WORLD BUILDING LOVE.  And so the universe, energized by LOVE's vital presence, continued to evolve until it shone forth with galaxies and planets.

   The presence of LOVE within the newly created universe made the universe a loving union of Divinity and nature.  The (masculine dominant) Hebrews described this union as LOVE's anointing the universe with His presence, using "his" to say that LOVE was living, conscious LOVE.  The universe became the "anointed one." In Hebrew, the word for "anointed one" is Messiah.  In Greek, it is Christos; in Latin, Christus; in English, Christ.  The divinely anointed and filled universe is the Christ-ed universe; it is the Cosmic Christ Reality.  In the fullness of time, the Cosmic Christ Reality would fill Jesus and give him his unique identity.

   About five billion years ago, the evolving universe gave birth to a planet that came to be called Earth.  LOVE, of course, was present within Earth from the beginning, making Earth LOVE's image and Earth's own particular expression of the Cosmic Christ Reality.  With LOVE within her, Earth evolved until she brought forth living creatures and finally, the human community.  And LOVE endowed the human community with creative, healing and world building and evolving power--and responsibility--to move the world forward toward ever greater wholeness in love.  As Earth and the human community evolved, the earthly part of the Cosmic Christ Reality evolved.  And the ever developing Christmas Story evolved.

   The human community, alive with LOVE's presence, continued what they had learned from their pre-human ancestors and hunted, built fires, gathered into groups and families, respected the dead, etc.  As they evolved, they became aware of their own human love within and among themselves.  And then, with LOVE's Self-revealing help, they awoke to Eternal/Infinite LOVE's reality and presence within the earth and themselves. And they sang praises to LOVE and worshiped LOVE.

   But being naturally imperfect, humans also fought among themselves, stole from one another and killed one another, distorting themselves as the image and likeness of LOVE.  And they began to appeal to LOVE for help.

   LOVE chose the Hebrew people to be LOVE's special messengers to the world.  With LOVE's help, their understanding of LOVE very quickly reached the highest point of human spiritual insight.  In Moses' experience at the burning bush (cf. Exod. 3) the Hebrews came to realize that LOVE is not this or that deity, but YAHWEH, the ONE WHO IS IS, REALITY HIM/HERSELF.  LOVE and REALITY are the same divine Being, the same, living, conscious One.  As images of REALITY/LOVE we learn that to be real is to love; to love is to be real.  To not love is to step out of reality into falsity, ugliness and utter absurdity.  The Christmas Story took on clearer meaning.

   Being concrete, poetic minded people, the Hebrews presented LOVE to the world in terms of stories and poems.  With their masculine bent, they told of a man, a weak woman and a snake in a garden; and of an angry LOVE flooding the world but then paternally deciding not to destroy His creation; and, in very every-day fashion, of a man bargaining with LOVE so He won't destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.  They also saw LOVE in terms of their political kingdom, and as the General of the Armies (Lord of Hosts).  And they mistakenly got lost so deeply in their violent culture as to believe that LOVE wanted them to utterly destroy the people, animals and crops of their defeated enemies.  (Today's Televangelists, who don't understand Christmas, speak often of this avenging God, damaging their fearful listeners' spirituality.)

   Little by little, with LOVE's help, the Hebrews' relationship with LOVE grew and matured, and so did their understanding of LOVE.  They wrote psalms to praise LOVE, e.g., as a Good Shepherd. And they began to look forward to LOVE being personally with them, Emmanuel, in the form of a political savior who would create for them a peaceable kingdom in which the lion would lie down with the lamb.  In time, their savior took on the form of a military man who would save them from their enemies, including, 2000 years ago, the brutal, occupying Romans.  

   At this time, a man was born, named Jesus, who became an itinerant preacher and teacher--one of many in their land.  But this man and his message were different.  While others preached repentance and fear of judgment, he preached love, universal, global love, not only of neighbors but also of enemies.  He healed sick people, forgave sins, and called everyone to be as lovingly innocent as children.  He openly called the political/religious leaders hypocrites for lording it over the people instead of showing care and love for them. He showed special love for the poor, whom the leaders were oppressing.  He blessed the poor, the sick, the peace-makers, the pure of heart, and those who suffer for righteousness' sake, promising them entry into the Kingdom of God, which he constantly preached.  He spoke of mercy and forgiveness.  And he constantly reminded his followers to love one another.  At times, he even referred to himself in a way that made himself equal to LOVE.

  He became unbearable to the spiritually confused and fearful leaders.  So they arranged for the Romans to kill him.  For three agonizing hours he hung, nailed to a cross, between two thieves, until he died.

   Almost immediately after Jesus died, his terrified followers experienced an astounding awakening.  They saw Jesus, not only as a man who preached love and peace to them, but beyond all natural understanding, they recognized that he was actually and truly LOVE in human form.  They saw their crucified brother, friend and teacher, risen up as the Center of the entire, LOVE filled, Christ-ed universe.  They saw him, though born and raised in humble circumstances, to be the personal fulfillment of the entire creation story.  He personally was the Cosmic Christ Reality. In himself he gathered up the entire Cosmic Christ Reality that came into being at the moment of the universe's creation and that will extend all the way to the end of Earth and the end of the universe itself.  

   Christmas celebrates Jesus' coming into the world as the Divine-Human, personal fulfillment of the entire universe.  Jesus is truly the meaning of all creation.  He is LOVE, who holds all creation together.  (Cf. 1 Col. 1:17)  This is the wondrous Child who was born on Christmas day.  This is the birth that moved the angels to sing of Glory to God and peace and good will on earth.

P.S.  What to us is the most magnificent story ever told, is to our Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters a stumbling block.  And to our agnostic and atheist brothers and sisters, it is foolish.  Yet in a very important way, our differences don't have to separate us.  In true reality and love, we can all live together in peace, good will and love, and work together to bring more peace, good will and love into our world, and move the world forward toward wholeness in love.  This too is part of the Christmas Story.





Thursday, December 10, 2015


   I believe it is self-delusional to say that America today is a great country.  Yes, millions of Americans are living good, decent lives.  I write of today's power-brokers, those who have the power to shape American society for all our people. And sadly, I write of those Americans who have fallen prey to the power brokers.

   America was founded on a great idea, or better, ideal, that needed to be developed throughout time.  Our founders proposed that regardless of race or religion, all men are created equal and endowed with the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  We were to be governed by no king or queen, by no official religion.  As President Lincoln later clarified, we were to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

   The American ideal aimed at fostering an ever evolving "more perfect" union, a basic, underlying oneness that was to animate and unite all our social, educational, political, religious, economic, etc., endeavors, while guaranteeing freedom and opportunity for all.  The basic, underlying culture upon which our ever more perfect union was to stand and operate was to be especially marked by strong families, strong churches, and a strong commitment to public service.  In sum, our ideal of national unity was to give rise to a luminously human common bond, a union within which our American diversity and individuality could develop and be celebrated.

   In our Catholic point of view, the American ideal of freedom-in-unity could clearly help foster the ever developing Kingdom of God on Earth, the reign of justice, peace, respect, joy of life, gratitude and love that Jesus prayer for.

   I recently read that in every community, whether it be political, religious, corporate, educational, etc., culture accounts for 75% of the community's life, while strategy, i.e., policies and actions, account for the other 25%.  The everyday policies and actions (and reactions) that we create and carry out in our society must therefore take into serious account the underlying culture within which they occur.      

   For example, America started out within a culture of freedom and unity that yet accepted the deeply serious flaw of sexism and the inhuman flaw of slavery.  It took the actions of abolitionists and a horrific civil war to overcome the dehumanizing policies and actions of slavery.  Yet, even today, the rot of racism keeps coming out from the back woods of the American psyche, and a good amount of sexism still prevails. We can also add to our culture the dank feature of military-industrial aggressiveness.

   So if we want to judge if America is a great country, we must first take a look at the culture within which we carry on our daily public and private lives today.  Sadly, I believe it is easy to see that today, America's culture is corrupt.  In fact, we have no underlying culture of oneness or unity--and therefore no operative culture for true greatness.  

   We know the flaws all too well.  Dangerously self-serving, small-minded political leaders have blinded themselves to the common good they are supposed to serve.  Far too many of them see the common good in terms of their corporate sponsored reelection, which is all but guaranteed thanks to gerrymandering and fear-mongering.  Too many corporate executives, obsessed with maximizing profits, have blinded themselves to their essential human/spiritual responsibility to provide fair wages that permit workers to live a decent American life on a non-polluted earth.  Too many of our schools and universities have blinded themselves to a fully human and humanizing education, as they present a mechanistic curriculum that fractures education (and students) into isolated specialties that don't relate to one another.  While our religious institutions become more meaningless to more Americans, some reach out to strengthen themselves by trying to gain political power, while others, e.g., our Catholic bishops, simply repeat worn-out condemnations with disregard to Pope Francis' plea to show the world the true God who is merciful.

   ISIS is not our greatest enemy today.  Our greatest enemy is our own plundering of our American greatness.  Lacking a culture of unity, panicked citizens flay about, trying to find meaning in ever more lethal guns and in the false security of fearful anger and hatred spewed by TV and talk show demagogues.  Could our ever more bitter isolation from one another be part of the reason why our young people are killing one another?

   A wise man once said, "If you don't stop and turn around, you're going to get to where you're going."  We have gotten to a place from which we need to turn around and redirect our lives.  The spiritual word for "turn around and redirect our lives" is "conversion."

   We must turn around and convert to the point where, for example we learn to see even the members of ISIS as our brothers and sisters.  Yes, their movement must be stopped and yes, things have gone so far that we may have to kill all of them.  But if we don't see them as our brothers and sisters under God, our common Father, if we see ourselves as totally separate from them, then killing them will solve nothing.  The destructive idea of separation that infects ISIS will still remain in us.  

   America will not be great again until we find the policies and actions that will build a new, underlying culture of caring oneness and unity--among ourselves and all people of earth, and with the earth herself.  One way to do this is as simple as it is difficult.  First, all Americans, of whatever social or economic status, must STOP! what we're now doing and take a good look at who we really are.  We are Americans who are also citizens of our one world, a world of all races, religions, and people of no religion.  We share our world respectfully with all our brothers and sisters, especially the poor, sick, vulnerable and outcast, all of whom are fully worthy of total human respect.  

   Then, Americans in every area of our society must work seriously, alone and in groups, to discern how to re-humanize the field they are involved in and therefore know well. (This includes looking anew at their own family and community.) Then, all Americans must take what they have clearly discerned along with trusted others, and use it to act prophetically to elevate their field, and where necessary, peacefully and lovingly correct it by making it more luminously human.  

   A newspaper recently printed the headline, "God is Not Going to Fix This."  The headline was partially correct.  The creative, healing and world transforming grace of Christ, that empowers us and makes us responsible to bring back our true American greatness and serve the whole world as we should, is already with and within us.  God has already done his/her part to fix this. 

   Christ is our Way, Truth and Life.  Let us be "on our way", on Christ's way to the truth and life of our beloved country.  How far we get is up to God; the point is that we walk in the right direction.