Saturday, December 16, 2017


   Christmas, of course, is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, 2000 years ago.  But if we are to understand and appreciate the wonder that is Christmas, we must also celebrate the birth of Christ, who was born 13.8 billion years ago.  For at Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Christ.

   Genesis tells us that at the beginning of creation the universe was in a state of chaos.  And then "a mighty wind swept over the waters," bringing calm and order to the chaos.  (Gen. 1:1-2).  We understand the mighty wind to be the Spirit of God.  From the first moment of creation, God was present in the universe.

    In the Hebrew mentality in which Genesis was written, we could say that God became present in the universe by anointing it.  The universe became "the anointed one."  The Hebrew name for "the anointed one" is Messiah.  The English translation of "Messiah" is Christ, or the Christ Reality.  The universe with God present in it is the Christ Reality.

    The Christ Reality, or simply, Christ, was born 13.8 billion years ago along with the creation of the universe.  God's living, conscious, intelligent, self-giving loving presence in the world/universe makes the world/universe the Christ Reality. 

   Christ is all in all.  (Col. 3:11).  Every galaxy, star, planet, all water, soil, rock, insect, plant, bird, animal and person lives in the God-present, Christ-ed universe.  God is present in everything and everyone.  Theologian-scientist Teilhard de Chardin said that we live in, "The Divine Milieu." 

   Note:  God's universal presence in the universe is not Pantheism, which makes the universe God.  It is panentheism:  God is present in the entire universe, which makes the universe the Christ Reality. 

   "Unto you is born a Savior who is Christ the Lord."  (Cf. Lk. 2:11).  When Jesus was born
2000 years ago, the Christ that he was, was already 13.8 billion years old.  The amazing, joyful wonder of Christmas is that Jesus was the living, conscious, intelligent, loving, universal Christ Reality in the form of a first century, Jewish man.

   The word, "Catholic" means "universal."  Our Catholic faith in Jesus the Christ opens us beyond the Jewish faith to a global, universal faith, from within which we look back to the Jews as our beloved elder brothers and sisters in faith.  

   Jesus the Christ moves us through the dualistic thinking that occurs naturally to us, e.g., I am me and not you.  I am White and not Black, or Brown, or Yellow.  I am a Catholic, not a Protestant, or Jew, or Muslim, or Hindu, etc., to unitive thinking that arises from a global, universal faith.  In and through Jesus, the Christ, we open our consciousness to embrace the entire world in love.  "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:28).  Christ is all in all. (Col. 3:11). 

   Also, as Jesus did, we turn believing into acting, and we reach out, as effectively as we can, to all other in love.   

   Being the global, universal Christ, Jesus knows no boundaries or restrictions of love for the world and everything and everyone in it.  So as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Christ, we should make a new effort to open our eyes, minds and hearts and extend ourselves in good will and love to everything and  everyone, without exception.

   We are not naive.  We know that some people will reject us.  Some will hate us and even want to kill us.  Nevertheless, we should offer to join with everyone of good will, whether people of faith or of no faith, to work together to build up the Reign of Love in the world, especially in the form of order, justice, peace, joy of life, and gratitude, and with a special option for the poor, sick, vulnerable and outcastThis year we can especially note that the political and corporate culture contradicts Christmas very deeply.

    As we gather up love of all others in Jesus the Christ, we offer that love to God, The Father, through Christ, in the Spirit of joyful gratitude and worship.  With Christ and through him we joyfully proclaim, "Peace on earth, good will to all."

   And to all, a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!



Sunday, December 3, 2017


   In this Advent season, as we anticipate celebrating the birth of Jesus, a new wave of spiritual darkness has invaded our country.  

   The Senate just passed a Tax Cut that is going to do great harm to the poor and sick of our country.  The House will no doubt follow through with their own votes.  If there was ever an example of something that clearly and totally contradicts the joy of Jesus' birth, this is it.

   And yet, Franciscan spiritual writer, Richard Rohr, is writing of a newly emerging spirit of Christianity.  I see it too and it encourages me.  But first, let's understand the depth and thickness of the darkness we now face.

   The senators who voted for this Tax Cut are driven with the need to pass some kind of legislation, any kind, to show that they can govern.  Any spiritual adult knows that they are not capable of governing.  The proof of their incompetence shows in that the bill will serve only the super-rich to the detriment of the majority of people.  Many will suffer.  For example, doctors who treat cancer patients came to Washington to tell the senators that there will be less money for them to treat their patients.  In the face of such looming suffering, the doctors' plea fell on hardened ears.

   These same senators have constantly demanded that every tax cut has to be matched by some cut in service or new revenue, so that national debt, whose greatness they routinely condemn, will not rise.  Yet they voted to raise the national debt by one trillion dollars.  That's the figure their own accountants gave them!

   Many senators say that they are Christians.  Then how could they not see what they have just done?  Sadly, the answer to my question is easy.  The senate is one example of the very serious breakdown of Christianity in our government and in our country.  To understand the breakdown of Christianity, I look to my fellow Christians who are Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, and to fellow Catholics who are woefully malformed in understanding our faith. With such Christian darkness in our land, our politicians have degraded themselves to the level where they are acting on the basest of motives.

   And in the White House the very notion of Christianity and sanity has disappeared along with the notion of governing.  We are faced with an autocratic, narcissistic president who daily shows that he understands absolutely nothing about being president.  And as the pressure is mounting that he might be exposed as having been involved in criminal activity, he slides in and out of psychosis, as we see in the wild rants he tweets daily.  

   There is no need to diagnose him personally; his public behavior is more than sufficient for any mental health professional to see the truth of his condition.  He has become dangerous even to the point of bringing us close to nuclear war.

   And yet in all this darkness, Rohr sees a new birth of Christianity coming.  As I said, I agree with him.  In fact, this blog is one way that I look to contribute to the new birth.  It is rising especially within Christians who have put away the old institutional notion of church, and who are working to create a new, loving Christianity in the everyday world, in communion with all people of good will.

   I highly recommend that you log on to Richard Rohr's Daily Meditations.  Yesterday, for example, he outlined the way we can process our pain and frustration with the institutional and inherited forms of church.  He tells us to manage our idealism.  As I have written often in this blog, neither the church nor Christianity itself will ever be perfect here in space/time. We are building the Kingdom of God on earth; it will never be completely built here but will be complete only in eternity.  

   Also, we can't do everything.  Yes, we can and should vote to put more spiritually alive and responsible people in our government.  And we can and should work to heal our society from the curses of racism, poverty, sexism, and all forms of ignorance and hatred.  We do all this by being directly influential within any group we can be, e.g., our family, our friends, our workplace, our voting, etc.  For example, a good friend, after retiring from a career in Catholic education, is now engaged in what he calls, "The ministry of speaking up."  This past year he has written thirty-one relevant an substantial letters to the editor of a Philadelphia newspaper.  They have printed nine of them.

   We should celebrate our victories, large or small, with humility and with praise and thanksgiving to the Spirit of Christ, in whom we live and breathe.

   Yes, today's darkness is deep and cruel.  We are not naive; we do not deny it.  At the same time, we can and do look forward to the star that will shine in the heavens this Christmas.  We will experience renewed life in the peace and good will of Christ.  So in the darkness, we say anew, "Come, Lord Jesus."   


Tuesday, October 17, 2017


   America is in clear and present danger.  President Trump has repeatedly shown himself to be severely and dangerously unqualified to be president.  He is dangerous even to the point of flirting with nuclear war.  He has put not only America but the whole world in danger.

   At a moment in history that calls for profiles in courage, most of the majority Republican legislators are showing themselves to be political and spiritual cowards who are doing nothing but thinking of their own reelection.  Thanks to gerrymandering they will be reelected and then continue to do nothing because they have nothing positive to offer the American people. The minority Democrats are simply ignored.

   There is no political solution presently available to save us from possibly destroying our country and maybe even the world.

   There could be a spiritual solution.  A majority of Americans who identify themselves as Christians can speak up with one voice and denounce the obscene insanity that is now afflicting us and fight for justice, peace and love for all Americans and for the world.  What are the chances of this happening?  Right now, little to none.

   Many politically active Republican Christians attend meetings and rallies where they loudly proclaim that Donald Trump is "Making America Great Again!" They are mostly White and their idea of making America great again means regaining the political and cultural power that they say has been unjustly taken from them by African Americans, Hispanic immigrants and homosexuals.  To these Christians, a great America is a White, heterosexual America.  Many arm themselves and say they are ready to fight a shooting war against any form of government they oppose.  There is a terrible shortage of Christianity here.

   Many Catholics, laity, clergy and bishops, voted for Trump to ensure that there would be a Supreme Court judge who would vote to revoke Roe vs. Wade and make abortion illegal.  Unable to prevent their fellow Catholics from having abortions, they voted to do politically what they cannot do spiritually.   

   Today, our culture is marked by a cult of individuality in which others are seen as competitors or even enemies.  Our Catholic faith should move us to oppose disunity and  reach out to all people as our beloved brothers and sisters, without exception.  Christians are supposed to humanize our politics and make them work for people of all faiths and of no faith.  But too many Christians let politics dehumanize them and distort their faith.  

   Needy children will now get less food.  Millions of Americans will now lose their Health Care.  Our society is becoming more crude and debased.  And we are flirting with the obscenity of nuclear war.  The Ten Commandments are lost and the Beatitudes are out of sight.

   There is a shortage of Christianity in America today.  But it doesn't have to be so.  Will enough Christians learn to rise up and start working to correct their terrible error of spiritual discernment and judgment and start working hard to put America back on the right path of justice, peace and love for all?  An anxious world awaits the answer.     



Tuesday, August 29, 2017


   The violence of Hurricane Harvey is both natural and human.  

    From its very beginning, creation has been marked by natural violence.  The universe was born in violence when the initial energy dot expanded/exploded to begin forming space/time.

   Earth itself was born in violence.  Four and a half billion years ago a star died and exploded.  The debris flew out into space and there it mixed with cosmic dust and then came back together again to form our sun and solar system, with Earth being the third planet out from the newborn sun.  

   From the beginning, earth was a hot violent place.  Great pressure pushed mountains up toward the sky, earthquakes shook the earth and reshaped it, and floods covered the land and then receded, leaving the land more fertile.  Evolution advanced when living things began to eat other living things.  In time, animals ate other animals.  All this happened long before humans and sin came to earth.

   When we humans arrived, evolution became conscious of itself and responsible for itself, within human possibilities and restrictions.  We alone are gifted with reason and faith, so we have the power and responsibility to avoid violence and build peace.

   Unhappily though, some humans will add their own form of violence to the natural calamity that is Harvey.  Some "religious" people will no doubt proclaim that this devastation was caused by homosexuals, or maybe by transgendered people, or maybe even by immigrants, or by God only knows whom else they don't like.  What a horrible, violent expression of Christianity!

   Writer Ann Coulter, who I believe knows better, just said that she would prefer to blame the hurricane on the fact that the past mayor of Houston is a lesbian, rather than on climate change.  Good old American capitalism!  Anything for more profit!

   Actually, it is very possible that global warming could have made the hurricane more intense.  The politicians and corporate executives who deny global warning for their own personal gain or profit should take note.  I urge them to take a good hard look at the people who are suffering so greatly.    

    Let us all take a good look at the people who are suffering.  I just sent a donation to the Red Cross to help the victims of the hurricane.  I sincerely recommend that you do the same thing.  We are one people, one family, one world.


Saturday, August 19, 2017


   At first, as I watched the horrific ugliness in Charlottesville, VA, I felt angry.  "These stupid thugs!"  I exclaimed.  "Don't they have anything better to do than join idiotic causes and mindlessly chant expressions of hatred and untold suffering?"

   Then I learned that many of them have good jobs and are thereby contributing to society.  And I felt sad.  My God!  How can these beautiful young men, with so many gifts and so much promise in them, turn so ugly?  What has gone so wrong in their young lives?

   Finally, I realized that these young men are part of a society and culture that lives in the back woods of the American psyche.  I paused and looked into those woods.  And I felt fear.  Fear for these young men.  Fear for their victims.  Fear for our country.

   Deep in that human darkness;, the "Superior Christian White Man" still reigns supreme, as he did when he owned slaves on his plantation.  Uneasy, he has to find ways to confirm his White supremacy.  To begin with, he refuses to concede defeat in the Civil War, and is waiting for the South to rise again.  He certainly does not consider Blacks to be his equal in any way.  Very importantly, in the 1930's he found a modern "savior" for the White race in Adolph Hitler's notion of the White Superman with a demonic hatred for Jews and other "inferior" people.

   As an offspring of the back woods of the American psyche, the "Superior Christian White Man" is an angry, hateful child in an adult's body.  So, for example, he is big enough to  wield a heavy club or drive a car into a crowd.  Yet, he is small.  He stands for nothing real or positive.  He confounds reason and lives in dark human, spiritual emptiness.   He must be told by spiritual adults, "When you act hatefully, there is no humanity in you."

   Often encouraged and "inspired" by badly educated, disoriented preachers, he shows his allegiance to his Christian God by chanting hatred toward people of color, Jews, and all who are different from him.  He and his misguiding pastors must be told by spiritually adult Christians, "There is no Christ in your Christianity!"

   The "Superior Christian White Man" is a living example of someone who has fallen into evil.  Evil is not the opposite of good; it is the absence of good that should be presence in any given society, culture or situation.  In the back woods of the American psyche, human development has been arrested.  Educational and social evolution is stymied. Where such human emptiness abounds, prejudice and hatred fill the vacuum.

   I wonder:  do these beautiful young men know that 600,000 lives were lost in the Civil War so that America would not be an inhuman country that enslaved our fellow humans?  Do they know that almost 400,000 Americans died defeating Nazism, whose hateful slogan they chant over and over again?  Do they know what the Holocaust really did to millions of fellow human beings?  Do they know the horribly violent history of the KKK?  And if they know, do they care? And if they know and don't care, then what happened to them when they were younger?  Certainly, they were deprived of the normal, loving human education and upbringing that they deserved.

   These beautiful young people, with galaxies of possibilities for good living withing them, must somehow be stopped in their tracks, taken up and lovingly re-formed into the human persons God intends them to be.  We owe this both to them and to ourselves and our country.

   The back woods of the American psyche does not exist only in the southern United States.  It exists throughout our country, among men and women, and tragically, in our President, who is a hopelessly empty man.  He understands nothing and cares about  no one and nothing but himself.  And he surrounds himself with a whirlwind of aggressive confusion to ensure that he remains empty of understanding and of caring for others.  

   We live in an especially dangerous and fearful time.  America is under attack from without and particularly from within.  Some politicians are putting their self-interests aside and are beginning to openly question the President's ability to govern.  We must encourage more of them to do so.  And we must speak up every time we get the opportunity, and demand a better educated, more just, more united, peaceful and loving country.      



Sunday, August 6, 2017


   Against strong opposition, Pope Francis is working to change the church.  In the past half century, Vatican II's aggiornamento, "coming up to date," was stymied by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. During their papacy, the church fell further behind the times.  

   So Francis inherited a church that is still operating according to rules and laws that reflect the structure of the Roman Empire with its Emperor and Senators, instead of the 21st century people of the eternally living Jesus Christ--people who can discern God's presence and intentions for today's world and put God's intentions to work in and for our society and culture.

   Instead of moving forward since 1965, the church has deteriorated and has fallen further behind the times.  Most American bishops have worked to keep the Imperial structure of the church intact, along with their imperial authority.  With a few beautiful exceptions, like the pastoral leadership of Cardinal Cupich of Chicago, for the Catholic people in general, theology and spirituality are at a deadening standstill. Our everyday society and culture have fallen to new social and political depths.  In response, literally millions of "up to date" American Catholics have simply walked away from the church.

   One bright spot in this dismal history is the influx of Hispanics into the church, with their beautiful traditional devotions and spirit of life.  But as our Hispanic brothers and sisters become more "Americanized" and take on the values of today's society and culture, their traditions will fade as did those of other ethnic group.

   In a frightening development, many Catholics who identify themselves as "Conservatives," have tied themselves to other Conservative Christians who are literal fundamentalists, e.g., who believe in the six days of creation and deny evolution, and believe in Noah and the flood, etc.  Such literalism sucks the life and Spirit out of our Catholic faith and makes religion look foolish to today's truly educated people.

   Also, many Catholics have identified themselves with today's deeply polarized politics, most especially on the side of the Republican party.  They have actually identified themselves in terms of one political party, i.e., "We are Conservative Catholic Republicans." 

   They say this in a way that makes being conservative and Republican the same as being a Catholic.  And some even go so far as to consider America to be a theocracy, which they mistake for Jesus' idea of the Kingdom of God on Earth.  While we certainly should be involved in our politics for the sake of building up the Kingdom of God on earth, we should never identify any political party or any institution of our society with the Kingdom of God on Earth.  

   Of course, Jesus was human and was involved in the politics of his day.  With his Christ consciousness, he despised the brutal Roman occupation of Israel, and often sharply criticizing the political leaders of his Jewish society.  Using our own Christ consciousness we can and should work to give politics, (as well as business, education, health care, labor, etc.,) the ever growing fullness of meaning that they could not possibly have on their own.  

    Christ offers the world a graced, luminous humanity which both shows us the imperfection of our society's institutions and gives us the spiritual strength to get involved in our institutions, including the church, and help move them ever more forward toward their intended fullness of life.  The universal, global Christ alone is the Savior of the world.  And the universal, global Christ is the heart of Francis's revolution.

   As I said, Francis is facing strong opposition, from the Catholics who are identifying with a certain brand of politics, to bishops who continue to live and act in a monarchical church whose  structure is collapsing all around them, to the negative influence of ex-Pope Benedict XVI's presence in the Vatican.

   For our part we can follow Francis's lead and continue to develop and deepen our own universal, global, all-embracing and loving Christ consciousness of one luminously alive humanity of fully respected and loved brothers and sisters.  And we can work to bring our politics and all the institutions of our society to ever greater life, and do all that we can to help make our blessed Christ vision became an ever greater, ever more living reality in the world.



Friday, July 7, 2017


   Until the early 20th century, almost all scientists saw the universe as a giant machine, evolving mindlessly through history.  They saw themselves (and all others) as standing outside the machine observing its movements and laws.  Galaxies, planets, mountains, plants, animals, and people operated according to laws that could be understood and expressed in terms of mathematics.

   Today, we see that their consciousness was shallow.  While their discoveries provided all kinds of technological wonders to the world, their shallow consciousness also helped turn the world's view away from what is not material, i.e., spiritual.  In Europe and North America, science began to openly replace religion in our ongoing search for who we are and what we mean.

   Thankfully, today's scientists are discovering not just the universe itself but the conscious, thinking people who are observing the universe and living in it.  This is leading them to study the spiritual dimension of the universe, in terms of consciousness.  And they are going deep:  they are paying attention not only to the consciousness of animals and humans but to the consciousness of the universe itself.   

   In the last century, Einstein said there is a super-human intelligence that is directing the universe and its evolution--a universal, cosmic intelligence, or conscious "mind" that is beyond all material consideration.  All good scientists, he said, should be moved to awe and wonder at contemplating this intelligent consciousness.  This is not God, he pointed out.  It is the intelligent consciousness of the universe itself.  The universe itself is conscious and intelligent!

   The great scientist opened the most promising way to the reconciliation of science and faith since the two had separated in the late 1600's, with the Enlightenment and the birth of modern science.  At the time, science went its own way, and religion went its own way.  Today, universal consciousness forms a link between religion, most especially Spirituality, and science, that is pregnant with galaxies of possibilities for the evolution of humanity.  It is a vital way toward developing a 21st century spirituality that is not "religious."

    To begin with, consciousness is a sign of life.  By its very nature, it is living consciousness.  There can be no such thing as dead consciousness.  Living consciousness, therefore, helps us understand where life came from.  Like consciousness itself, life was there at the very beginning of the universe, preparing to express itself.  
   Living consciousness is the basic energy of the universe.  It has guided evolution, calling it forward, from the very beginning of the universe.  So it seems reasonable to say that it had to be present even before evolution started.  It was present in the energy "dot" that first appeared 13.8 billion years ago.  Being immaterial, the "dot" had no space/time dimensions itself but expanded in a "Big Bang" into the form of space and time.

   Every galaxy, every star and planet, every mountain, ocean, plant, flower and human person and community, is a space/time expression of not-space/time, living conscious energy.  This is the awe and wonder of the deep consciousness that today's science is presenting to us, and that spiritual theologians are greeting with great joy and anticipation. Science and faith can now be reconciled at the point of deep, living consciousness.

   In the early 20th century, many scientists proudly proclaimed that there soon would be nothing new to learn about the universe.  Today's scientists humbly say that a full scientific understanding of the universe and of universal life and consciousness is out of their reach.  As one scientist said, "If you think you understand quantum physics, you don't understand it."  And now they are contemplating the possibility of an infinite number of universes!  The universe is truly ultimately beyond all human understanding. 

   Theologians say that the universe is Mystery, (capital "M").  Mystery is not ignorance, such as in a murder mystery.  It is reality that is so great that the more we understand of it, the more there will always be to understand, forever.  Both science and faith work with their own expression of Mystery/mystery.  What scientists say about the never ending understanding of the universe, theologians say about our never ending understanding of God.  What science sees as the energy that makes up and powers the universe, faith sees as Living Grace, the impact of God's presence in the universe, which makes the universe the living, Christ Reality.  (See, "A New Creation Story" in this Blog.)

   Today's all important reconciliation of faith and science requires a 21st century understanding of God.  God is no longer the fearful Old Testament judge who sends floods to punish us because of our sins.  Nor is God a deranged Father who sends his Son to be murdered.  Nor the medieval old man with the beard flying through the sky.  Nor the father who comes home from work and fixes things that the children broke.  Or should fix things but doesn't fix them.  "How can an almighty God permit war?  How can a loving God permit children to suffer?"  Questions like this show a spiritually immature understanding of God that a 21st Century Christian can no longer believe in.  Today's Jewish Biblical scholars will agree. 

   A 21st century understanding of God, taken from science, sees God in terms of living consciousness.  Spiritually, this same understanding came from an insight that is 3000 years old, when Moses learned the fantastic Truth given to him at the burning bush.  (Exod. 3:14).  "I am not some person who lives up in heaven.  I am all present.  I don't just exist; I am EXISTENCE ITSELF, REALITY ITSELF.  I am not just alive, I am LIFE ITSELF.  I am not just conscious, I am CONSCIOUSNESS ITSELF.  I don't just love, I am LOVE ITSELF." 

   "You exist because I am EXISTENCE. You are real because I am REALITY.  You are alive because I am LIFE.  You are conscious because I am CONSCIOUSNESS.  You love because I am LOVE.  When you search into yourself, into science, the arts, politics, business, education, health care, etc., etc., you are searching ultimately for Me.  I am there, waiting for you and helping you find yourself, and Me in yourself."

   This is the deep consciousness of our faith today, which science has helped us to reach.  Actually, science alone cannot account for the Mystery of existence and love in the universe.  The arts come closer.  Love comes even closer.  "The heart has reason that reason cannot know."  (Blaise Pascal)

    In today's angry, even hateful, polarized, shallow and noisy culture, deep consciousness is being sought for by an increasing number of people, especially the young.  But it can seem impossible to attain.  Today's science, politics, business, education and religion can be impediments to our search.  We must understand that deep consciousness is already present within us.  It must be attained because it holds the answers to the injustices and suffering we are inflicting upon ourselves.  We can attain it, for example, by taking some time daily to think about it and meditate on it.  (See, "Prayer, Meditation and Contemplation,: in this Blog.)  And we can attain it by acting here and now, in our own way, to help bring justice, peace and love, especially to the poor, sick, vulnerable and outcast, as Jesus did on a daily basis.

   As we achieve deep consciousness we find the "still point of the turning world," (T. S. Eliot) i.e., the center of the world and ourselves, where God touches us silently and deeply.  From here we move outward in love with every greater love, truth and simplicity.  We love without conditions or ambiguity.  A dear friend of mine has a bumper sticker on his car that says, "Live simply so that others may simply live."  Simplicity is clear, clean truth and love.  It is a wonderful fruit of deep consciousness.     






Wednesday, May 10, 2017


   A vision is our world-view, the view we get from our window and from our imagination and mind. 

 Our new spiritual vision calls for us to see deeply, mystically.  To see mystically is to  see with the eyes of faith.  Each of us is an everyday mystic.

   Here's one way to see mystically.  Look at yourself and your surroundings.  See your computer or I-Pad, your desk, the room you're in.  Then look at the scene from your window.  See your immediate surroundings.  Now imagine a panoramic view of people, cities, fields, mountains, trees, plants and flowers, animals, rivers, bridges, oceans and sky.  Imagine the entire swirling universe.

   Keep looking at them and see a light begin to glow within them.  See the light brighten, grow strong and vibrant.  See the light glowing in everyone and everything, making them look sharper, clearer, more true and vibrant.  Understand that you are seeing the whole world aglow with the inner presence of LOVE, which, as I noted above, makes the whole world/universe the global/universal Christ, i.e., the entire divine-love filled world/universe.  This understanding adds contemporary meaning to one of St. Paul's favorite expressions, i.e., that we live in Christ.

   Now look within yourself and see the education, talents, interests and opportunities--big or small--that you have and that you can use to help others brighten the light within themselves, ourselves and others, and where necessary, correct ourselves, themselves and others in the humble love of Christ's grace, so that all can move forward toward our divinely intended fulfillment of wholeness in love.  

   Very importantly, we must not only see and understand what we are doing, we must deeply and genuinely care about what we are doing.  And we must show that we deeply and genuinely care.  People will respond more easily and deeply to our caring than to our ideas and understanding.

   Is all this too far fetched?  Too utopian?  With the way things are these days, we can easily believe that the odds against our making any progress are just too great.

   In response, may I make bold to speak for Jesus.  "I lived in a country that was occupied by the brutally cruel Romans.  Among my own people, the rich oppressed the poor.  I healed the sick, blessed the poor and preached love for everyone.  My own political/religious leaders were jealous of their power and fought me at every opportunity.  In the end I was arrested and illegally tried and executed.  

   Despite all that, I give you the vision and reality of ever-flowing resurrection.  The presence and energy of my Spirit in you empowers you to do the things I did and even greater things than I did.  (Cf. Jn. l4:12). I have given you eyes to see the suffering of this world.  I have given you a heart to feel and ears to hear the cries of people who need you. I have given you the Spirit to know how to work against the odds to move the world forward toward its fulfillment of wholeness in love.  I have given you a heart to care. 

   See that my Kingdom of Love is within you and within all whom you will touch.  Go forward and help to build it. Work hard and be patient.  I am always with you."

   Was Jesus naive?  Utopian?

  Now look out your window again.  Look at your room.  Look at yourself.  Is the global Christ naive?  Utopian?....    




Thursday, April 13, 2017


  I wrote Part 1 first and it has now moved below this part.  And I don't know how or if I can flip it up before this entry.  So please check Blog Archive on the right side of this page for 
 A New Spiritual Vision, Part 1

   Our new vision depends on the facts and the truth.  For example, in politics, the fact is that House Speaker Paul Ryan said his version of the Health Care bill would guarantee that everyone had access to health care.  But the truth is that his version of "access" means that not every American would actually have health care.  So he was playing with words.  Further, the truth is that the government has an obligation to ensure that everyone has health care.  This is not "socialism."  The government's obligation to provide healthcare for all is one of "justice for all."

   Someone may ask, "How are you so sure what the truth is?"  I respond that in this case I know the truth in two ways.  One:  I know the English language and I know when it is being manipulated to tell a lie.  Two:  Being endowed with the grace of Christ I can discern the obligations of social justice that pertain to all humans.  Now I invite you to join me in seeking and seeing the truth together.

   In my previous Post I spoke of the tension between an arguing husband and wife that put them in a dualistic world.  Each one was opposed to the other.  The therapist supplied a third, higher element, their mutual love, making their dualistic situation a trinity.  As a result, the therapist 1) created a way for the coupl
                     2) to heal and save their marriage, and
                     3) to move forward and evolve in their lives.  
   Here we have the three elements of our vision:  Creativity, Healing/Saving, and Transforming/Evolving Life.  These elements are those of God, who is ONE Creative, Healing/Saving and World Transforming/Evolving, Living LOVE.  

   In theology, we can say that God is Infinite/Eternal, Creative LOVE (Father), flowing into and begetting World Healing/Saving Love (Son), giving rise to World Transforming/Evolving Love (Holy Spirit). 

   Also, divine LOVE is never static.  Divine LOVE is a flowing, in fact overflowing LOVE, always creating, always healing/saving, and always urging the world forward in its evolution.  We experience God dynamically when we experience LOVE calling us forward from the future, to our best possible fulfillment. 

   Our first and best guide to living the vision is Jesus, the individual human being who was the universal Christ, i.e., the whole universe saturated with God's overflowing love. (Cf. A New Creation Story) Like Jesus, the vision starts here and now in the flesh, on the ground.  Like Christ, it expands to embrace the entire world, the earth, the universe and infinity/eternity.  It is the one vision that is fully worthy of our complete human reality and dignity as beloved and sacred images of God.

   (The Church sees salvation outside of Jesus.  Jews, Muslims, Hindus, et al., and even people who don't know Jesus but live in consistent good will and love, will be saved.  That's because salvation comes in Christ, i. e., in living a life consistent with the LOVE saturated world.  Since Jesus was the Christ, in him we see the fullness of our way to salvation.  In our way of seeing, though not everyone agrees, everyone who lives in Christ therefore automatically lives in Jesus, even though they don't know it.)

   Starting on the ground, we begin with ourselves by looking more clearly at our own talents, abilities and opportunities, all of which show us our vocation in and for today's culture and society.

    For example, people competent in education can work to create a school program (public and Catholic) that will truly create in the children an ever more intense desire for learning.  As someone whose name I cant remember said, education is not filling buckets, it's setting fires.  The program will heal the children's ignorance with humanizing, edifying knowledge.  And it will move the children's lives forward in their ongoing human evolution of understanding how to make a living and how to make a life.  Such an educational program will include appreciating the talents, possibilities, respect, dignity and transcendent purpose that each child possesses as a beloved and sacred individual member of the human community.

   Those competent in business and economics can work with businesses to create stronger motivations to produce the best possible goods and services at fair prices.  They will work to heal any of the business's shortcomings, e.g., in providing clean and safe working conditions, fair living income for its workers, and respect for the environment, and they will help move the business forward in justice by helping the business give retraining opportunities to employees who are fired because the business sends their jobs to another area of the country or overseas, in order to maximize profits.  Thus they will also help move the business forward as a respected, contributing member of the community, nation and world.

   In sum, when we come face to face with the degradation of our humanity and the earth, we will speak up and act to correct it and to elevate our humanity, making our humanity more luminous in the Creative, Healing/Saving and World Transforming/Evolving love of Christ. 

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017


   In the 20th century we had to arise from the devastation of the Great Depression and World War II.  Vatican II was the church's effort to attain such a new rising.  So far, it hasn't succeeded, although Pope Francis is working hard to bring it new life.  In his own way, he is working to create a new vision for our time.
   In the spirit of Pope Francis, I propose a new vision for our consideration

  Let's begin with an example.  A young therapist was stuck between a quarreling husband and wife.  When he sided with the husband, the wife got angry.  When he sided with the wife, the husband got angry.  He couldn't find any room for compromise.  So he consulted his director. His director said, "Your job is not to take either side.  You have to go higher than just looking for a compromise on the level of their tension.  You have to help them rediscover the love they share.  If that love is still there it will give them higher common ground on which they can see the real facts and truth of their quarrels.  And they can work from there." 

   The tension between the husband and wife was obscuring the facts and truth behind their disagreements.  They needed to find "higher ground" on which they could come together and approach their disagreements from the same point of view. Their love for each other, if it still existed, was the key to solving their quarrels.  

   Here's another example.  In politics there is a natural tension between liberals and conservatives.  In bad times, such as today, the views of each side are so stubbornly and at times irrationally clung to that there is no possibility for any effective solution.  For the good of the nation, and the world, both sides must find "higher ground" on which to find the facts and the truth, so they can then create solutions based on the facts and the truth.  In this case, the higher ground is the fact and truth that they were elected to serve the people, and that they are all Americans.  They are to serve the people in a way that serves the common good of their constituents and of all Americans--and even to serve the common good of the whole world, e.g., in matters of climate change and peace.

   So the "blueprint" for the new spiritual vision requires finding the "higher ground", the true point where we come together to find the facts and the truth and use them to find solutions to our tensions and challenges.  At first glance, this may seem too simple and even naive an answer.  It is not.

   To begin with, today the sad fact and truth is that many of our political and religious leaders are of such poor quality that we cannot realistically look for much good to come to our communities, churches and nation in the short term.  So while we protest against our poor leadership and search for higher quality people to lead/serve us, we must work on creating the new vision ourselves.   

   The basic problem is that we naturally see a dualistic world, e.g., husband-wife, liberal-conservative, dark-light, big-little, American-foreigner, rich-poor, Black-White, yin-yang, etc., etc.  These dualities are natural to us.  They show us the wonderful diversity of reality.  But they often clash, as in the examples above.  Let's look at the dualities more closely.

   When we fall into quarrelsome tensions, we say we have to find a compromise.  Now, Einstein said that a problem cannot be solved on the same level which it was created.  So compromise has to be founded on willingness to find a higher level or value than the level of the individual views that are in contention.  Compromise founded on a lower level or value is bad and even dangerous, e.g., compromising one's values, or the safety of children in a school.

  The new vision will take us to the highest levels of our lives.  It will be 
    1) Creative:  it will discover and create new levels of connectedness and life between the dualities
    2) Healing:  It will heal the separation and hurt between the people caught in the duality.
    3) Evolutionary:  It will move the lives of the involved people forward toward greater human fulfillment. 

   To attain the new vision, we will move upward in steps.  First, the higher level is the fact that we are all human. Our basic identity is our shared, common humanity.  We are humans first, and individual persons second.  But in today's culture, our individuality comes first and our community as humans comes second--if we care to pay attention to it all all.  For example, how many young married couples speak of their their marriage, and focus on the bond they share, and how many speak of their relationship, and focus on their individuality and possible lack of full commitment to their marriage?

   How many corporations consider their employees as an integral part of the corporation?  When they send their employees' jobs overseas, how many help their fired employees train for new jobs?

   Even today's science tells us that there is first one universe, and then there are trillions of individual galaxies, solar systems, planets, etc.

   The law of Reality is Community First and then Individuality-Within-Community.  If we have only community, our individuality is suppressed.  If we have only individuality, our common bond is suppressed.  In either case, our humanity is suppressed.

   Our common humanity gives us our shared dignity, integrity, respect, and transcendent purpose.  It identifies us as rational, reasoning, feeling, loving, caring, homo sapiens.  And today we must also account for the very important fact that our humanity is not static but in motion.  We are ever-becoming-ever-evolving humans.  I don't exist; I am existing.  If we don't move forward in our humanity, we will move backward.  Compare today's progress in science with our political and religious backwardness.

   Our new spiritual vision embraces the whole person, at ever level of our personhood.  It is as earthy as Jesus.  It includes our body and emotions, our personality, our psychological and mental attributes, and our social and individual make-up.  Today it even includes the basic understanding of ourselves that is presented by quantum physics.  

   We can even say that the famous equation e=mc2 helps us understand who we are as humans.  We are each a focus of immaterial energy (e) that is showing up as an individual mental/physical/social person (mc2).  In sum, we are completely made of energy.  Wow!

   Spiritually speaking, energy, like all created reality, is an image of God.  God is not Someone who is here or there, but infinite/eternal Living Energy that is LOVE that permeates the whole universe.  Created energy permeates the whole universe.  The whole universe is made of energy.  So the universe, the world, and we are made of love-energy (e) that is showing up as love in the form of air, water, fish, birds, soil, flowers, mountains, and people, (mc2).  The new vision shows us that we humans are living love.  Our humanity is made of love.  We are love and we are beloved humans, living in a beloved world that is made of love, on beloved earth that is made of love.

   Finally, the new vision also shows us that we are sacred humans.  We are sanctified by LOVE's presence within us and within the earth and our societies and cultures.  Further, the presence of LOVE within the universe and ourselves makes the universe and us expressions of Christ.  The divinely saturated world is the Universe, Cosmic Christ Reality.

   With the shallowness of much of today's spiritual understanding, I have to emphasize that I did not just add "beloved and sacred expression of Christ" to our humanity and the world, as it was the icing on a cake that we can take off and still have the cake.  It is the cake itself.  To sound silly, we can't take the cake off the cake and still have the cake.  It is just as silly to say we can remove beloved and sacred expressions of Christ from the human and still have the human.  Also, we cannot remove beloved and sacred expressions of Christ from the world and still have the world.  Our vision shows that being human is the being beloved and sacred expression of Christ.  We are beloved, sacred human expressions of Christ living on earth, which itself is a beloved and sacred expressions of Christ.  And as humans, we are called and empowered to act accordingly.

  When we can tangled up in our dualities, we are called and empowered to raise ourselves to the level of being beloved, sacred expressions of Christ.

  In my next Post I will continue to build our new vision for living in today's world. 


Tuesday, March 21, 2017


   In a previous post I said I would write about creating a new vision and "changing the conversation,"with which we start to build a new society, which will move the Kingdom of God on Earth forward.  This is necessary because, even despite millions of citizens trying hard to live moral lives, our present public society can justly be said to be beyond repair.  We cannot correct it; we have build a new society along side it.  Hopefully, a renewed church will arise within this new society.

   In sum, we have to look within what's wrong with our society and discern and acknowledge the evil that is active within it.

    We naturally have trouble using the word, "evil."  With good reason we resist calling a person evil.  That judgment belongs to God alone.  Rather, when we see people engaging in violence, murder, racism, sexism, and hatred of all kinds, we prefer to say that they are wrong, or mentally ill, or criminal.  But as spiritually serious persons, we can and must go deeper and judge that such actions are evil. 
   How do we see and understand evil today?  To begin with, it is true that to err is human.  We are not perfect; we all make mistakes and do things we should not do.  Honest mistakes are not evil.  

   Here we have to clarify how some Christians understand evil.  They read the story of creation and understand it to mean that we were created as perfect humans and that we fell from perfection, and it was our own fault.  This is a misunderstanding.  The ancient Hebrews who created the story believed that everything that God did was perfect.  (They added the seven days of creation to the original story because in Hebrew, seven is the number of perfection.)  So to explain our human imperfection, they created a Fall from perfection.  That was the best they could do with the understanding of that time.  Christians later came to understand the Fall as Original Sin.

   Today we know that there was no Fall from original perfection.  We evolved from pre-human hominids.  We make mistakes because we are space/time creatures, and nothing in space/time in perfect.  The fact that we are imperfect is not our fault.  It is our human nature.

   As humans we can think, reason, understand, wonder and love.  These are the gifts--the graces--we use to overcome our imperfection and move forward and evolve in our humanity.  We will never be perfect here in space/time. 

   But there is a rub.  We also have the ability to say "No" to our humanity, to abuse our own nature and fool ourselves into believing that we are God.  We see this, for example, in authoritarian people who "know it all" and who dictate laws and rules to others and who will not tolerate any ambiguity or human fraility.  Such people are intolerable and can be dangerous.

   Our ability to say "No" to our human nature is actually our "Original Sin."  Believing we are God contradicts our own nature.  And that's were evil come in.  Evil is a self-contradiction.  It its a lie that pushes us into absurdity and unreality.  Ironically, when we raise ourselves to the level of God, we actually degrade ourselves and lower ourselves to a sub-human level.  

   Evil is deep within us and our society.  It cannot be discerned by shallow people or a shallow society.  It can be only be discerned by spiritual adults who can see the dark absence of grace that evil represents in people and society.  So while it is just and humble to say that people who inflict political, economic and religious corruption upon us are not evil, we have to be able to discern that evil is the root of the corruption that their actions inflict upon our humanity.         

   For example, spiritually mature people can discern evil at the root of a federal budget that takes food away from sick and elderly people, or takes health care away from people, without clear assurance that the states or the people themselves can make up for this loss.  They can discern evil at the root of actions taken by corporations who pollute the earth without any care for the earth or for people who suffer from the pollution.  Evil is at the root of the judgment leveled by religious leaders who condemn those who walk away from their church because their church is not spiritually nourishing them.  In today's spiritually shallow society, we are beyond the ability to correct these misdeeds on their own level.  We have to go deeper.  And this means we have to bypass today's society and build a new society.  
   Here's a good, practical example of how to handle and defeat evil.  Recently, a guest on Joy Reid's TV show said that President Trump's budget cuts are evil and could result in people's death.  Then a smug commentator trivialized the matter saying that we should "tone down the rhetoric."  In today's society, "rhetoric" means, "meaningless talk."  He then added that the Congress will deliberate on the budget.  He thereby presented two popular "defenses" for evil:  first he minimized the problem and then he tried to divert the conversation away from it.

   But Joy would have none of it.  She cut him off saying (I paraphrase), "Let's not go into politics.  We're talking about President Trump denying food and health care to needy people.  Stick to the facts!"  That was it.  Joy showed us how to face and defeat evil:  Recognize it and then without hesitation rebuke it and refuse to converse or negotiate with it.  Then get back to the facts at of the matter and search for the truth.

   Recognizing and rebuking evil clears our minds and spirits and makes room in our mind and spirit for us to create the vision of a new society of justice, peace and love, and a new conversation to go with the new vision and society. In my next Post, I will begin to create our new vision and the new conversation that will arise from it.

   God is calling us to recognize the signs of the times, both the good to be retained and the evil to be removed, so we can work to continue building the Kingdom of God on Earth that Jesus prayed for--which is why we're here on earth.




Wednesday, March 8, 2017


   Literally millions of Catholics have walked away, and are still walking away, from the church in protest against the way it is being run.  The church has not presented them with an understanding of God and our faith that has real meaning for their deepest and most precious needs in today's world.  They are not spiritually indifferent.  They are search elsewhere.  As they say, they are spiritual but not religious.

   One very important reason the church has failed in its responsibility to today's Catholics--and to the world at large--is that it operates as a closed system.

   A closed system is one that operates within itself without relating to the world outside itself.  In contrast, an open system operates in a living, mutually nourishing relationship with the world outside itself.  Especially since the Reformation, the church has closed in on itself.  At that time, it convened the Council of Trent (1545-63) and pronounced excommunication on anyone who disagreed with its teachings.

   The birth of the Modern World in the 1600's, with its modern science, modern nation states, and the Enlightenment, which replaced the faith with reason alone, moved the church to close in on itself even further.  It began speaking to the outside world, and preaching judgmentally at the world.  From within its theologically walled-in borders, it didn't notice that little by little the world was no longer listening.

   A closed system is structured in a way that separates the levels of authority from one another.  In the church, authority is structured along a hierarchy of pope, bishops, priests, religious sisters and brothers, and laity.  Authority moves in one direction, from the top down.  There is no true conversation among the various levels of authority, and therefore no true community.  This system created the unhappy description of the laity as passive, "pay, pray and obey sheep."

   An open system stays alive by nourishing itself from sources both inside and outside itself.  Such a church doesn't "run out of gas," whereas a closed system church does "run out of gas."  In the 17th century, the church began to run out of gas.  By the 20th century, following the moral and spiritual disaster of World War II, it was pretty much running on "Empty."  Pope John XXIII saw this condition.  He knew that the "internal gas" the church ran on was the Holy Spirit, and its "external gas" was openness to the fast changing world, where the Spirit was also present.

   So he called an Ecumenical Council to "open the windows" of the church so that the Holy Spirit could "fly" in, and to "open the doors" of the church so that it could dialogue respectfully with the outside world, where the Spirit also lived.  In sum, he wanted Vatican II to change the church from a closed system to an open system.  Unhappily that has not yet happened, although Pope Francis and some bishops, e.g., Cardinal Cupich of Chicago, are working, against strong opposition, to make it happen. 

   Until Vatican II, the church councils were written in "closed system" language.  Following the example of the Roman Empire, they used the legalistic language of a political state.  Most bishops were church lawyers who understood this language and taught in the language of church law.  As lawyers study laws, sins were catalogued and studied from every angle.  In the 1960's Fr. Bernard Haring tried to change the emphasis from legalism to an emphasis on love.  He is reported to have said, "If you want to know about morality, don't pick up the Code of Canon Law, pick up the Gospels."

   Rahner's emphasis on love and understanding, as well as the input from many outstanding theologians, greatly influenced the teachings and language of Vatican II.  The council is written in "open system language," or "pastoral language."  But many of today's bishops, still living in their legalistic world, still don't understand the language of Vatican II.

   Vatican II wanted to change the church from a top-down, judgemental church to a brotherly/sisterly community of all the faithful, from pope to laity, who, within their sphere of their vocations and positions contribute to the church's living faith, with full respect and dignity accorded to every member.  The church's teaching authority (which is called, "The Magisterium,") arises not from any private revelation to the pope and then on down, but from the faith of the whole church.

   In an open system church, the important feature of membership is the people's common baptism, and their faith as they live it in the everyday world.  The church is not only the church of Sunday morning but the church of every weekday,  God speaks to all the people of the church, where they live, work and play, as well as where they worship.  All have the privilege and responsibility to make their faith known to the church so that the church leaders have the information and discernment necessary to make informed decisions as to what God want of us.  Popes teach infallibly what the whole church already believes infallibly.    

   Further, an open system church acknowledges that God speaks to people outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic church.  Salvation is open to all people of consistent good will.  Everyone in the world has the call and opportunity to respond to the INFINITE/ETERNAL LIVING LOVE that permeates the world, urging the world forward in its slow and bumpy, ever evolving and unfolding way toward wholeness in justice, peace and love.  So the church needs to enter into respectful and humble dialogue with all peoples throughout the world as it offers them the fullness of their salvation.  In a word, the church needs to be completely catholic (small "c"), i.e., open to the whole world.

   In such a church all its members work together and contribute to the whole.  Everyone who values our humanity, our world with its need for good families, good ecology, good government and schools, good economics, good relations among all nations, etc., will want to be active participants.  Such a church will be marked by people on their way to ever deeper and effective spiritual growth and maturity.

Note 1:  A necessary way to bring about an open church is to "change the conversation," i.e., to learn how to talk about such a church in a way that is easy to understand and implement.  In future posts I will try to help work out such a language.

Note 2:  What pertains to the church today also pertains to our government.  Our Federal government is closing in on itself and closing our country in on itself.  "American First!" has a certain appeal, but it can be toxic in today's world that needs positive inter-communication and inter-relationships very badly.

Note 3:  Thanks to Sr. Elia Delio for her ideas on open and closed systems in her wonderful book, Making All Things New -- Catholicity, Cosmology, Consciousness