Week One: New Consciousness, New Christian Understanding
Ps. 80: 18: Breathe life into our lungs so we can shout out your name . . . . 1 Cor. 1: 7: Just think — you don't need a thing, you've got it all! All God's gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for the revelation of Christ. Mark 13: 35, 37: Keep awake . . . Stay at your post. Keep watch.
1 Corinthians calls us to wait expectantly for the revelation of Christ. The revelation of Christ comes in time, through evolution. But it's not automatic, so we're also called to think. Advent calls us to re-pent; the actual meaning of which, in Greek, is re-think. Our conscious expansion of awareness of the divine presence — how God lives and acts among us in our time — helps to incarnate the Mystery we call Christ. We think with our amazing gifts of mind and spirit, so we "don't need a thing" but openness and desire to expand our consciousness, to ponder the new creation story and let it evoke our awe and "radical amazement." (Judy Cannato)
Try to enter into the re-thinking required of Mary as she pondered the ramifications of her "Yes." Suddenly she was breathing for two! Perhaps this expanded the way she prayed Psalm 80 as she awaited her child's birth: "Breathe life into our lungs so we can shout your name!" We now know we share the air we breathe with all creation on Earth — we breathe not just for two, but for, and with, all creation! Our awareness of sharing breath with all creation as we "sit in silence before Our Lord . . . more ready to listen than to talk" (Cornelia Connelly) this week expands the consciousness of the entire creation!
Our charism could not be more relevant for the present time, when science calls us to new awareness and understanding of God's presence in all creation. We are transitioning from the God above and beyond, in a three tiered world, to a cosmos infused and alive with divinity. In 1948 Sir Fred Hoyle predicted: "Once a photograph of Earth, taken from the outside, is available, a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose." We have experienced that moment, that idea. Other discoveries expand our concepts of spacetime, interdependence, the place of human beings within creation, kinship. Cosmologists give us a creation story that serves every religion, but requires "re-penting"/rethinking what many once believed was historical truth.
Repenting/Rethinking is essential in today's world. "No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it" (Albert Einstein). Name a problem. What consciousness created it? How would new awareness of the unity of all creation, divinity living and acting in all, solve it?
The forward to the proceedings of Yale's meeting, “Toward a New Consciousness” states: "The changes needed to sustain human and natural communities can only be achieved in the context of the rise of a new consciousness." Vaclav Havel agrees: "We must develop a new understanding of the true purpose of our existence on this Earth." If this were easy, it would have happened by now. "The difficulty lies not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones. . . ." (J.M. Keynes)
Barbara Marx Hubbard reminds us about Neanderthals and homo erectus in evolutionary history: the former died out, the latter became homo sapiens. She sees two types of humans today: the dominator type and homo universalis. She finds the latter in every faith, tradition, race, culture, and economic background. They are guided by loving awareness of how all life is interconnected, and they are driven (we might say "called") with a passion like that of self-preservation and self-reproduction, but for the world, not just for self. Unlike earlier stages of evolution, this one requires cooperation with the creation process through free choice: learning, sharing, grappling, asking divine help to move with evolution into a new understanding of God. "Is my soul a listening soul?" (Cornelia Connelly)
Sharing: How has your understanding of God changed since your childhood? What is your "awareness-of-unity" story?
Prayer suggestion for this week: Holy God, always with us, deepen our awareness that our consciousness and the universe in which it is embedded expands as we shout God's praise with all creation. Let us feel and foster the "universal human" developing within ourselves and our world. Let us incarnate these words from Renewing the Earth: "Dwelling in the presence of God, we begin to experience ourselves as part of creation, not separate from it."
Suggestions for prayer and learning: Judy Cannato, Radical Amazement, Sorin Books, 2006 (esp. pp. 7 - 38); Elizabeth A. Johnson, Women, Earth, and Creator Spirit, Paulist Press, 1993; Ilia Delio, The Emergent Christ, Orbis Books, 2011 (esp. pp. 138 – 156)