In my previous post, I wondered whether it wasn’t more important that we follow the message of Jesus as opposed to Jesus, the messenger. It’s an idea that comes from The Universal Christ, a new book by the Franciscan friar and Catholic Richard Rohr, who informs us that:
What Jesus really wanted was for us to “see the world with his eyes.”
When we are able to see the world with the same love and compassion as Jesus, our own world grows richer, deeper and more loving. Yet, how do we see the world with the eyes of Jesus? Is that even possible? Rohr, tells us YES and it starts by looking at the true nature of God.
Rohr reminds us that God is not an old man on a throne in the heavens. God is the DNA that is within all of us. “The Divine Presence is here, in us and in all of creation, and not “over there” in some far-off realm.” God’s presence can be found in the material world all around us. Because of this, we are like Jesus in that we are not separate from God. We are, in fact, immersed in God.
When we realize that God is in and of all things, we view the world differently. Rohr writes that when we “stand in solidarity with everything and everyone else,” we see the Divine in literally “every thing” and “every one.” Accepting this fact can cause a radical change in our perspective, as the author states here:
Once we know that the entire physical world around us, all of creation, is both the hiding place and the revelation place for God, this world becomes home, safe, enchanted, offering grace to anyone who looks deeply.
When we learn to see God in all things, we see the world and ourselves “in wholeness, not just in parts.” We see oneness, because we look out from oneness. According to Rohr, everything visible, without exception, is the outpouring of God. God is the light inside of everything. As within, so without. As above, so below. Which leads to this startling statement from Rohr:
God loves things by becoming them.
These words stopped me in my tracks, as they have an inherent ring of truth and explain how “Christ Consciousness” can evolve within us. If you can accept the idea the God is love, then we can’t help but become more loving and compassionate when we realize that God is within us, in every fiber of our being.
Rohr believes that the key to having a healthy, personal relationship with God, is to see God in ourselves and in all those around us. We cannot deeply know ourselves without also knowing the One who made us, and we cannot fully accept ourselves without accepting God’s radical acceptance of every part of us.
What’s it like to live in Christ Consciousness? Rohr paints a vivid picture from his own life and then illustrates how this type of consciousness can permeate our own lives. In his words:
I can see Christ in my dog, the sky, and all creatures, and it’s why you, whoever you are, can experience God’s unadulterated care for you in your garden or kitchen, your husband or wife , an ordinary beetle, a fish in the darkest sea that no human eye will ever observe, and even in those who do not like you, and those who are not like you.
Rohr writes that the proof that you are a Christian is that you can see Christ everywhere. This does not happen all at once, but rather happens over our lifetimes as our ability to see the world with Christ Consciousness continually expands. This view of the world does not shrink over time, “you do not include less and less, you always see and love more and more.”
This means, like Jesus, seeing “Christ” in “every single creature—the teen mother nursing her child, every one of the 20,000 species of butterflies, an immigrant living in fear, a blade of grass, you reading this—are all in Christ and chosen from the beginning. You are never separate from God, nor can you be, except in your mind.”
We have help in finding God—because God provides us with clues.
Rohr tells us that anything that “draws us out” is a sign of God operating within us and the world around us. There are three things in particular that God uses to grab our attention:
When we see someone doing good in the world, that is a sign of God. When we see a newborn baby or watch a beautiful sunset or the waves crashing on a beach, that is a sign of God. Rohr informs us that these signs can happen “in a physical gesture, a quiet word or a smile, a meal shared with someone we care for, anytime you are suddenly enlivened by a force larger than yourself.”
When you see a sign of God, all you need to is return this Presence with your own presence. When you “learn to trust and draw forth your own deepest experience, you will know Christ consciousness,” all day and every day. Church is not required. Rohr says these special moments can happen before or after any religious services you may attend—or without attending them at all. God is with us at all times, even at this very moment.
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