Catholicity: attunement to physical world, to have a sense of the cosmos or the whole order of things, including physical and spiritual things

January 25, 2017

References are to the kindle version.

Wholeness and wholemaking that emerges from the nexus of catholicity, cosmology, and consciousness. The early Greeks coined the word catholic to describe attunement to the physical order, so that catholicity meant living in harmony with the stars. To live in catholicity was to have a sense of the cosmos or the whole order of things, including physical and spiritual things.130

Catholicity began as a consciousness of the whole order of things (cosmos), over time it became detached from cosmology and conflated with the pope, Rome, and the institutional Church. Catholic universalism became equivalent to power, authority, and moral order. But as Maalouf writes: “The truth is that Catholicity is not an abstract concept, and it does not mean the universalization of one culture, but the universalization of the human being.”2 Catholicity does not mean that everyone is to become Catholic; rather, to be catholic is to be aware of belonging to a whole and to act according to the whole, including the galaxies and stars, earth, animals, plants, and human life. To paraphrase Saint Augustine: “You have made us for wholeness, O Lord, and our hearts are restless.”151

Sister Catherine R. O’Connor, CSJ, writes: The sense of the sacredness of the earth and of man’s rootedness in it could be, in conjunction with ritual and sacrament, a rich source of nourishment for the human spirit. Teilhard’s particular thrust in the area of the importance of human action and passion in making ‘contact’ with God through the earth would add a new dimension to an approach to Christianity that still tends to be merely legal and moral.4163

Teilhard had a sense of “deep catholicity,” an intrinsic wholeness at the heart of life yearning to become more whole in and through the human person. He described this wholeness as “Omega,” a oneness already within and yet ahead of us, drawing us onward toward greater unity in love. For Teilhard, modern science awakens us to a new sense of catholicity and empowers us to participate in evolution as co-creators of the emerging whole.169

Catholicity reflects divine incarnational energy at the heart of cosmic evolution.175

My explorations in this book begin with certain premises:

  • First, Catholicity is first and foremost linked with cosmology. It arises with the introduction of space into the physical order creating a “cosmos,” an orderly connectedness of reality. Catholicity, therefore, is based on the Greek understanding of cosmos as a three-dimensional sphere rather than a two-dimensional flat earth.
  • Second, Catholicity is a function of consciousness. The rise of catholicity and cosmology takes place in the axial period in which the human person emerges as individual subject. Catholicity is awareness of the one amid the many through the human person whose consciousness “catholicizes” or unifies the many parts.
  • Third, Catholicity is consciousness of the whole, an orientation toward universality or turning together as one.177

John Haughey, SJ, whose book, Where Is Knowing Going, awakened me to catholicity in a wider narrative. However, the work of French philosopher Rémi Brague enabled me to understand catholicity in its relation to cosmology, as the Greeks first conceived this idea. To this end I examine catholicity on four different levels: (1) catholicity in nature, including Big Bang cosmology and quantum consciousness; (2) catholicity and the human person; (3) catholicity and Jesus; and (4) the institutionalization of catholicity or the Catholic Church. Chapter 1 examines Brague’s principal187

There is an intrinsic relationship between catholicity and consciousness. The rise of consciousness and complex wholeness simultaneously in nature undergirds the profound role consciousness plays in realizing wholeness on the human level. If nature bears within it what we might call an intrinsic catholicity, why is wholeness so difficult on the human level? 209

The human person is one of desire and decision. How we think, what we think, what enters or leaves our minds, where we focus our minds—all shape our actions and, in turn, our world. On the human level where there is free will and intellect, the whole is not a given; it is a choice in relation to God, neighbor, and earth community. For the Christian the choice for wholeness is embedded in the gospel life, following the words of Jesus: “I have come so that you may have life and have it to the full” (Jn 10:10). We are to focus our minds on the whole and choose the whole for the sake of abundant life.214

Discuss the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist as new forms of relatedness with Christ in an expanding field of compassionate love. 225

The diminishment of catholicity by institutionalization and alienation from worldly affairs relates to the development of Catholicism’s teaching on the four last things: heaven, hell, death, and final judgment. 226

Chapter 8 takes up Saint Paul’s injunction to “put on the mind of Christ” and considers what this means in terms of quantum consciousness and spirituality. Here I focus more specifically on training the mind for unified consciousness.242

Centuries before Etty, Francis of Assisi came to similar insights through a deep, christic mindfulness, and I briefly explore his path to a “uni-verse” through the centrality of love and the poverty of letting go into a wider embrace of life. 247

What are we called to today, as citizens of the universe, as followers of Jesus Christ and as members of the institutional Church? 251

Pope Francis (Jose Maria Bergoglio), in his late seventies, brings a new spirit to the Church that reflects a consciousness of catholicity that we explore here. His is an inner spirit of freedom grounded in the love of God, guided by the gospel message of the new kingdom at hand, and open to a world of change. He desires a Church on the margins, where the poor and the forgotten can be brought into a new unity; a Church that advocates life at all costs and promotes peaceful life in a war-torn and violent world; a Church that models justice in an age of greed, consumerism, and power; a Church centered on the risen Christ, empowering a consciousness of the whole. This is a church leader who desperately wants to breathe a new spirit of catholicity into a world dying for wholeness and unity.255

No longer self-identify as Catholic.” This is equivalent to more than 900,000 people each year and is slightly larger than the number the Church added in baptisms and receptions into full communion in 2012. 6 Gray’s statistics on all levels of Catholic life show downward trends and no signs of improvement. So while Pope Francis is seeking to expand the Church’s presence in the world, catholicity seems to be diminishing due, in part, to a growing irrelevance of institutional religion. There is an urgency today to reconnect cosmology and catholicity, not as abstract concepts, but as the reconciliation of modern science and religion.262

“Science develops best,” Saint John Paul II wrote, “when its concepts and conclusions can be integrated into the wider human culture and its concerns for ultimate meaning and value.”7 Religion, too, develops best when its doctrines are not abstract and fixed in an ancient past but integrated into the wider stream of life. Albert Einstein once said that “science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind.”8 So too, John Paul II wrote: “Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other into a wider world, a world in which both can flourish.”9 Teilhard de Chardin saw that dialogue alone between the disciplines is insufficient; what we need is a new synthesis of science and religion, drawing insights from each discipline into a new unity. In a remarkable letter to the director of the Vatican Observatory, John Paul II wrote: The church does not propose that science should become religion or religion science. On the contrary, unity always presupposes the diversity and integrity of its elements. Each of these members should become not less itself but more itself in a dynamic interchange, for a unity in which one of the elements is reduced to the other is destructive, false in its promises of harmony, and ruinous of the integrity of its components. We are asked to become one. We are not asked to become each other. . . . Unity involves the drive of the human mind towards understanding and the desire of the human spirit for love. When human beings seek to understand the multiplicities that surround them, when they seek to make sense of experience, they do so by bringing many factors into a common vision. Understanding is achieved when many data are unified by a common structure. The one illuminates the many: it makes sense of the whole. . . . We move towards unity as we move towards meaning in our lives. Unity is also the consequence of love. If love is genuine, it moves not towards the assimilation of the other but towards union with the other. Human community begins in desire when that union has not been achieved, and it is completed in joy when those who have been apart are now united.10 The words of the late pope highlight the core of catholicity: consciousness of belonging to a whole and unity as a consequence of love.268

The heart-wrenching divisions of religious wars, economic gaps, racial hatred, fears of terrorism—division upon division—to the extent that our only hope is another world, whether it is the otherworldliness of heaven or the cyber world of virtual reality. Nature reminds us, however, that in our cosmic roots we are already one.289

Can religion inspire an evolution toward unity?292

The world is not a given but a gift to create. Catholicity invites us to wake up, open our eyes, and reach for the stars to create a new world together by becoming a new community of life.292

Sister Catherine R. O’Connor, CSJ, Woman and Cosmos: The Feminine in the Thought of Teilhard de Chardin (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1971), 150.301

It is important to point out here that I am distinguishing catholicity (with a lowercase “c”) from Catholicism (with an uppercase “C”) insofar as catholicity or orientation toward wholeness is intrinsic to nature and organic consciousness, whereas I see the institutionalization of catholicity expressed (or thwarted) in Catholicism.303

“Letter of His Holiness John Paul II to Reverend George Coyne, SJ, Director of the Vatican Observatory,” available on the website.314

Albert Einstein, “Science and Religion,” Princeton Theological Seminary, May 19, 1939.316

We are meaning makers and storytellers. The stories we tell one another shape the meaning of our lives.323

Religion is about the deep-rooted energies of the spirit yearning for ultimate meaning and fulfillment. The word religion means literally “to be bound” or “to be bound back” (re-ligare) just as a ligament binds two bones together. Religion undergirds the unyielding longing to be bound to an ultimate source. Catholicity is not about religion per se, but it is complementary to religion because it is about wholemaking. In its Greek origin, the word catholicity is a composite of the preposition kata (according to) and the noun holos (whole), so that kath’ holou can be an adverb meaning “wholly” or katholikos, a substantive that is best rendered in English as “catholicity.”1 My understanding of catholicity, therefore, is a “sense of the whole” or “according to the whole.”

The whole, however, is not a given; rather, it flows from my human consciousness and attention. The word attention means “to extend or reach out a hand.” Imagine extending your hand to reach for the stars: you see the stars, you feel connected to them, and you long to touch them. That is the type of attention or consciousness that marks catholicity. Catholicity, like consciousness itself, is not static; it is not a fixed ideal. Rather, it is an outflow of human awareness in relation to the surrounding world; it is like a connecting thread between the human person and the cosmos. Catholicity undergirds these questions: Are we aware of belonging to a whole? What are the wholes we are making through our own self-conscious acts? Walter Ong, SJ, likened catholicity to the parable of the yeast (Lk 13:20–21), that small, invisible power that spreads throughout the whole of the dough and catalyzes movement toward a unified loaf of bread.2 To catalyze (a word borrowed from modern science) means to initiate or accelerate a process of transformation. In physical nature catalytic elements are essential to chemical, biochemical, and environmental processes. The catalyst both accelerates the rate of transformation and lowers the activation energy needed for the transition state so that the process of transformation takes place more efficiently. In a similar way catholicity catalyzes the movement toward wholeness or universality by way of consciousness. Whereas universality undergirds oneness or unified wholeness, catholicity is the dynamic consciousness of the whole that makes oneness possible. In this respect catholicity is not a noun; it does not define anything. Rather, catholicity is an adjective or, better yet, a verb; it is what moves (catalyzes) a person to think, move, and orient his or her life toward making wholes from the partials of experience. Catholicity depends on how we see the world.325

Ancient civilizations tended to look at the physical and human worlds as interdependent. An imbalance in one sphere could result in an imbalance in the other. The dominant form of pre-axial consciousness was cosmic, collective, tribal, mythic, and ritualistic.355

A rich and creative harmony between primal peoples and the world of nature, a harmony which was explored, expressed, and celebrated in myth and ritual. Just as they felt themselves part of nature, so they experienced themselves as part of the tribe. It was precisely the web of interrelationships within the tribe that sustained them psychologically, energizing all aspects of their lives. To be separated from the tribe threatened them with death, not only physical but also psychological. However, their relation to the collectivity usually did not extend beyond their own tribe, for they often looked upon other tribes as hostile. Yet within their tribe they felt organically related to their group as a whole, to the lifecycles of birth and death, and to nature and the cosmos. The order of the natural cosmos followed the order in the social cosmos. That is, human activity in the public sphere had an influence on the cosmic order. Lack of order in the cosmos, for example, in the realm of plants, such as infertility, could only be repaired if one began by reestablishing the human social order. Justice among humans contributed to maintaining the world in movement. People believed that human action was required to maintain the order of the universe, and they conducted rituals and sacrifices to renew and restore it.4357

They had their gods; their beliefs about the nature of the world; and their rituals to help them understand and influence these gods, which they identified with natural and cosmic forces: the god of the sun, the gods of the earth, the moon, and the winds.369

(There was) a class of gods called Ahuras, associated with oaths and promise-keeping.372

three main Ahuras: Varuna, the guardian of order; Mithra, the god of storm, thunder, and rain; and Mazda, the lord of justice and wisdom.374

The Indo-Iranians revered life, and like all pre-axial peoples, they felt a strong affinity between themselves and animals. They ate only consecrated animal flesh that had been offered to the gods with prayers to ensure the animal’s safe return to the soul of the bull. They believed the soul of the bull was the life energy of the animal world, whose spirit was energized through their sacrifice of animal blood. This nourished the deity and helped the gods look after the animal world and ensured plenty.6 The “catholicity” of the Noble Ones, like that of many of the pre-axial religions, was a consciousness of connectivity to the plants, the animals, the sky, and to the whole of nature.386

Their sense of the whole was a sense of belonging to a web of life guided by supernatural forces or deities. All things shared the same breadth of life—animals, trees, humans. All things were bound together.392

(Axial Age or Axis Age in English) to describe a time between approximately 900 and 200 BCE when the spiritual foundations of modern humanity were established. It was a pivotal time in early human history when human beings began to reflect for the first time about individual existence and the meaning of life and death. Increasing urban civilization, initially brought about under the leadership of a priestly ruling class, encouraged trade and brought different societies closer together. But as urban life accelerated and expanded, it disrupted the old sense of order. This new way of living generated unprecedented social and political conflict and an increase in violence and aggression. Old customs could no longer be taken for granted. People began to question their own beliefs once they came into contact with others whose beliefs were different. They were challenged to look at themselves in different ways and entertain new ideas or cling steadfastly to their old ones. With a rise in population and the mixing of cultures, more people were exposed to the realities of life, such as sickness, greed, suffering, inhumanity, and social injustice. As a result, people began to experience themselves as separate from others for the very first time. In this new age, Jaspers claimed, man became conscious of being as a whole, of himself and his limitations. He experiences the tension of the world and his own powerlessness. He asks radical questions. Face to face with the void, he strives for liberation and redemption. By consciously recognizing his limits, he sets himself the highest goals. He experiences absoluteness in the depths of self-hood and in the lucidity of transcendence.7 William Thompson states that “what makes this period the ‘axis’ of human history, even our own history today, is the fact that humans emerged as ‘individuals’ in the proper sense.”8 Axial consciousness generated a new self-awareness that included awareness of autonomy and a new sense of individuality. The human person as subject emerged. The awareness of the self in the present brought with it awareness of the self after death. People began searching for more comprehensive religious and ethical concepts and to formulate a more enlightened morality where each person was responsible for his or her own destiny. During the Axial Age a new mode of thinking developed almost simultaneously in four major areas of the world: China, India, the Middle East, and Northern Mediterranean Europe. Whereas primal consciousness was tribal, axial consciousness was individual. “Know thyself” became the watchword of Greece; the Upanishads identified the atman, the transcendent center of the self. The Buddha charted the way of individual enlightenment; the Jewish prophets awakened individual moral responsibility.9 This sense of individual identity, as distinct from the tribe and nature, is the most characteristic mark of axial consciousness. This new consciousness was distinguished from pre-axial consciousness of interdependence; axial consciousness was self-reflective, analytic, and could be applied to nature in the form of scientific theories, to society in the form of social critique, to knowledge in the form of philosophy, and to religion in the form of mapping an individual spiritual journey. This self-reflective, analytic, critical consciousness stood in sharp contrast to primal mythic and ritualistic consciousness.395

severed the harmony with nature and the tribe. Axial persons were in possession of their own identity, it is true, but they had lost their organic relation to nature and community. They now ran the risk of being alienated from the matrix of being and life. With their new powers they could criticize the social structure and by analysis discover the abstract laws of science and metaphysics, but they might find themselves mere spectators of a drama of which in reality they were an integral part.10421

The Greeks’ most innovative step was the formulation of a special word for the world. The word they chose was kosmos, first used in Homer’s Iliad to mean “in good order” or the order that gives rise to beauty, such as an ornament (hence, the word cosmos is related to “cosmetics”).11430

It is interesting how a shift in understanding the cosmos gave rise to a sense of world different from the pre-axial period. Prior to the axial period—for example, among the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians—the world was thought to be a flat, two-tiered structure, with the sky above and earth below. The Greeks introduced the concept of space and conceived of the cosmos as a three-dimensional sphere with height, depth, and width. One could suggest that awareness of a spatial, three-dimensional cosmos impelled the ancient Greeks to separate human from world in a way that allowed them to discover a cosmos. In other words the human was no longer part of an interdependent nature; now the human had self-consciousness and consciousness of “other” that was called world. The word catholicity was coined to describe a consciousness of the whole, cosmos, the whole physical order of things to which the human was connected but distinct from; cosmos was the source for guiding human action. It was Plato who gave the word cosmos its meaning as world.436

The plan for human life is an imitation of the cosmos. The wise person knows the cosmos and sees in it the mirror of his or her own wisdom.449

The cosmos was a mirror for human action. The human was not simply in the world; the world was also in the human. It gave rhythm to our history, defined our aspirations, and directed our physical structure. The human (women were not allowed into Plato’s academy!) was to contemplate superior things, intelligible things, whose harmonious disposition reveals profound mysteries to us.13 Plato’s cosmology influenced thinkers of late Antiquity and the Middle Ages; the cosmos influenced what one ought to be and what one was to do. Justice was the result of the agreement between cosmos and humanity, each with its own nature, instilled by God.452

Kath’ holou (according to the whole) is not the same as kata pantos (according to all things); catholicity belongs not to the phenomenal and empirical but to the noumenal and ontological plane; it describes the essential nature of reality, not the external manifestations.462

An orientation of being toward wholeness or leavening the stuff of life to create a greater whole.16 For the Greeks, catholicity was how the human stood in relation to the stars and listened to the wind, aware that the movements of nature guided the movements of human life.465

Jesus used the word church twice in the Gospels, both in Matthew. He said, “I will build my church” (Mt 16:18), not churches but one visible, recognizable church, ecclesia, a new family united as community in God.470

The early Christians were very concerned that the new band of Jesus’s disciples would stay together and hold fast to the teachings they received from the apostles. This desire for coherent unity prompted the earliest use of the word catholic by the bishop-martyr Ignatius of Antioch. It is interesting that a bishop would be the first to use the word catholic for the newly formed Christian church. It would take someone familiar with Greek philosophy to find an appropriate word that could describe the meaning of the Christian church as the gathering of disciples together into a new whole, a new creation, centered in Jesus Christ. If the Greeks understood catholicity as human consciousness of the wider cosmos, Christians appropriated catholicity as a consciousness of the whole centered in Christ. Ignatius was immersed in the living tradition of the local church in Antioch, where the believers in Christ were first called Christian (Acts 11:26). On his way to Rome, under military escort to the Coliseum, where he was martyred for his confession of faith, he wrote, “You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery as you would the Apostles. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”17474

For Christians, catholicity was not about human action alone; rather, the whole order of things, including the stars, was directed toward a final end, the fullness of Christ. The gathering of the Church both was and is to share in the first fruits of the new creation in Christ. For Irenaeus this meant an emphasis on the Church not as institution but as active presence of the Spirit: “For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church, and every kind of grace.”18 Irenaeus was a genuinely catholic thinker for whom nothing is left out of the economy of salvation and for whom truth is always found in history. The most distinctive mark of Irenaeus’s theology is its inclusive concern for the whole of creation. He challenged the Gnostics (those who denied the incarnation of God) by saying that God entered history to heal and make whole and thus reconcile humanity to God. We know God not according to his greatness, he indicated, but according to his love. Salvation is not a flight to God from what is human (Gnostics), but the realizing of God’s likeness and the sharing of his life in what is human. Catholicity, for Irenaeus, is attentiveness to the Spirit of God, that is, the Spirit of healing and wholeness. When we are inwardly whole, we can attend to the cosmos in all its beauty.494

The Nicene Creed was composed in the fourth century as a creedal confession of faith that would consolidate the Christian faith in the empire: “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth. . . . I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.” Surprisingly, the word catholic became equated with universalis (universal). The word universal means “to turn as one” (from the Latin vetere and the prefix uni); however, in light of its Greek origin, catholicity is not universality, although one can see how universality became equated with catholicity, or wholeness with oneness. Rather, catholicity is awareness of the whole that moves one to act toward wholeness or unity.507

The relationship among catholicity, universality (oneness), and cosmology (wholeness) was blurred by politicizing Christian faith; politics trumped cosmology, and universality trumped catholicity.514

Could God truly be united to physical matter, which changes and decays?518

resolution of the Arian controversy from the Catholic point of view—the identification of Jesus Christ as God—it also represents the last point at which Christians with strongly opposed theological views acted civilly towards each other. When the controversy began, Arius and his opponents were inclined to treat each other as fellow Christians with mistaken ideas. Constantine hoped that his Great and Holy Council would bring the opposing sides together on the basis of a mutual recognition and correction of erroneous ideas. When these hopes were shattered and the conflict continued to spread, the adversaries were drawn to attack each other not as colleagues in error but as unrepentant sinners: corrupt, malicious, even satanic individuals.21 The Arian controversy is of importance not only with regard to the divinity of Jesus, but even more so because it distorted the essential meaning of catholicity. Christians forgot how to read the stars or see God amid the stars as attention was focused away from the cosmos toward defending the doctrine of truths. The Arian controversy created such an embattled church at Nicea that consciousness of the whole—catholicity—was broken. After Nicea the Church became defined as Catholic not with a sense of the whole but with a sense of the true. Catholicity was no longer a function of cosmology but orthodoxy.539

What we find in the first five centuries of the Church is a mutation of catholicity from a sense of cosmos as order and harmony to a fixation on orthodoxy. Even pre-axial people had an implicit catholicity that was lost in the post-Constantinian church, as bishops fought over the formulation of doctrine. We see something of a renewal of catholicity in the Middle Ages, as the Church moved beyond the Arian controversy, but the scars of Nicea remain with us even today.575

Catholicity came undone after the Middle Ages and maybe even before then. Once heliocentrism became the accepted cosmological model, catholicity was reduced from a consciousness of the whole to a level of individual concern and personal salvation.837

Emergence is produced by a combination of causes or events but cannot be regarded as the sum of their individual effects. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary stresses the factor of newness in one of its definitions: “appearing as or involving the appearance of something novel in a process of evolution.” Philip Clayton defines emergence as “genuinely new properties which are not reducible to what came before, although they are continuous with it.”35 He writes: “Emergent properties are those that arise out of some subsystem but are not reducible to that system. Emergence is about more than but not altogether other than. . . . Emergence means that the world exhibits a recurrent pattern of novelty and irreducibility.”36 Something is constituted from components in such a way that it has new properties which are not reducible to the properties of the components.371191

Cosmic evolution repeatedly includes unpredictable, irreducible, and novel appearances.42 Clayton states that emergence is everywhere, beginning with the Big Bang. He writes: “Once there was no universe and then, after the Big Bang, there was an exploding world of stars and galaxies. Once the earth was unpopulated and later it was teeming with primitive life forms. Once there were apes living in trees and then there were Mozart, Einstein and Gandhi.”43 Emergence is a combination of holism with novelty in a way that contrasts with both physical reductionism and dualism. It is irreducible novelty of increasing complexity in nature and underscores the fact that time is irreversible; in nature, there is no turning back.1226

Survival depends on sharing, which explains why both humans and animals are exquisitely sensitive to fair divisions. Experiments show that monkeys, dogs and some social birds reject rewards inferior to those of a companion performing the same task; chimpanzees and humans go even further by moderating their share of joint rewards to prevent frustration in others. We owe our sense of fairness to a long history of mutualistic cooperation.46 We are relational beings through and through, and our primal relation is to the whole, including family, community, nation, globe, and planet earth.1246

We emerge from the whole; we belong to the whole; and we are endowed with the capacity to evolve to higher levels of complexity and consciousness. Nature reveals intrinsic wholeness, but the whole is not constrained by biological life; rather, on the level of the human person the whole is open to becoming more whole, oriented to transcend itself, as life stretches toward absolute unity.1253

We previously thought that matter is composed of atoms. Now we know that atoms are composed of electrons, and electrons are simultaneously waves and particles. As a consequence of the wave-like aspects of reality, atoms do not have any shape, that is, a solid outline in space, but the things they form do have shape; the constituents of matter, the elementary particles, are not in the same sense real as the real things that they constitute. Rather, left to themselves they exist in a world of possibilities, “between the idea of a thing and a real thing,”as Heisenberg wrote.7 Instead of imagining a set of billiard balls in a box, imagine a group of electrons bouncing around in a box. Because electrons are waves and particles, their wave aspects will interfere with one another; they will overlap and merge, drawing the electrons into an existential relationship whereby their actual inner qualities such as mass, charge, and spin, as well as their position and momentum, become indistinguishable from the relationship among them. All properties of the electrons are affected by the relationship; in fact, they cease to be separate things and become parts of a whole. The whole will, as a whole, possess definite properties of mass, charge, and spin, but it is completely indeterminate as to which constituent electrons are contributing to this whole. Indeed, it is no longer meaningful to talk of the constituent electrons’ individual properties, as these continually change to meet the requirements of the whole. This kind of internal relationship exists only in quantum systems and has been called relational holism.81420

Quantum mechanics means that quantum-level “matter” is not very “material.” In place of billiard balls we have patterns of active relationships, electrons and photons, mesons and nucleons, that tease us with their elusive double lives as their position, momentum, particle, wave, mass, and energy all change in response to one another and to the environment. The paradigm of quantum physics is wave-particle duality, but this description of matter as wave-particle duality is metaphorical or, better, analogical for mathematical formulas in science. The formulas do not describe the behavior of a single particle-wave in isolation, but rather the way the system operates as a whole; the parts cannot be separated from the whole. The terms particle and wave are expressions of different types of measurement and are not properties that the underlying quantum reality possesses independent of the measurements. A particle is understood as the location in a specific position, and thus the actualization of one of the possible positions given by the wave function. The wave is a wave of probability of places (energy states) in which the electron might be found. The wave-particle duality of matter can be described as relationship-existence. Quantum relationships create something new by drawing together things that were initially separate and individual. Consciousness is the pattern of active relationship, the “wave side” of the wave-particle duality. Consciousness is relationality that includes communication and the flow of information. The flow of information is the creative relationship made possible by overlapping waves or perhaps, we can say, overlapping energy states. The relationality of these energy states would account for a flow of information or information processing.10 As more electron waves overlap, consciousness increases. Two electrons whose wave functions are overlapping cannot be reduced to the individual characteristics of the two electrons; the two have become one new whole so that the relationship between the waves cannot be reduced to the activity of the vibrating molecules. An analogy that might be helpful here is the experience of love. The bond between two persons is so deeply personal, like a third person, that it cannot be reduced to the two uniting persons. Similarly, the bond between two electron waves is a third that cannot be reduced to the electrons. What we need to keep in mind is that overlapping waves are not exactly neighbor electrons, as if two electrons live next door to each other and share space. Rather, in the quantum world, elementary particles can act without delay on each other, no matter how far apart they are. The quantum world is a continuous dance of energy in which relationships form reality.

At the foundation of physical reality, the nature of material things reveals itself as nonmaterial, that is, quantum virtual states. At the level of elementary particles, idea-like states become matter-like. Non-locality refers to the non-separability of reality. Two quantum particles that at one time interact and then move away from each other are forever bonded and act as though they were one thing regardless of the distance between them.11 The material world is non-local. If reality is non-local, that is, if things can affect one another despite distance or space-time coordinates, then nature is not composed of material substances but deeply entangled fields of energy; the nature of the universe is undivided wholeness. Because our consciousness has emerged from this wholeness and continues to be part of it, then what accounts for the human mind is active in the universe. Quantum relationships create something new by drawing together things that were initially separate and individual. Such relationship is both the origin and meaning of the mental side of life.12 Whereas consciousness is the wave side, physicality originates in the particle side of that duality. The information that flows from wave-overlapping organizes particles into matter and, in turn, into form, resulting in physical…1440

Catholicity, as the Greeks first conceived it, may be the best word to describe our universe today, since from the beginning it is a web of consciousness and undivided wholeness.1480

Zohar writes: “What is interesting is that the many parts that go to make up an ordered system not only behave as a whole, they become whole; their identities merge or overlap in such a way that they lose their individuality entirely.”14 One body, one whole, one unified field of energy. Doesn’t this sound like the “body of Christ”?1483

For Teilhard, life is “a specific effect of matter turned complex; a property that is present in the entire cosmic stuff.”16 Teilhard considered matter and consciousness not as “two substances” or “two different modes of existence, but as two aspects of the same cosmic stuff.” From the Big Bang onward there is a “withinness” and “withoutness,” or what he called radial energy and tangential energy.17 The universe orients itself toward intelligent, conscious, self-reflective life. Teilhard indicated that life cannot be considered in the universe any longer as a superficial accident but, rather, must be considered to be under pressure everywhere—ready to burst from the smallest crack no matter where in the universe—and, once actualized, is incapable of not using every opportunity and means to arrive at the extreme of its potentiality, externally of complexity, and internally of consciousness.18 Ken Wilbur states that every level of interior consciousness is accompanied by a level of exterior physical complexity; as physical complexity rises, so too does consciousness.1496

As evolution proceeds to even more complex structures such as the human brain with its neocortex, consciousness expands to a world-centric awareness of “all of us” and a transcendent awareness of a divine Other.19 Thus, the greater the exterior levels of physical complexity, the greater the interior levels of consciousness.1507

The whole of life, from the Big Bang onward, is the emergence of mind or consciousness. A system is conscious if it can communicate or process information that, in turn, serves as its organizational function. Anything capable of self-organizing possesses a level of consciousness.

But, of course, this raises a question of whether there is a distinction between the consciousness of living and nonliving things? Can we speak of a stone as being conscious? Ilya Prigogine, whose work on complex, dynamical systems won him the Nobel Prize, said that communication or consciousness exists even in chemical reactions where molecules know, in some way, what the other molecules will do even over macroscopic distances. Throughout all of life there is creative dialogue between matter and consciousness; neither is reducible to the other and, yet, neither can function without the other. Teilhard writes: There is no doubt: the so-called brute matter is certainly animated in its own way. . . . Atoms, electrons, elementary particles, whatever they may be if they be anything at all outside of us, must have a rudiment of immanence; i.e., a spark of consciousness. Before on this planet the physic-chemical conditions allowed the birth of organic life, the universe was either not yet anything in itself, or it had already formed a nebula of consciousness.211513

Ultimately, we can trace our consciousness back to a special kind of relationship that exists wherever two bosons meet, to their propensity to bind together, to overlap, to bunch together, and to share an identity; to super-socialize. According to scientist Fritz Popp, the difference between a living and nonliving system is the radical increase in the occupation number of the electronic levels.22 In living systems photons are exponentially more bunched together or squashed into a coherent Bose-Einstein condensate; in nonliving systems they are less tightly packed. The difference of consciousness between living and nonliving is one of degree not principle.231524

Joseph Bracken suggests that mind is the place where synthesizing activity occurs. Mind is itself an instance of an activity that is going on everywhere in the universe at the same time. To reflect upon the mind as an instance of pure activity is to gain an insight into the nature or deeper reality of the universe as a whole. In Bracken’s view, “Creativity is at work in atoms and molecules unconsciously, even as it is at work both consciously and unconsciously in the workings of the human mind.”24 Life evolves in the biosphere, not from nothing but from the actualization of virtual states whose order exists long before it is actualized.1533

acknowledge the presence of Mind in the universe as an intrinsic aspect of all things in space and time. The Mind or consciousness that permeates nature is the same flow of activity that each of us inherits in a unique way. In and through our minds we are part of an undivided whole that is our home, the cosmos.1548

Human consciousness depends not only on a particular region in the brain, however, but also on its complexity. Brain complexity is a function of the degree of interconnectedness, which is increased exponentially through feedback and feed-forward loops. Of the brain’s 1014 neurons, some 107 are sensitive enough to register quantum-level phenomena at any one time.28 The human brain is a collection of nerve cells that operates like a multilayered frequency receptor. Due to initial conditionings early in life, each receptor becomes wired to perceive a particular wave frequency. As the brain’s receptors tune in to a particular pattern of frequency waves, a pattern-recognition response is received by the brain and interpreted according to the perceptions allotted to the frequency. In other words, the act of tuning in involves picking up familiar frequency patterns out of the ocean of frequencies that surround us constantly.1555

By tuning in to the same patterns again and again, we reinforce a particular reality set. We are thus tuning in to a consensus reality pattern unconsciously and forming our perceptions continually from this. Unfamiliar patterns often get ignored, because they do not fall within our receptor limit. Perceptions are thus formed moment by moment as the brain constantly scans the bands of frequencies that surround us; yet, we are often unaware that we are filtering from a limited set of perceptual patterns. However, if this pattern-recognition behavior does not evolve over time, our perceptual development is in danger of becoming stalled. The result is that we become fixed—or trapped—within a particular reality.1563

To overcome our Cartesian anxiety of dualistic thinking, we need to shift our focus from objects to relationships. Only then can we realize that identity, individuality, and autonomy do not imply separateness and independence but rather interdependence. The discovery of the quantum phenomena has established a new covenant between the human mind and the mindlike background of the universe. It is now possible to see that the human mind recapitulates Mind or consciousness in the universe. We are part of a creative whole of unlimited potential whereby our self and our world are constantly drawn into new existence together. In the words of Albert Einstein: A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe’; a part limited in time and space. One experiences oneself . . . as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of one’s consciousness [emphasis added]. . . . Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.361598

If we are part of a whole, then religion tells us about the whole; it gives meaning and direction to the whole. It is on the level of mind or consciousness that religion is awakened in us. We reach a level of consciousness where we are not alone; divinity is at the heart of life itself. How we respond to this divine lure is how we live in the dynamic energy of catholicity.1608

5 Scientists now speculate that the universe began when a star in a four-dimensional universe collapsed to form a black hole; that is, our universe may have emerged from a parent universe that collapsed into a black hole. See Niayesh Afshhordi, Robert B. Mann, and Razieh Pourhasen, “The Black Hole at the Beginning of Time,” Scientific American (August 2014): 38–43.1618

Jesus emerged by way of evolution, just as you and I did. The carbon in his body came from the stars, and the elements in his blood were first in the explosion of the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. His distant ancestors, like ours, were the ancient primitive cyanobacteria that blanketed earthly life about 3.8 billion years ago. Jesus was born as a particular baby and given a particular name. He learned to walk and talk and “grew in wisdom” (Lk 2:40). Gerhard Lohrfink describes Jesus as a faithful Jew who strove to restore the Tribe of Israel—not to start a new religion.1 Jesus was a “strange attractor,” a new pattern of religious life amid an established pattern of Jewish customs and laws. The term strange attractor comes from chaos theory. It describes a basin of attraction that is both within a system and yet different from the system. Jesus was a Jewish prophet and teacher whose radical teaching on the immanent presence of God gave rise to a new, strange pattern of life that was shocking to the Jews and puzzling to those who knew his family: “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” (Mt 13:55), they asked. Something about Jesus was outrageous and unique, a new way of living the Torah unlike anything ever seen before. The strange attraction of Jesus’s life lured those around him into new patterns of relationship centered in the in-dwelling presence of God. A Jewish carpenter hardly seems likely to be the prophet of the messianic kingdom, but indeed, the life of Jesus is the paradox of God’s wisdom. He emerged on the scene from the small town of Nazareth, boldly walked in the Temple on the Sabbath, and took the elder rabbis by surprise, announcing that the prophecy of Isaiah was being fulfilled in their midst (Lk 4:21). Jesus embodied a radical spirit of newness and creativity, a new direction of religious energy centered in God. He was radically caught up in an all-embracing relationship with the living God and addressed God as “Abba,” a title expressing intimacy, boundless trust, and commitment. As a practicing Jew, he likely recited the Shema twice a day: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is One. . . . You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.” His deep, God-centeredness was the source and secret of his being, message and manner of life. He had “an immediate awareness of God as a power cherishing people and making them free,” a God of personal love and liberation.2

Jesus expressed the liberating engagement of God with the world using the ancient Hebrew idea of the kingdom of God or the reign of God, which, in the time of Jesus, could mean liberation from Roman occupation or, for the Pharisee, faithfulness to the law of God. However, Jesus took religion out of the abstract and dogmatic and placed it in the concrete flesh and blood of human persons. His message was one of vision, reflected in his frequent use of words such as behold, look, see—“the kingdom of heaven is among you” (Lk 17:21). To see is an act of consciousness; it brings what is seen into conscious reality. Jesus’s desire to see required an open heart. It was not simply to “take a look”; rather, he called his disciples to gaze, to have an inner spaciousness of the heart to receive another into it. Denis Edwards writes that “the kingdom is God’s future, but it is a future anticipated in the healing, liberating ministry of Jesus . . . a future already present in all the good that ordinary women and men do, in every act of genuine love and in every work of peace and justice.”3 To see with new eyes and to realize a new wholeness emerging through God’s in-breaking love is to be part of God’s creative Spirit through prayer, community, and prophetic action.1690

Jesus’s Catholicity

At the beginning of his public ministry Jesus underwent baptism by John the Baptist, placing him in the charismatic and prophetic stream of Judaism. His baptism symbolized his mission and was a sign of his deep God-centeredness. Shortly afterward he was led into the wilderness where he was tempted to forgo his mission. His temptations in the desert showed his deep humanity, as he struggled between fear and trust, reliance on self and reliance on God. The themes of trust and surrender weave throughout the stories of Jesus, interspersed with the social and political crises of his day. The Torah gave meaning and direction to Jewish life, but to be faithful to the Torah was difficult because of the Roman occupation, with its pagan practices, political corruption, and exploitative taxation. Many people were displaced from their land and unemployed because of Roman taxation; further, the Roman officials were often insensitive to Jewish religious duties, including tithing, and could be extraordinarily brutal in punishment. Edwards writes: In response to the Roman occupation it seemed important to close ranks and resist assimilation. A high value was placed upon keeping oneself separate from all that was unclean. In first century Palestine it seemed the way of survival as well as the way of fidelity. Each of the major renewal groups in Palestine, the Essenes, the Pharisees and the revolutionary movement, intensified, in its own way, the idea of separation from all that was unclean. The main sanction against those who did not conform to the code of separation from all that was unclean was to ostracize the offenders, and deny them table fellowship.4 Jesus began his mission by announcing the dawn of a new age, a new humanity unified in the love of God and committed to the reign of God. He challenged the social pattern of exclusivity and sought to replace it with the values of compassion and mercy. His inner oneness with God became manifest on the level of community, where he sought to overcome divisions by giving priority to men and women as coequal in God’s reign and by empowering the poor, lowly, and marginalized. The reign of God is not an abstract ideal, he indicated, but a concrete reality. It begins with a consciousness of God and a desire to live in accord with God’s law of love. Jesus’s deep oneness with God empowered his sense of catholicity, a non-dual consciousness of belonging to the whole and the whole belonging to God. He lived from this wholeness by going “all over Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing people from every kind of disease and sickness” (Mt 4:23). He constantly challenged others to see, to awaken to the presence of God, and to be part of an undivided whole, the kingdom (or “kin-dom”) of God, where Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, male and female are invited as equals to the divine banquet. Jesus internalized the Torah so that obedience to God was not dutifully following the law but the human heart centered in God. He challenged those who claimed to see but were blinded by their own ambitions and addiction to power, leading them to “bind up heavy loads and put them on the shoulders of men and women” (Mt 23:4). He chastised those who substituted legalism for charity, looked down on others, or separated themselves from others as if they were superior (see Lk 18:9–11). Instead, he ate with outcasts and sinners (Mk 2:15) and accepted those declared untouchable as friends, revealing God’s merciful love. The Gospels consistently show Jesus’s outreach to the economically poor and oppressed; to those who were diseased, disabled, or possessed; and to society’s outcasts, including prostitutes, tax collectors, and other public sinners. Over and over again in the Gospels we see Jesus criticized by those who burdened the poor and defenseless and who wielded power over others: “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you” (Mt 21:31). He reached out to…1719


His gospel “be-attitude” of poverty is a way of being inwardly free, liberated from the enslavement of possessions, and therefore alive to the beauty of the goodness of things throughout all reality. Happy are those who are inwardly free, unencumbered by preoccupations, anxieties, and material things. Blessed are those who have inner space to see and receive what they see into their lives, for those who can see the truth of reality already know heaven. Heaven unfolds when we see things for what they are, not what we think they should be, and when we love others for who they are, and not what we expect them to be. The catholicity of Jesus’s message is this: we are to realize the whole we are part of and to love the whole; to find a conscious voice of praise and glory to God in the whole; and to participate creatively in this unfolding reign of God.1762


His Jewish renewal program transcended the Greek cosmos and ushered in a new cosmos, a new order of life centered in the wellspring of divine love; a new cosmic family, a new household of relationships where the members are mothers, sisters, and brothers. Interestingly, Edwards notes, “Fathers are not mentioned and the disciples are instructed: ‘Call no one on earth your father’ (Mt 23:8–12). With a God who was Abba, there was apparently no place in the new community for the role of the patriarchal father.”6 This radically new community under God is like a new Big Bang, a new whole that requires a new level of consciousness and participation. In Jesus we see not only a new direction but a new catholicity.1771


The Book of Nature The problem of wholeness, in Jesus’s view, is a human one. Nonhuman nature shows us what it means to belong to God’s creation, and Jesus asks us to contemplate nature in its holiness: “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these” (Lk 12:27). Nature lives according to the law of wholeness; everything participates in the whole. Shared life is natural life. Thomas Merton writes: “The little yellow flowers that nobody notices on the edge of the road are saints looking up into the face of God.”7 We humans are caught up in the drive for mastery and success, addicted to power and control. We are blind and full of ourselves, running after false idols. We treat the world as an object for our use and dispense with everything that is in the way of our agendas. We are good at unraveling relationships by brute force and power. We are a most uncatholic species; we prefer self-interest over the interest of others, the law over the spirit, sowing where we do not reap and condemning without mercy. If nature is an evolving whole, the human person is constantly threatening to destroy the whole. This is sin: consciously to disrupt or sever what is otherwise part of the whole. Jesus saw that all life is shared life. He went out of his way to emphasize the all-inclusiveness of God’s merciful love, and he tried, at every opportunity, to raise the level of consciousness to a higher level, in order to attract a new wholeness.1777


to the constant scandal of the morally separatist and righteous, Jesus made a habit of associating with people, such as tax-collectors and even prostitutes, whom his society considered sinners (Matt 9:10).8 His law of love is the law of the whole. His acts of healing expressed God’s compassionate love for the wounded of this world, showing that God desires to liberate us from suffering, if we desire to be made whole. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked the blind man, Bartimeus. “Rabbi, I want to see,” he said. “Go, your faith has healed you” (Mk 10:49–51). God’s desire for healing must be our desire for healing, just as God’s desire for unity must be our desire for unity. Salvation is not a spiritual grace alone; it is a physical and bodily healing that “embraces health, sanity, relationships, community and wholeness.”9 God’s healing love embraces the whole of reality, but one must be receptive to God’s love for wholeness to be realized. To follow Jesus is to be a wholemaker, essentially to love the world into new being and life. But the message of Jesus was grossly misunderstood, distorted, and turned against him in an effort to destroy him. His radical message of love and forgiveness was conflictual in the Jewish community and ushered in his untimely and brutal death at the hands of Roman torturers. Jesus wept over those who were hard of heart (see Lk 19:41–44); he wept for those who were blind, self-righteous, full of themselves, judgmental, critical, and addicted to power. He publicly chastised the blindness of the Pharisees: “If you were blind you would have no sin but because you say you see your sin remains” (Jn 9:40). That is, if you lived with a consciousness of Omega and saw the presence of God in others, you would not judge so harshly or condemn others, but since you are unconscious of the humility of God and insist that God judges from above, then you bring judgment upon yourself because you destroy the whole and, by destroying the whole, you destroy yourself. Blindness divides the whole into thousands of little pieces that God cannot repair without our consent and cooperation. Death and Dying into Love Jesus’s catholicity was a new consciousness and a new cosmos, a living banquet of life empowered by God. His program of life was not only to be attentive to the whole, of which each of us is a part, but to create a new whole by receiving the Spirit, the life-giving energy of God, and participate in the emerging “kin-dom” of mutuality and shared life. We might call the way of Jesus not only the gospel life but creative catholicity. For too long we have interpreted the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus as the reparation for sin. Medieval theology focused attention on original sin and the fall of Adam and Eve. The need to repair fallen creation and restore humanity to God became the reason for the incarnation.10 The story of Adam and Eve, however, was constructed against the background of the static, fixed Ptolemaic cosmos. It was a way of explaining evil and death in the patristic era. We simply do not live in a static, fixed cosmos. We live in an evolutionary and self-organizing cosmos where each person is co-extensive with the entire universe.11 Ours is not a “fallen” humanity but a “deep” humanity, embedded in nature from the Big Bang onward. While original sin no longer makes sense as an act of disobedience in an otherwise perfect creation, we might interpret the “Adamic” disconnect (the entire Homo sapiens species) as the power to say “no” (I will not obey). The human person is distinguished by self-reflective consciousness and symbolic language; hence, the human is the first in cosmic history consciously to reject God and thus participation in the undivided wholeness of being. The human “no” is the act of symbolic self-assertion and independence that disrupts nature’s catholicity. Fifth-century theologian Maximus the Confessor said that Adam’s “no” was the peak of human freedom.12 Adam thought that only a person who can…1794


The opposites of God and world are so fixed in our dualistic mentality that we cannot fathom that the power of God is shown in the powerlessness of the cross. But this is the incarnational mystery and the power of evolution. Cardinal Walter Kasper writes: The cross is not a de-divinization of God but the revelation of the divine God. . . . God need not strip himself of his omnipotence in order to reveal his love. On the contrary, it requires omnipotence to be able to surrender oneself and give oneself away; and it requires omnipotence to be able to take oneself back in the give and to preserve the independence and freedom of the recipient. Only an almighty love can give itself wholly to the other and be a helpless love. . . . God on the cross shows himself as the one who is free in love and as freedom in love.151859


God is radically involved with the world, empowering the world toward fullness in love, but God is unable to bring about this fullness without the cooperation of humans. Human and divine cannot co-create unto the fullness of life without death as an integral part of life. Isolated, independent existence must be given up in order to enter into broader and potentially deeper levels of existence. Bonaventure speaks of life in God as a “mystical death,” a dying into love: “Let us, then, die and enter into the darkness; let us impose silence upon our cares, our desires and our imaginings. With Christ Crucified let us pass out of this world to the Father.”16 The wisdom of the cross reveals the wisdom of God; it shatters all other forms of knowledge and opens one up to a depth of life that is lasting and true. Jesus’s self-gift, born into freedom on the cross, symbolizes the type of life that contributes to the fullness of life up ahead: “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single grain of wheat but if dies it produces an abundant harvest” (Jn 12:24). The paradox of Jesus’s message still eludes us. In the Christian view death is not the end but beginning of the absolute wholeness of life. To refuse death—even the “little deaths” of personal differences, career disappointments, or loss of loved ones—is to die. Every time we grab and grip, holding tightly so as to control completely, we kill the whole by snuffing out the Spirit. The refusal of the many deaths along the way is rejection of the Spirit. We suffocate the life of the Spirit within us by controlling the space around1867


To say “I will not die” is to die. To be willing to die by surrendering to the freedom of the Spirit is to live forever. Jesus knew that every choice is a thousand renunciations. Through his own conscious “yes” to the ultimate costliness of life, he shows us that it takes all that we have and all that we are for a new creative wholeness of life to emerge. God suffers the sufferings of this age out of an abundance of love, and only a consciousness of one’s freedom in love can help transform the sufferings of this world into the peace of God’s “kin-dom.” Only by dying into God can we become one with God, letting go of everything that hinders us from God. Clare of Assisi spoke of the “mirror of the cross” in which she saw in the tragic death of Jesus our own human capacity for violence and, yet, our great capacity for love.171879

In the mirror of the cross we see what it means to share in divine power. To find oneself in the mirror of the cross is to see the world not from the foot of the cross but from the cross itself. How we see is how we love, and what we love is what we become.1888


For a brief moment Christians rejoice—and then daily life goes on, as if God is not really involved in what we do. Belief in the resurrection does not empower us to create new wholes, to live with a higher consciousness of wholemaking, or to surrender ourselves into the arms of love. Can we understand the resurrection in light of the new science? Can new insights on matter and energy create within us a new consciousness of catholicity? A quantum understanding of immortality may shed new light on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the quantum view a person is a constellation of relationships, inner and outer: the degree of one’s relationships extends throughout space-time and endures in those who live on. Belief in the resurrection of Jesus undergirds the fact that life creates the universe, not the other way around. Space and time are not absolute; rather, they are “tools” of our mind to help organize our world. Death and immortality exist in a world without spatial or linear boundaries. Every act of physical death is an act of new life in the universe. The resurrection of Jesus reveals to us new cosmic life. Death is not the end; our bodies do not become dust, while the soul goes to heaven. Rather, through the lens of quantum physics, we now realize that death is the collapse of our “particle” aspect of life into the “wave” dimension of our relatedness.1894


Resurrection means that we too will live on to the extent that we live now; that is, to the extent that we focus our passion, loyalty, and care to family, friends, community, nation, to transcend ourselves in love. The magnitude of our relatedness is the breadth of our lives, and the degree to which we live on in the evolution of life.1915


To live eternal life is to live in the now unconditionally and wholeheartedly, to lose ourselves for the sake of love. The resurrection of Jesus Christ anticipates the destiny of the cosmos—a new field of theandric energy embracing the cosmos.19 If the resurrection anticipates our future in God, then the one who is raised from the dead shows the kind of future God intends. The resurrection happens in the present moment, but it is a present moment bathed in future, a new relationship with God, a new union, a new wholeness—a new catholicity—by which life is wholly unified.1917


Baptism and Eucharist as Entanglement A quantum understanding of the resurrection of Jesus Christ helps us renew a sacramental sense of participating in creative wholemaking underlying the emerging “kin-dom” of God. We might consider the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist as quantum entanglement with the life of Jesus. The term entanglement comes from quantum physics; it is based on the interaction of particles and the enduring bond between them after their separation. Entanglement is known as non-local action at a distance. It means that once two parties interact, they are bound together forever and can affect each other. Each particle can affect the other directly and reciprocally despite spatial distance. Baptism is initiation into entanglement whereby human life enters into the theandric (divine-human energies) complex so that a person becomes part of the cosmotheandric whole. We are, in a sense, “grafted” onto God in a way that our life is now part of God’s life and God’s life is part of our life; we “put on” Christ. Melito of Sardis (c. 165) spoke of all creation participating in a “cosmic baptism” as part of the sacramental life: If you wish to observe the heavenly bodies being baptized, make haste now to the Ocean, and there I will show you a strange sight. If you look there you will see the heavenly bodies being baptized. At the end of the day, they make haste to the Ocean, there to go down into the waters, into the outspread sea, and boundless main, and infinite deep, and immeasurable Ocean, and pure water. The sun sinks into the sea, and when it has been bathed in symbolic baptism, it comes up exultantly from the waters, rising as a new sun, purified from the bath. What the sun does, so do the stars and moon. They bathe in the sun’s swimming pool like good disciples. By this baptism, sun, moon and stars are soaking up pure brilliance.201922


a conscious “yes” to Omega-love, bearing witness to this love, rendering love for love, and thus participating in the evolution of Christ.21 In this respect, baptism is not something done to us; it is done by us, a willing consent to be affected by God, as God seeks to evolve life toward greater unity in love. Through baptism we are to be more consciously aware of a new power at the heart of our lives and at the heart of the universe, the power of the risen Christ, the invasion of the present by what is yet to come. To be baptized is to give oneself wholeheartedly to this unfolding reality. The eyes of the baptized are called to see Christ as the innermost center of the universe and to sacramentalize this reality through the celebration of the Eucharist. Jesus left us a memorial of his life by sharing his body and blood in a way that we would “re-member” or be “membered to” his life, creating and widening the fields of love, mercy, and compassion: “Do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:19). Jesus’s “Do this in memory of me” are words of entanglement, saying that my life affects your life, and your life affects my life—we are mutually and reciprocally related. By celebrating the sacrament of the Eucharist we are not simply saying thank you to God, as if saying, “how nice of you to remember me.” Eucharist means being an active participant in the cosmic body of Christ, a body evolving unto fullness, the cosmic Person, through the rise of consciousness and unity in love. Jesus’s memorial is an invitation to be “membered to” the life of God in and through the concrete realities of this world, to suffer through the “no’s” and rejections of human relationships into the “yes” of God’s love. It calls us to a new level of consciousness and to new levels of relatedness by which energy fields of mercy, compassion, peacemaking, forgiveness, and charity are formed in and through us. The concept of morphogenetic fields is helpful to appreciate the eucharistic life as a field of energized patterns drenched with divinity.1939


Biologist Rupert Sheldrake postulated that repetitive behavior creates informational fields that can influence similar behavior in an unrelated area. These morphogenetic fields are formative fields that carry information and are available throughout time and space without any loss of intensity after they have been created. According to Sheldrake, these fields of habitual patterns link all people. The more people have a habit or pattern—whether of knowledge, perception, or behavior—the stronger it is in the field and the more easily it replicates in a new person (or entity).22 As more and more people learn or do something, it becomes easier for others to learn or do it.23 A eucharistic community is a morphogenetic field of gospel values; that is, the community itself has a pattern of relatedness that reflects the life of Jesus. As new members engage in the community, the pattern widens and the bonds deepen so that a field of resonance strengthens, making it possible for others outside the community to tap into these gospel values. When the sacramental life of baptism and Eucharist is reduced to duties and obligations, we are in the Newtonian world of lifeless, inert matter in which the sacramental life is nothing more than dutiful obligations.1954


Theologian John Dourley speaks of recovering a wider sense of the holy by which humanity births a new myth of the co-redemption of the divine and human in one single and historically prolonged process.24 Divinity and humanity have, from the birth of consciousness, been opposites united in an ongoing process of mutual redemption. Both divinity and humanity are related to each other from the outset and attain the completion of their respective consciousness in the reciprocity of their relationship. For both, a new moral imperative is implicit in this dialectic. Morality is no longer an arbitrary imposition by a God foreign to the fabric of humanity. For both, the basis of morality lies in the human task of making God real and conscious in historical processes through ushering into human consciousness that divinity which appears to become more fully real and responsible to it. Because divine and human are always opposites in tension, the Spirit reconciles the coincidence of opposites constitutive of divine and human life. The symbolic relation of the Father to the Son corresponds to the relation of unconscious to consciousness. The incarnation is the consciousness of God entering into unconscious matter and raising it to consciousness. In the Spirit the opposites of God and world are beyond the threat of dissolution; hence, divine life, intensely alive in the interplay of its polarities, rests always in Spirit-filled resolution beyond disintegration.251965


God’s revelation continues to transcend itself in and through us until the warring absolutes of divinity and humanity are resolved in higher forms of consciousness and compassion. This is the work of the Spirit, by which the opposites of God are beyond the threat of dissolution. The Spirit raises the unconscious christic life to the consciousness of being part of a whole, oriening one’s life to the whole, so that “holiness” is consciousness of belonging to God-Omega. To be entangled with Jesus Christ is to live in the fields of love and compassion, contributing to the mutual completion of God and humanity in the future pleroma. We are drawn to surrender our separate selves and to be part of a greater whole in the evolution of love.1981


When the spirit of catholicity emerged in the life of Jesus, it did so in tension with the world around him: “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn 18:36). There seems to be constant tension between Jesus and his surrounding community because his radical message of love, justice, and inclusivity placed the spirit of love over the duty of law. Jesus, the strange attractor, was within the Jewish community and yet different from it. The gospel writers interpreted the words of Jesus in view of their prevailing cosmology.2043


The greatest obstacle to a more unified, just, and peaceful world is a religious belief that God and world are in conflict2065


Teilhard de Chardin believed that “we can be saved only by becoming one with the universe.”3 The problem, as he saw it, is the inability to resolve the conflict between the traditional God of revelation and the “new” God of evolution or to see salvation as becoming one with the universe.2068


urged Christians to participate in the process of Christogenesis, to risk, get involved, aim toward union with others, for the entire creation is waiting to give birth to God. He opposed a static Christianity that isolates its followers instead of merging them with the masses, imposing on them a burden of observances and obligations, and causing them to lose interest in the common task. “Do we realize that if we are to influence the world it is essential that we share in its drive, in its anxieties and its hopes?”7 We are not only to recognize evolution but to make it continue in ourselves.8 We are to “christify” the world by immersing ourselves in it, plunging our hands into the soil of the earth and touching the roots of life. Union with God is not withdrawal or separation from the activity of the world but a dedicated, integrated, and sublimated absorption into it.9 Before, he said, the Christian thought that he or she could attain God only by abandoning everything. Now he writes, “We must make our way to heaven through earth.102080


“leave all and follow me” does not mean leaving the world but rather returning to the world with new vision and a deeper conviction to take hold of Christ in the heart of matter and to further Christ in the universality of his incarnation.112092


The Christian of today must gather from the body all the spiritual power it contains, and not only from the personal body but from the whole immense cosmic body that is the world stuff in evolution. We are to harness the energies of love for the forward movement of evolution toward the fullness of Christ. This means to live from the center of the heart where love grows and to reach out to the world with faith, hope, and trust in God’s incarnate presence. The Christian is one who sees the world in its divine depth, which is shown precisely in the worldliness of human activities and earthly affairs. This means to be conscious of the larger dimension of our efforts, laboring in the midst of the world, so that our activities become part of the unfolding of the earth process itself. Human activity is to benefit all of life, human and nonhuman, seeing in nonhuman creation the inherent dignity of all creatures and our mutual relatedness to all created things. Teilhard’s mysticism of action calls for oneness of heart with God. Heaven is the place of God, and earth is the place of heaven: heaven and earth are two sides of the same conjugate. We are called to make our way to heaven through earth. Heaven is not an otherworldly world but this world clearly seen. Paul Tillich writes: “In the midst of the old creation there is a New Creation, and this New Creation is manifest in Jesus who is called the Christ.”13 To enter the new creation, we must be grasped by it and surrender to it. Sacrifice is part of the costliness of life and of life in evolution. Mary Evelyn Tucker describes a backward movement or entropy phase and a forward movement or energy phase in evolution. The presence of evil in the cosmic order is part of the fragmentation or multiplicity that must be overcome in the movement toward greater unity. She writes: “Events such as natural disasters, sickness, and tragedies are part of the groping of nature including the human to fulfill its deepest purposes.” Struggle provides a stimulating value for self-transcendence. Tucker continues: “Without the limits of struggle there can be no heroic potential of the human to overcome his or her particularity.”14 In an essay entitled “The Significance and Positive Value of Suffering,” Teilhard ingeniously turns suffering inside out, from the dark, sinful curse of God to the power of human energy to unite what is fragmented and incomplete, transforming the scattered pieces of life into a greater unity. He sees suffering as a higher form of creativity, releasing tremendous energy that enkindles creative union. Human suffering, the sum total of suffering poured out at each moment over the whole earth, is like an immeasurable ocean. But what makes up this immensity? Is it blackness, emptiness, barren wastes? No, indeed: it is potential energy. Suffering holds hidden within it, in extreme intensity, the ascensional force of the world. The whole point is to set this force free by making it conscious of what it is capable. . . . If all those who suffer in the world were to unite their sufferings so that the pain of the world should become one single grand act of consciousness, of sublimation, of unification, would not this be one of the most exalted forms in which the mysterious work of creation could be manifested to our eyes?15 If the whole evolutionary process, of which we are part, is a via dolorosa waiting to give birth to its fullness—a “yes” to the crushing “no” of evil forces within it—then it is because God is within this process; the whole evolution is Christ coming to be. Here, says Teilhard, we have the truth that makes us free. There is a single “mysterious divinity” moving in the world, liberating unsuspected powers, promising and delivering more being, more unity, and more freedom. It is God active in creation, embodied in the universe. The object of evolution is that God should become manifest in the world and the world should attain its final unification in God. However, this can only take place if the world is united according to…2097


Carmelite mystic Elizabeth of the Trinity (d. 1906) said that when one dwells in God on earth, one already dwells in heaven—even in the midst of life’s struggles. Hell is the absence of love, a deep internal disconnectedness that leads to self-loathing and despising others. Hell is the final rejection of self and God. We humans live between heaven and hell (we know a bit of each during our lifetime),2134


we are judged by our own actions. If I refuse to learn, I will bear the cost of ignorance and all the painful things that go with ignorance. If I choose to hurt and humiliate others out of envy, I will bear an inner darkness and all that goes with darkness. The judgment is the law of the universe that operates now and in everything. Judgment appears in the consequences of our choices such as ignorance, failure, and darkness of the mind. The judgment of a life well-lived is the radiance of love; and the radiance of our love lives on in the fields of memory, those who follow us in the evolution of Christ. The future judgment is now, where every choice marks a thousand little deaths. Heaven, hell, death, and judgment are not future events; they are present realities centered on a radical decision to love.2140


world religions are basically united on the level of human welfare but divided on human destiny. The four last things—death, judgment, heaven, and hell—mark the lines of division between world religions because the different religions are based on the same outmoded, ancient cosmology. That is, each religion has an individual line of escape because no religion has refitted its doctrine to an expanding universe and biological evolution. Religion does not make a whole in relation to the whole cosmos—nor does the cosmos impart wisdom to the whole. The refusal of monotheistic faiths to embrace modern science sustains competing theological, moral, and ethical claims and thus the artificial separation between humans and cosmos. This unnatural separation has left the earth abandoned and “unwholly.” Catholicity, as wholemaking, can best be found today in worldly activities and events. Making wholes and being part of larger wholes is behind three major cultural drivers: music, sports, and technology.2158


We are relational beings through and through. We emerge out of a web of relationships; we exist in relationships, and we long for ultimate relationships of love, peace, and happiness. We find ourselves joined together by passion when something more whole than ourselves unites us. If we could harness the energies of love in these moments of collective passion, we could create a new world together.2174


In 1997, Apple lauched a new ad campaign with the motto “think different.” The text of the ad campaign read: Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.2184


Computer power lies in the speed and quantity of processing information. Efficient computing power means the ability to solve problems and arrive at solutions in record time. Computers are now so fast that problems and calculations that used to take many years can be solved in fractions of a second. Recently introduced, the quantum computer basically doubles computing power. Quantum computing is based on quantum bits that can be in superposition states. Instead of computing power based on “0” or “1,” quantum computing is based on “0” and “1,” which means basically more information more quickly. Because of their amazing success in problem solving, computers have been integrated into practically every aspect of our lives. Ray Kurzweil and others predict that a world of intelligent silicon-based creatures will soon coexist with carbon-based creatures, both growing and evolving together.2204


Margaret Wertheim notes that artificial intelligence is spawning a philosophical shift from reality constructed of matter and energy to reality constructed on information.35 This leads to the notion that “the essence of a person can be separated from their body and represented in digital form—an immortal digital soul waiting to be freed—an idea she [Wertheim] sees as medieval dualism reincarnated.”36 A new term, cybergnosticism, has been coined to describe the “belief that the physical world is impure or inefficient, and that existence in the form of pure information is better and should be pursued.”2270


The sheer expense of advanced technology threatens to leave out the poor, the marginalized, and the earth from the next stage of evolution’s progress. Technology can enhance catholicity or simultaneously thwart it, if it has no other purpose than self-enhancement. Jaron Lanier, who coined the term virtual reality, contends that anything worthwhile in the future must be built upon compassion and empathy.39 The pros and cons of information technology cannot blur the fact that we are at a new level of shared consciousness today because of the World Wide Web. We are more aware of being a single human community than ever before in human history. José Casavova states that globalization is about a new social context and an awareness of the world as a single place that has implications for new social arrangements.40 Roland Robertson, professor of sociology at the University of Aberdeen, defined globalization in 1992 as “the compression of the world and the intensification of the consciousness of the world as a whole.”41 This emerging sense of unity carries with it an invitation to evolve together in a new way. But this is our dilemma; our emerging unity does not have a common story. Technology may afford a shared presence, but it does not necessarily support a shared future. Transhumanism claims that technology will achieve our desires, but these desires are still on the individual level, where many of us are controlled by our devices and addicted to the speed of computing power. We have become information gluttons and have a difficult time turning off our computers and devices. Ron Cole-Turner writes that technology is not out of control because it is a real power, but because “we cannot control what it is supposed to control, namely, ourselves.”42 As a result, we suffer from brain fatigue, compulsive checking disorders, increased loneliness and feelings of isolation, memory loss, impatience, irritability, computer addiction, sleep deprivation, and the list goes on. We have recognized our own capacity to invent and create ourselves, but we have no aim other than personal enhancement. Globalization promises a new wholeness, but we do not know how to harness the energies of our collective psychic and spiritual powers.2284


Kevin Kelly argues that the human quest for truth may be found not in what we discover but in what we create.432305


Teilhard de Chardin was firmly convinced that the human person is a creative center. God evolves the universe and brings it to its completion through the cooperative co-creative “great work” of human beings.2308


Human action is to help evolution advance in every field of enterprise—business, science, education, law, agriculture, social sciences, cultural and artistic pursuits—all of which are involved in a transforming process much greater than ourselves. We are not to relate to God without a world. To love God we must also love what God loves. We are called to love God in and through the world, giving birth to Christ: “Thou shalt love God in and through the genesis of the universe and of mankind.”44 To love God is to love the cosmos, the earth, the body, materiality—the stuff of life—which is one with God without being identical to God.2311


Christian love, Teilhard states, is to be dynamized, universalized, and pantheized.452316


live the good news of salvation (to evangelize) is to build one’s soul by creative engagement with the world, embracing the earth with a new zest for life, uniting that which is separate, creating new wholes, and overcoming disunity through bonds of selfless love: “The Christian is now discovering that he cannot be saved except through the universe and as a continuation of the universe.”48 Living from a deeper center within, Christians are to go about urging all reality toward the Omega, to the final synthesis that is constantly growing within them.49 Each person who awakens to a new consciousness of Christ’s universal presence discovers his or her own self-realization and full maturity in being-with-Christ. Therefore, “it does matter what the human person does, for only through his or her action can one encounter God.”502323


saw that technology had initiated the next step of evolution, the noosphere, but we must take hold of this new level of consciousness and evolve.51 The noosphere is a psycho-social process, a planetary neo-envelope essentially linked with the biosphere in which it has its root, yet is distinguished from it. It is the natural culmination of biological evolution and not a termination of it. Just as the earth once covered itself with a film of interdependent, living organisms that we call the biosphere, so humankind’s combined achievements are forming a global network of collective mind, a new intersubjectivity.2332


noosphere is a new stage for the renewal of life and not a radical break with biological life. If there is no connection between noogenesis and biogenesis, according to Teilhard, then the process of evolution has halted and man is an absurd and “erratic object in a disjointed world.”53 The noosphere is a level of shared consciousness that transcends boundaries of religion, culture, or ethnicity. It is a sphere of collective consciousness evident in the way culture is organizing itself around social networks. The age of nations has passed, Teilhard said, and unless we wish to perish, we must shake off our old prejudices and build the earth.2337


“We should consider inter-thinking humanity as a new type of organism whose destiny it is to realize new possibilities for evolving life on this planet.”54 He imagined psychic energy (or consciousness) in a continually more reflective state, giving rise to ultrahumanity.55 By “ultrahumanity” he meant more consciousness and more being through convergence and globalization. Humankind does not dissipate itself but continually concentrates upon itself.56 Hence the noosphere is a superconvergence of psychic (spiritual/mental) energy, a higher form of complexity in which the human person does not become obsolete but rather acquires more being through interconnectivity with others. Teilhard’s ultrahumanism requires humanity to enter into a new phase of its own evolution. The value of science, Teilhard indicated, can only be for the deepening of spirituality, since knowledge increases mind and mind deepens spirit. He states: “However far science pushes its discovery of the essential fire and however capable it becomes someday of remodeling and perfecting the human element, it will always find itself in the end facing the same problem—how to give to each and every element its final value by grouping them in the unity of an organized whole.”57 He saw the insufficiency of science to effect the transition to superconsciousness, that is, to effectively usher in the next stage of evolution as a higher, more “christified” stage of life. Neither science nor technology ultimately can fulfill the cosmic need to evolve. “It is not tête-à-tête or a corps-à-corps we need; it is a heart to heart.”58 Similarly, Lanier sees that technology must be combined with spirituality to form some type of collective practice that helps people become more compassionate and empathetic in society. A world grounded in love can only evolve by means of love. The noosphere is not about more information; rather, it is about “the rise of . . . a cosmic spiritual center . . . the rise of God.”59 Computer technology extends the outreach of human activity, but it depends on a broader use of human activity and how humans will control psychic, spiritual energy needs, and powers.60 In Teilhard’s words: It is not well being but a hunger for more-being which, of psychological necessity, can alone preserve the thinking earth from the taedium vitae. . . . It is upon its point (or superstructure) of spiritual concentration, and not upon its basis (or infra-structure) of material arrangement, that the equilibrium of Mankind biologically depends.61 Teilhard said that materialism can bring about well-being, but spirituality and an increase in psychic energy or consciousness bring about more being.62 Evolution in the noosphere will not happen with the impersonal but the deeply personal through convergence or the bringing together of diverse elements, organisms, and even the currents of human thought. Teilhard writes: “The future universal cannot be anything else but the hyperpersonal.”63 He coined the word ultrahumanity to describe a deepening of personhood through shared consciousness. In a sense we can assess whether or not we are on the right path with our technologies if love deepens in the human community as a unifying thread: “It is precisely this state of isolation that will end if we begin to discover in each other not merely the elements of one and the same thing, but of a single Spirit in search of Itself.”64 World Religions Teilhard’s vision of ultrahumanity requires harnessing the psychic, spiritual powers of the earth and sharing these powers in a way such that we evolve toward greater unity, that is, toward the fullness of the cosmic Christ. As we advance from individual consciousness to collective consciousness, we see that reality is a single organic evolutionary flowing. The noosphere is not simply a new level of global mind; rather, the new level of global mind, in Teilhard’s view, is the emergence of Christ. As we come together in a new level of consciousness, we have the capacity to unite in a new way. The…2348


Teilhard saw a particular role for Christianity in evolution. Christians believe that God is actively involved in the history and development of the world; therefore, Christianity is essentially a religion of progress. To be a vital religion of evolution, however, Christianity needs a new consciousness, an “option for the whole,” a new catholicity that integrates humankind’s total religious experience into a new spirituality for a new world longing to be born. Religious diversity is here to stay, and therefore religious differences must develop along new lines and lead to new attitudes. Unity is not a given; it has to grow and take shape over time. There is no religious tradition that can remain separate today and survive long into the future. That is why dialogue among religions is essential to the forward movement of life. As evolution continues and technology advances humankind, religions have to create new meaning together in the creation of a new global society of world citizens.2414


Religion is key to a new future of life. Despite doctrinal differences, religions can support one another and constitute a new unity out of their diverse doctrines. All religions call for a change of heart and preach the need for a profound transformation of self. Christianity, in particular, advocates a new creation, of making new wholes where there are existing fragments. It is a religion of evolution, because we believe in the power of new life at the heart of cosmic development, a new unity in God. Christians, however, must choose to evolve, to become conscious of what is yet unconscious and unwhole. Evolution is not driven by more information but by more being and consciousness. If we are concerned about the final things—death, judgment, heaven, and hell—we might consider that in a universe of infinite space-time these four things may be four dimensions of the one universal law of love.2421


Notes 1 “All authorities admit this word is derived from the name of the narrow, rocky valley of Hinnom just south of Jerusalem where trash, filth, and the bodies of dead animals were burned in Bible days. Here is a quote from Bible Facts by Jenny Roberts, ‘Gehenna meant “the valley of Hinnom,” and was originally a particular valley outside Jerusalem, where children were sacrificed to the god Moloch (2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chron. 28:3; Jer. 32:35). In later Jewish literature Gehenna came to be associated with a place of torment and unquenchable fire that was to be the punishment for sinners. It was thought by many that lesser sinners might eventually be delivered from the fires of Gehenna, but by New Testament times punishment for sinners was deemed to be eternal’” (Hobie, “The Bible on Hell (as Tartarus and Gehenna and Hades),”, August 15, 2009). 2 See Father Martin VonCochem, OSFC, “The Four Last Things—Death, Judgment, Hell and Heaven,” website. 3 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Christianity and Evolution, trans. René Hague (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971), 128. 4 N. Max Wildiers, “Foreword,” in ibid., 10. 5 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man, trans. Bernard Wall (New York: Harper and Row, 1959), 297. 6 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Future of Man, trans. Norman Denny (New York: Harper and Row, 1964), 309. 7 De Lubac, Teilhard de Chardin, 124. 8 Ursula King, Christ in All Things (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1997), 80. 9 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu: An Essay on the Interior Life, trans. Bernard Wall (New York: Harper and Row, 1960), 62–73. 10 Teilhard de Chardin, Christianity and Evolution, 93. 11 Ibid., 170. 12 Ibid., 49. 13 Paul Tillich, The New Being (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1955), 18. 14 Mary Evelyn Tucker, “The Ecological Spirituality of Teilhard,” Teilhard Studies 51 (Fall 2005): 14. 15 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Hymn of the Universe, trans. Simon Bartholomew (New York: Harper and Row, 1965), 93–94. 16 Paul Lachance, OFM, trans., Angela of Foligno: Selected Writings (New York: Paulist Press, 1993), 242. 17 Rabbi Jill Jacobs, “Social Justice and Climate Change,” and Al Gore, “The Importance of Jewish Climate Change Advocacy,” website. 18 Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasu Allah (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 151–52; “Islam and Looking after the Poor,” website. 19 Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs (New York: Simon and Schuster. 2011), 329–30. See Rob Siltanen, “The Real Story Behind Apple’s ‘Think Different’ Campaign,” Forbes (March 14, 2014). 20 Steven Levy, “Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s Future, From Virtual Reality to Anonymity,”; David Kirkpatrick, The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010); Lev Grossman, “Person of the Year 2010: Mark Zuckerberg,” Time (December 15, 2010). 21 Dave Mosher, “High Wired: Does Addictive Internet Use Restructure the Brain?” website. 22 Charlotte A. Tomaino, PhD, Awakening the Brain: The Neuropsychology of Grace (New York: Atria Books, 2012), 63. 23 Carl Mitcham, “The Philosophical Challenge of Technology,” American Catholic Philosophical Association Proceedings 40 (1996): 45. 24 Archimedes Carag Articulo, “Towards an Ethics of Technology: Re-Exploring Teilhard de Chardin’s Theory of Technology and Evolution,” website. 25 Nick Bostrom, “A History of Transhumanist Thought,” Journal of Evolution and Technology 14, no. 1 (April 2005): 8. 26 Ray Kurzweil, “Introduction,” in Martine Rothblatt, PhD, Virtually Human: The Promise and the Peril of Digital Immortality (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2014), 3. 27 Daniel Crevier, AI: The Tumultuous History of the Search for Artificial Intelligence (New York: Basic, 1994), 278–80. 28 Michael Benedikt, “Introduction,” in Cyberspace: First Steps, ed….2428


Jesus lived with imagination, and he preached with imagination: “Imagine a small mustard seed,” he said. “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you” (Lk 17:6). He aimed to instill imagination in his disciples so they could think the unthinkable and do the incredible. Similarly, it is helpful to imagine the Church in a new way that enkindles us to think the unthinkable and do the incredible. One way to reimagine the Church is by returning to nature and learning from nature how life can grow from a seed into a flowering tree.2595


Open systems assume that supplies of energy cannot be depleted, since energy is supplied from some source in the surrounding environment. The organization of an open system is the set of relations among its components; structure is the physical embodiment of its relational organization. Whereas classical physics is based on parts making up wholes, physicist David Bohm took relationships between parts as primary. Each part is connected with every other part at the quantum level. Thus, the whole universe is the basic reality; primacy belongs to the whole, and each part is part of the whole. Arthur Koestler proposed the word holon to describe the hybrid nature of sub-wholes and parts in living systems. A holon is something that is simultaneously a whole and a part.7 Holons exist simultaneously as self-contained wholes in relation to their subordinate parts, and dependent parts when considered from the inverse direction. In a closed system order is based on hierarchy or rank of importance, including responsibilities and power. In an open system hierarchy is related to the organization of the parts where each part is part of the whole or holons; hence, open-system organization is governed by holarchy or the integral organization of holons. A holarchy is a hierarchy of self-regulating holons in which each whole functions in supra-ordination to the parts, in relation to influences from higher organizational levels and in coordination with the local environment.8 We might say there is an intrinsic wholeness embedded in nature reflected in its dynamic organizational systems. The activity involved is in the continual embodiment of the system’s pattern of organization.9 Nature is an interlocking network of systems. It is more flow than fixed, a choreographed ballet, a symphony, whereby an organism is dynamically engaged in its own self-organization, pursuing its own ends amid an ever-shifting context of relationships.2635


The pattern of organization determines a system’s essential characteristics. Autopoietic systems are self-organizing systems that interact with the environment through continual exchange of energy and matter. Ilya Prigogine shed new light on dynamical systems when he described the structure of a living system as a dissipative structure, emphasizing openness of the structure to the flow of energy and matter. Prigogine’s work on the evolution of dynamic systems demonstrated that disequilibrium is the necessary condition for a system’s growth. He called these systems dissipative because they dissipate their energy in order to re-create themselves into new forms of organization.2677


self-organizing or self-renewing systems. One of their distinguishing features is system resiliency rather than equilibrium.13 Margaret Wheatley writes: Equilibrium is neither the goal nor the fate of living systems, simply because as open systems they are partners with their environment. . . . To stay viable, open systems maintain a state of non-equilibrium, keeping the system off balance so that it can change and grow. They participate in an active exchange with their world, using what is there for their own renewal.14 Part of their viability comes from their internal capacity to create structures that fit the moment; when the needs change, so do the structures. Form and function engage in a fluid process where the system may maintain itself in its present form or evolve to a new order. The system possesses the capacity for spontaneously emerging new structures, depending on what is required. The autopoietic system focuses its activities on what is needed to maintain its own integrity and self-renewal. It changes by referring to itself; whatever future form it takes will be consistent with its already established identity. The system, according to Eric Jantsch, “keeps the memory of its evolutionary path.”15 Freedom and order are correlative in open systems. The more freedom in a self-organizing system, the more order.16 Freedom is not opposed to order; rather, autonomy at the local level provides coherence and continuity. Wholeness in nature works on the principles of self-organization, which include openness to the environment, a flow of energy, local autonomy, and freedom to self-organize. These principles provide the overall integrity and stability of an open system, whereby order emerges from patterns of information and energy. Open systems are nondeterministic systems and can undergo radical change.2682


with another Sister, take the risk of living religious life in a new way. I think the term open system best describes our way of life. We live in a working-class neighborhood in DC and financially support ourselves (we pay taxes); if we don’t work, we don’t eat. We discuss the aims of the community together; we try to share responsibilities for the community as much as possible; we pray and play as community, but we respect the autonomy of each person and the work of the Spirit in each life. Each person is a holon who is conscious of being part of a larger whole. An open-systems way of life works best on shared vision and dialogue and least on control and lack of communication. Trust is an essential factor, but trust requires kenosis, emptying oneself of control and power, and making space for the other to enter in. Where there is no trust, there is no real vision together because vision requires sharing in the same field of energy. An open-systems community, like the physical world itself, is based on relationships, not roles or duties but bonds of friendship, sisterhood (or brotherhood), respect, charity, forgiveness, and justice. Where these values are active and alive, life evolves toward richer, more creative forms, never losing sight that wholeness—catholicity—is at the heart of it.2702


The roots of sin may lie in resisting new patterns of order because we insist on controlling the spontaneity of life.2862


Teilhard wrote that the human person “is nothing else than evolution become conscious of itself.” That is, “the consciousness of each of us is evolution looking at itself and reflecting upon itself.”3190


brain and the interaction of these spheres with each other. When the whole brain is enabling the whole person to connect to the whole environment, catholicity is alive. But our modern minds have been denied their right-brain full working and pulled into a tight left-brain rational functioning that operates as mechanical, linear, competitive, and narrow. The passionate right brain, with its magical world of creative visionary thinking, has been mostly sidelined. We have reduced mind to the mental analytical work of the left brain, depriving the world of conscious connectivity. Rami Shapiro notes that Eastern European Jewish mystics of the eighteenth century (Hasidim) spoke of “spacious mind” (mochin d’gadlut) and “narrow mind” (mochin d’katnut). Narrow mind imagines itself as separate from the world. It is isolated, often alienated, and sees the world as a zero-sum game in which success depends on another’s failure. Scarcity defines the world of mochin d’gadlut: fear is its primary emotion, and anger is its most common expression. Spacious mind, on the other hand, “sees the self as part of the Whole. . . . It engages life from a place of interdependence and compassion.” We see a greater unity embracing and transcending diversity. The world is integral and interdependent. Abundance is the hallmark of the world as mochin d’gadlut perceives it. As such, love rather than fear is its emotional foundation, and lovingkindness rather than anger is its defining characteristic. . . . Spacious mind does not negate narrow mind, but embraces and includes it in a larger vision. In this way your sense of self is freed from fear and anger, and you are empowered to engage the world with your own unique expression of lovingkindness.23203


constellation of open systems that operates at the edge of chaos. With one-hundred billion neurons and trillions of synapses, we are wired for novelty and creativity. Because the brain is constantly giving birth to itself, the mind is in a constant flux of connectivity; it can form new connections, expand its horizons, and achieve new levels of consciousness. Physicist Henry Stapp states that “our human thoughts are linked to nature by non-local connections: what a person chooses to do in one region seems immediately to affect what is true elsewhere in the universe. . . . Our thoughts DO something.”4 Stapp thinks of the mind as a creative process: “Each creative act brings into existence something fundamentally new: it creates a novel ‘emergent’ quality.” He maintains that the brain can function on multiple levels of mind; in our day-to-day lives, we live with many minds.3225


Tomaino writes: “An awakened brain and an awakened life means living from the inside vision of life desired, regardless of outside circumstances. When the inner reality is stronger and more real than the outer reality and you can act from your choice, you are entraining your brain and creating your life.” She calls this process of focusing the brain on desired choice “neural focusing” or developing a “Buddha brain.” Siddhartha underwent extreme fasts so that he would not be distracted by the cravings of the body: “This freed him and awakened his brain to an awareness of the inner peace that was possible if he let go of craving and desires.”6 Developing a spacious mind, or “Buddha brain,” however, is not easy for us because the complex human brain has multiple inputs of information together with a complex core awareness of self and built-in mechanisms of freedom and decision that are not conditioned by necessity. We tend to be egocentric, narrow-minded, mimetic creatures with a capacity for spacious mind but not a natural inclination to it; we must choose to strengthen our spacious mind. Siddhartha realized the transient nature of life and sought to expand the capacity of his mind, to move beyond suffering toward compassion and oneness with all sentient life.3237


The first objective of the Buddhist meditator is to become detached from the thinking process itself. To attain this state is to reach shamata or “calm abiding.”7 This type of meditation calls for a willful self-emptying whereby the layers of ego fall away—all of one’s false identities—and one arrives at the level of consciousness called shunyata, which is the level of the “unconditioned” or “emptiness.” Emptiness is not nothingness but, paradoxically, “all-ness” or “oneness.” It is the deepest core of oneself beyond thoughts, words and concept, the level at which there is no separate “I.”8 Only when we experience emptiness can our innate compassion arise. In Theravâda Buddhism the cause of human existence and suffering is identified as craving, which carries with it the various defilements such as greed, hatred, and delusion. These are believed to be deeply rooted afflictions of the mind that create suffering and stress. To be free from suffering and stress is to be liberated from harmful attachments, permanently uprooting them by analyzing, experiencing, and understanding the true nature of such corruptions. The meditator is then led to realize the Four Noble Truths (the truth of suffering, the origins of suffering, the cessation of suffering, the path to overcome suffering) and attain enlightenment and nirvana.9 According to Zen master Kosho Uchiyama, when thoughts and fixation on the little “I” are transcended, an awakening to a universal, non-dual self occurs: “When we let go of thoughts and wake up to the reality of life that is working beyond them, we discover the Self that is living universal non-dual life (before the separation into two) that pervades all living creatures and all existence.”10 Thinking and thoughts must not confine and bind us from true reality.3247


While most of us live with many minds in multiple worlds at any given moment, the solitary one gathers the many levels of mind into a single-heartedness that might be described, in the words of Mary Oliver, as “standing still, learning reverence from such astonishments as a phoebe, blue plums or a clam buried deep in speckled sand.”13 The lack of distractions and the concentration of attention on the present moment is itself creative of something new. As Danish novelist J. A. Larsen writes: I had been3275


mind that is creating, evolving the world into something new. Perhaps this is what Saint Paul had in mind when he wrote in the Letter to the Philippians: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (2:3–5). To live the gospel life is to live on a new level of consciousness, a spacious mind, like Jesus, a deep awareness of oneness with God and neighbor, a consciousness of belonging to a whole. Christian monasticism developed out of this desire for a higher level of consciousness. Both anchoritic (solitary) and coenobitic (communal) monasticism called for long periods of solitude, focusing the mind on “higher things” through poverty, prayer, and meditation. The rigors of desert monastic life reflected the fact that gospel life is a gift, not a given. Baptism is not an insurance policy against hell but a commitment to a new level of relatedness with God and with the world being created by self and God. In the early church Christian asceticism was the liberation necessary to awaken a consciousness of self that would be truly human and Christian. This meant recasting the whole of existence in accord with the renewed consciousness of self. Solitude was, and still is, key to monastic life because solitude is the nourishing environment for liberation into oneness.3289


passions and finally ends in confusion and total unreality. Solitude is not and can never be a narcissistic dialogue of the ego with itself. . . . Go into the desert not to escape other men but in order to find them in God.15 Solitude is not being alone; it is being alone with God. It is not an escape from people but a deepening of one’s heart in God so as to be united with all that is of God.3302


My great desire was union with God, to “put on the mind of Christ,” although I had no real idea of what this desire entailed. While the monastery provided the environment for a higher consciousness of self-liberation, there was little instruction on the meaning of personal growth and development. Instead, I found myself on a rigorous schedule, baking several hundred loaves of bread a day, farming a large vegetable garden, mowing the lawn, cleaning the monastery, and in between, trying to learn the art of prayer, for which we gathered for six hours a day. I3307


The regimen of work, prayer, and community, with few distractions in between, gave rise to successful Catholic institutions, but often at the expense of oneness of self in God and cosmos. I think many religious women have been exhausted for years and are just waking up to a new call for inner liberation and unity. A New Mind for a New World The gospel life is not a social agency of good works but a life of mindful presence or oneness in God. As such, the sacraments do not make one Christian; only a disciplining of the mind, following the way of Jesus, can truly form a christic life. Christian life, like Buddhist, Jewish, or Muslim life, requires personal responsibility. One must desire to put on the mind of Christ, one must choose to follow the way of the gospel with the guidance of a teacher or master, and then one must practice the gospel life in community. Going to church does not make one a Christian just as saying the Our Father does not make one a Christian. Rather, gospel life is praxis; it begins with awareness of God’s presence and discernment of the inner mind or spirit. It is a life of awareness that something new is being formed and an invitation to be part of the creative process. Gospel life is receptivity to the gift of divine energy and a conscious “yes” to accept God’s energy as the transformative energy of self and world. Thus, Christian life requires a conscious decision to shift the mind (metanoia) by training the mind to focus on the central values of the gospel and to dispense with all other things. Without the choice for a new level of consciousness, there can be no new reality or reign of God. Where our minds focus, there our treasure lies. As Rabbi Shapiro writes, “I made the choice for heaven and, having done so, I went in search of tools for living it.”16 When Teilhard said that we are evolution made conscious of itself, he indicated a basic lesson of modern science: there is no real “world” apart from us; rather, the world unfolds in and through our choices and actions.3320


The lack of integrating our minds with our present reality and focusing them on peace, justice, and compassion can lead us into dualistic thinking. The distracted mind easily fragments into a thousand unrelated thoughts and feelings. John Sack writes that dualistic thinking is the root of all evil because it creates the illusion that separateness is natural to existence: It is the radical rot behind every harmful thought or action, the source of all wars and violence, of nationalism, racism, claims of paranoia, insecurity, unhealthy competition, lack of cooperation and charity, hoarding and greed, abuse in all its devastating displays. . . . Only the human personality is capable of imagining and acting out of a division between God and us, between others and us. . . . If we would let creation be all things would teach us their common love of God. There is no escaping our unity with God and all things. The only way out is nothingness itself, for outside God there is nothing but nothing.20 Rémi Brague reminds us that “world” is not a given; it is an outflow of the mind, a consciousness of the whole. Mind creates a sense of the whole or catholicity. How we focus our minds and shape our thoughts creates our world. For this reason “putting on the mind of Christ” is not simply a spiritual exercise; rather, it is integral to the world we create and the direction of the Church in evolution.3363


if the self belongs to God, it belongs to all that God is and is becoming; that is, the self does not simply belong to God in this immediate moment, but it has always belonged to God in the divine infinity of love. Thus the self that is still being created in this space-time cosmic adventure belongs to God in the same way that the world unfolding in and through us belongs to God; and because God cannot stop loving and oneing, God is deeply intwined with self and world. When Saint Paul states that we are to have the “same mind as Christ Jesus,” he means we are to break through our individual egos and become one with God in all our relationships so that, like Jesus, we create the world as a reflection of the One we love, God. To co-create with God is to gather the many fields of the mind into a consciousness of love. Jesus said: You have heard it said that you must love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say this to you, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you and treat you badly. In this way you will be children of your father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on the unjust as well as the just. (Mt 5:43–46) A christic consciousness is a mind focused on one thing, the centrality of divine love. One modern, outstanding example of a person with christic consciousness is Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (d. 1926). As the youngest nun in her Carmelite monastery, Thérèse sought a direct route to God and found it in making love the center of her entire life: “I have found my vocation in the heart of the Church,” she exclaimed.23 This was no spiritual piety. The young Thérèse turned her entire will and efforts to the power of love, overcoming her natural inclination to anger, revolt, or animosity, and loving her Sisters, especially her enemies in community, with all she had. Seven hundred years before her it was said of Francis of Assisi that “he was always with Jesus: Jesus in his heart, Jesus in his mouth, Jesus in his ears, Jesus in his eyes, Jesus in his hands”; he bore Jesus always in his whole body.24 Both Francis and Thérèse had a focused Christ consciousness, a deep entanglement with divine love that governed the direction of their lives. They show us that wholeness is holiness. The world becomes whole in love when we live in the oneness of love; training the brain for christic mindfulness means overcoming our dualisms. Non-dual consciousness is becoming aware of the larger whole of which we are a part. It involves overcoming the illusion of the separate self and recognizing one’s connectedness to the whole of life. The only way into a sustainable future is to regain soul, both individual soul and world soul, by disciplining the mind, setting the mind on oneness or unity, and acting out of this oneness as part of a larger whole. Our thoughts are not neutral or private; they do something, and what they do is create the world.3386


“be glad and rejoice in your illnesses and troubles, because as of now, you are as secure as if you were already in my kingdom.”26 Francis awakened to the reality that, despite his frail body and the conflicts of his community, heaven is in the now. He awoke and sang the “Canticle of Creatures”: Most High, all-powerful, good Lord Yours are the praises, the glory, and the honor and all blessing, To You alone, Most High, do they belong, And no human is worthy to mention Your name. Praised be You, my Lord, with all Your creatures, Especially Sir Brother Sun, Who is the day and through whom You give us light. And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor; And bears a likeness of You, Most High One. Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars, In heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful. Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind, And through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather, Through whom You give sustenance to Your creatures. Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water, Who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste. Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire, Through whom You light the night, And he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong. Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth, Who sustains and governs us, And who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs. Praised be You, my Lord, through those who give pardon for Your love, And bear infirmity and tribulation. Blessed are those who endure in peace For by You, Most High, shall they be crowned. Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whom no one living can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin. Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will, for the second death shall do them no harm. Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks And serve Him with great humility.27 Francis’s “Canticle of Creatures” reflects a new structure of reality. He used the words brother and sister to express his understanding of reality. Throughout his life he focused his mind on being a brother to all despite being rejected, misunderstood, and ridiculed. He experienced God’s love in others and knew himself to be loved, and, therefore, he made love his vocation: “The love of him who loved us is greatly to be loved.”28 Through love he saw that nothing is independent; rather, everything is related. The “Canticle of Creatures” is his interior life projected onto the cosmos where love moves the Sun and other stars—christified reality.29 His3425