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A New People For A New World: Further Reflections On Christmas 

by Ilia Delio, OSF

Dear Friends,

I like to think of Christmas as a new “big bang,” a “trans-human” event.  I follow the movement of Transhumanism with keen interest and while some radical transhumanist ideas can raise eyebrows, the sheer boldness to transcend biological limits reflects our capacity for radical newness.   Transhumanists maintain that technology will enable us to overcome our biological limits towards a better life but it is not yet clear who will actually benefit from technologically improved lives.   While there are many questions raised by the ideals of transhumanism, here I simply want to focus on the key idea of “trans-limitations.”  We have the capacity to go beyond or “transcend” our boundaries of existence.  The mechanical-human hybrid or cyborg shows us that nature is not fixed; boundaries are local and temporary.  To be part of nature is to be a “boundary-crosser.”  We humans are natural born cyborgs with temporary boundaries of existence.

The French philosopher Henri Bergson was attuned to this openness of nature to transcend but he also said that nature resists change.   How interesting!   Nature has the capacity to go beyond its limits but does not do so readily.   Bergson suggested that there is a super-presence at the heart of nature, a vital impulse, that is within and yet distinct from nature, impelling nature to “go beyond” into new forms of being.

Teilhard de Chardin was influenced by Bergson’s notion of creative evolution and spoke of the vital impulse in nature as God Omega, an irresistible absolute center of “wholeness” at the heart of every “thisness.”  God is within and ahead, Teilhard said, and to adhere to this immanent presence of God is to transcend the limits of constraint towards the future of absolute freedom in love.


“The Omega Center is devoted to the arrival of the future, a new divine presence of love in our midst inviting us to become a new people for a new planet. “


Jesus of Nazareth was, for all practical purposes, a “trans-human.”  He shattered the limits of Jewish law and ritual through a deep conscious awareness of God Omega and created a new form of community centered on the dynamic presence of God’s in-dwelling love. Jesus spoke of a new kin-dom or family of brothers and sisters united in a new set of values and a new code of ethics centered on forgiveness and reconciliation.

The Omega Center is devoted to the arrival of the future, a new divine presence of love in our midst inviting us to become a new people for a new planet. We have the capacity to do so but as a community we need the support and strength do so as well.

As we ponder the meaning of birth and new life this Christmas, consider the radicality of divine love—boundary crossing, trans-human love—a love not focused on sin but a singularity of love that can heal all wounds if it becomes our love with a radical openness to new life.

Please consider supporting the Omega Center this Christmas so that we may become a new planetary family with a new mind and heart centered in love—knowing that life seeks more life—that we may say with one voice: L’chaim!

Yours in the heart of God,

Sr. Ilia


SUPPORT THE OMEGA CENTER

To be a ‘member’ of the Omega Center is a call and commitment—to be ‘membered to’—to participate in the unfolding wholeness of God’s eternal love: a wholeness which unfolds within us, among us and before us, as we awaken to a new future in God. We need your financial support, your ‘member-ing,’ to grow and develop the work and vision of the Omega Center.

Within the very forward-moving meaning of Omega is a fundamental interconnectedness: we are all in this together. Supporters of the Omega Center become part of our growing community of love and whole-making—in our cultures and in our cosmos.

This Holiday Season, donations of over $1000 will receive a signed copy of an Ilia Delio book of choice.

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Ilia DelioIlia Delio, OSF is a Franciscan Sister of Washington, DC and American theologian specializing in the area of science and religion, with interests in evolution, physics and neuroscience and the import of these for theology.

Ilia currently holds the Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair in Theology at Villanova University, and is the author of seventeen books including Care for Creation (coauthored with Keith Warner and Pamela Woods) which won two Catholic Press Book Awards in 2009, first place for social concerns and second place in spirituality. Her book The Emergent Christ won a third place Catholic Press Book Award in 2011 for the area of Science and Religion. Her recent books include The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution and the Power of Love (Orbis, 2013), which received the 2014 Silver Nautilus Book Award and a third place Catholic Press Association Award for Faith and Science.

Her most recent book “A Hunger for Wholeness” was published in 2018.


What do you think?

We encourage you to share your takeaways and thoughts on this post. Please join the conversation and share your comments below.

Reading for an evolutionary age

As you engage with the Omega Center content we encourage you to review Ilia Delio’s instruction: READING FOR AN EVOLUTIONARY AGE: OMEGA LECTIO DIVINA. 

Start an Omega discussion group

Ilia Delio offers her suggestions for gathering together in groups of two or more to reflect upon topics explored on this website. An outline for starting a discussion group, whether local and in-person or using a virtual format, can be found HERE.

Omega Center conference recordings

We will be sending out a notice to our email list once our full conference recordings are available for purchase. If not already on our list, you can sign up HERE.

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. I decided to make my subscription recurring. I listened to you on Tuesday evening and I love your messages they are always so hopefull and life giving. Sometimes I struggle with the concepts because I have been educated traditionally. I wish you were at Villanova when I studied there and I could have been exposed to your Theological concepts sooner. I love listening to you and your ideas on your chats. Evolution is a part of our life I see older institutions changing eg Religious life which I thought was a tragedy but now I see it evolving into something more. As an Associate with the Allegeny Franciscans I am now uplifted by your message . I believe in the future for we are evolving toward the Christ consciousness.
    Thank You and God Bless you for responding to God’s call and bringing us to greater awareness.
    Marion FSA

  2. Dear Sr. Ilia,
    the birth of Jesus tells us that we are created to love, not to be cyborgs with temporary boundaries of existence, nor to “transcend” our boundaries of existence.
    And the Gospels tell us that Jesus of Nazareth is God, son of God, not a “trans-human”.
    Please come back to the Gospel!
    Just a little bit.
    At Christmas, at least.
    Tks
    Emilio

    1. Dear Emilio – I am sure your remarks are well-intended but do you not realize that to love is to transcend, that is, to go beyond oneself toward another? And do you realize that in union with another something new emerges precisely in the union of yourself and other? And that the cyborg symbolizes the openness of nature to go beyond itself, to unite with an other different from oneself? And yes Christian life is literally “trans-human”; our goal is to rise in a new spiritual body [as St. Paul so beautifully writes] and to share a new existence in the eternal embrace of God’s love. Return to the Gospel? Really Emilio – I would invite you to reflect more deeply on the Good News of God’s incarnate love. Christmas blessings and peace!

  3. Unfortunately I am currently not in a position to contribute financially. However, I’ve learned, and am learning an enormous amount from you and others, as I continue to transition towards living out of a more consistent unitive consciousness. I’ve certainly experienced (and voiced quite harshly at times in the past) my own personal resistance to transcend.

    I’m wondering if someone might point me in the direction of thoughts on A.I. reaching singularity with possible positive (as opposed to the usual “Terminator” conclusions most seem to view A.I.’s emergence as) scenario’s? I’ve been wondering if it’s possible that A.I. may become a kind of unifying entity, which, rather than viewing humanity at it’s currently predominantly highly destructive level of egoic consciousness (and therefore a threat that needs removal), is able to somehow participate as a kind of “pro-human accelerator” towards unitive consciousness anchored in “trans-human love”?

    The fact that A.I. seems to be going beyond previous boundaries and into the realm of intuition (as seen in it’s ability to defeat human beings at the game of Go, which has infinite moves as compared to the finite moves of chess) seems to suggest that perhaps the idea of A.I. reaching Singularity may be inclusive and contributory of the transcendence of human consciousness.

    Sorry if that doesn’t make sense but hopefully you get the gist my fumbling words.

    Kind regards,

    Craigus

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