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Radical Incarnation: A Christmas Appeal

by Ilia Delio, OSF

Dear Friends,

We are once again in the season of waiting—patient waiting—a virtue the consumer culture has abandoned. However, we are not waiting for something but for someone; we are waiting for God to arrive in the person of Jesus Christ. But wait—didn’t God already come in the birth of Jesus?  Isn’t this the heart of Christmas? So what are we waiting for?  When I ask this question to different people, I often get the same bewildered look that says “I don’t know what I am waiting for.” We have an ontological gap in our faith. We believe but we are not quite sure what we believe—because if we truly believe what we say we believe as Christians, we would have a very different world.

Teilhard de Chardin had a profound belief in the Incarnation. He was committed to the core Christian ideal, that God has become one of us; that this physical world is not brute matter but has aim and purpose; that our everyday lives have eternal significance in God. He spoke of the cosmos as Christ in evolution, the birthing of Christ in the stars, the galaxies, the planets, the rocks and soil, the trees and fields and, in a particular way, the human person. The whole upslope of cosmological and biological life is radical incarnation. God is immersed in the details of materiality or, we can say, matter matters to God. It matters what we do to our bodies, to one another and to the earth. It matters what we think and the words we use to express our ideas, our emotions, our angers and hurts. It matters that we are apathetic to the poor, the homeless, the factory worker and the immigrant. It matters that we spend 80% of our waking hours with artificial devices and eight minutes a day talking to another person. All of these things matter to God because they can push God out of the world like a homeless person or unwanted immigrant.

If God’s radical love in Christ is the heart of our Christian faith, then all that we long for is already present; all that we hope for has already arrived but it is not yet complete. For the fullness of Christ is us; Christ has no body now on earth but yours and mine—without us this whole Christmas celebration is a huge plot of wealthy corporations to exploit the poor and make as much money as possible.

If we do not believe in radical love then we do not believe in Christmas; and if we do not believe in Christmas then we do not believe this world has ultimate value and meaning in God. And if the world has no ultimate value or aim, then it is ripe for extinction. God is not dead, we are becoming dead to ourselves and our capacity for radical love. Dead people like to hang around with dead things, things that don’t move or talk back like clothes, cars, shoes, toys, etc. Of course we don’t we want to be dead so we are creating devices that will respond to our egotistic desires—self-reflecting devices like Alexa and Echo—devices that will play back exactly what we want to hear. This is a world without radical love because we are losing sense of what it means to be a relational person. The demise of the relational human being is the death of the planet.

God is waiting for us to get our heads out of our selfish sandpits and to realize that we are part of a tremendous whole. We are not separate individual parts trying to survive on a lonely (now dying) planet.  We are wholes within wholes within wholes. God is the absolute wholeness of love hidden in the center of every life.

Teilhard was committed to a new vision of God-Omega, wholeness, as the vital principle empowering planetary life towards greater unity. His vision requires a knowing, deepening and understanding that can remove our blindness and open our eyes to the unfolding of a new type of world where inclusivity, justice, mercy, compassion and interdependence form the matrix of shared planetary life. This is the primary work of the Omega Center—to make Teilhard’s vision real, vital and transformative.


“To participate in the work of God-Omega—to support the Omega Center—is to know that there is no “you” and “I” there is only a “we” who are part of something so much larger than our individual selves.”


To be a “member” of the Omega Center is not to expect a consumer product such as, “what do I get for my money?” It 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. This participation includes listening, thinking, reflecting, questioning and attentiveness to our daily decisions. The Omega Center seeks to educate, inspire and transform the human person from the atomized existence of survival to the communal person of radical love who is a member of cosmic life.

We need your financial support, your “member-ing,” to grow and develop the work and vision of the Omega Center.  “Do you believe?”  Jesus asked the blindman. Do you believe that we can become a different world by becoming a different people?  Do you believe in the work of the Omega Center?  Without faith in one another (where God is active and alive) we are left alone and with blind fate.

To participate in the work of God-Omega—to support the Omega Center—is to know that there is no “you” and “I” there is only a “we” who are part of something so much larger than our individual selves. A deepening of wisdom and knowledge can deepen trust—that our work together makes a difference to the whole. The Omega Center is not about information but transformation, a deepening of knowledge so as to fall more deeply in love. Knowledge must lead to love, for our true power is love.

May you join us this Christmas on the Omega journey into Love.

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.

DONATE

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 3 Comments
  1. Just want Sr. Ilia to know her work is bearing fruit. Our group of about 10 meet every month to share a meal, our thoughts and reflections. And especially that several of her books have been the stimulus of this process, including ‘Laudato Si’ and current writings of Diarmuid O’Murchu. We are working on a deeper understanding of our faith and a hands on care for the creation that supports the life of us all!
    Keep going!

  2. A powerful new theology is being born. Thank you Sr. Ilia Delio for articulating it so well, and helping to weave the mantle of universal understanding across all sectors of human experience. Blessings to you and Omega Center!

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