The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe seems a bit over the top for the guy who eschewed any attempt to make him a king and deflected that identity at his own peril when questioned by Pilate in Luke chapter 23, but alas, we like kings, some are obsessed with royalty, you might say.
The etymology of the word “royal” is related to the same word for “real” as in real estate, something that is “fixed” in place or permanent and the prefix “reg” as in “regal” which means to move in a straight line.
I think that our ancestors looked for stability and permanence in their lives as we still do and decided that the best way to get that was to make someone else responsible for the stability and permanence and the order that moving in a straight line might appear to provide.
So, we got kings and royalty and royal families and a belief, once a doctrine, called, The Divine Right of Kings, which was thought to provide the reason and rationale for a perpetual series of successors in the same bloodline who would make everything nice.
Well, that hasn’t worked very well, has it?
Perhaps, it hasn’t worked because there is no stability possible, perhaps, reality is far more fluid than we can imagine, perhaps, the universe that we want Christ to be the king of is always in evolving.
I am reading the book, The Not Yet God by Ilia Delio. It is not an easy read for me because I have never liked numbers, preferring words, but Ilia Delio is referenced increasingly by Richard Rohr, and I believe that Richard Rohr is a trustworthy teacher and spiritual guide.
Ilia Delio is a Franciscan sister of Washington, DC, theologian, author, and university professor. She holds the Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair of Theology at Villanova University. Delio is the founder of the Center for Christogenesis, an online educational resource for promoting the vision of Teilhard de Chardin and the integration of science and religion.
I will offer a few quotes from the book just to help you get a taste of the not yet God:
“Every five hundred years or so religion undergoes a significant paradigm shift.1 The shift we are in today is so dramatic I thought about putting a warning label at the beginning of this book. WARNING: This book may be hazardous to the stability of your soul and may cause undue anxiety or outright bursts of emotion. We are, indeed, in a major “God” shift. The old God of the starry heavens, the sky God, has been falling since the early twentieth century; at the same time, a new God has been rising up from the strange world of matter. This book tells the story of the new God emerging in a new paradigm. The title, The Not-Yet God, was inspired by John Haught’s recent book, God after Einstein, where he brilliantly discusses how the new universe story evokes a new understanding of God.2 What Haught describes on the cosmic level, I describe on the personal level, for the human person not only recapitulates but also advances the universe on the level of self-consciousness. I wish this could be a book of meditations rather than one with numerous footnotes and heavy philosophical ideas. But we are a complex people in a complex world, and philosophical insight is necessary for theology. So, please, be patient as you ponder the ideas put forth.”
“To appreciate the new God story, we have to enter into the greatest mystery of all: the human person. What are we humans, after all, but gods in the making, and making the wrong god makes the wrong kind of world in which to live. One sign that our God-compass is out of whack is the cultural entropy of our fragile world. Global warming, the power of greed, sexism and racism—all are wearing down the integrity of the earth. The development of artificial intelligence and the meteoric rise of cyberspace in the late twentieth century revealed the human person’s desperate search for ultimate connections. Despite our well-honed Christian theology, there seems to be a cavernous Godhole in the human heart. The great Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner recognized this fact in the twentieth century, as did Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Corporation. What Rahner sought in the development of his transcendental theology, Jobs sought in the development of the computer. Both Rahner and Jobs realized that the inmost center of the human person is nothing less than the infinite depth of desire.”
‘The relationship of mind and matter has been at the heart of philosophical reflection since the times of the ancient Greeks. We do not think about this relationship in our everyday activities, but it is a fundamental relationship. It may be good to stop and ask: “As I think about these ideas, what is the ‘I’ doing the thinking?” Is it my grey-mattered brain or glial-bounded neurons or some mysterious spirit within me? Is my matter thinking? What happens when the brain no longer works properly, as in Alzheimer’s disease? How does thinking go haywire? These are difficult questions for scientists to explore, but they raise a fundamental point: matter and mind are related.”
So, if you got to these words, you are probably confused, that is good, I think. Conventional religion detests confusion, but conventional religion relies heavily on what it calls, The Natural Law. The Natural Law is what conventional religions believes is the way things are because it is the way God created the world, as with a master blueprint that could be discovered.
Conventional religion believes that it can fill every void with certainty but today with live with a terrible, terrible “void of humanity” that I believe has no certainty but only compassion and wisdom and understanding. I think we need to trust that God’s Holy Spirit is, indeed, confusing but loving always.
Ilia Delio offers very convincing data that there is no master blueprint because creation is an ongoing process or Act of God and that our attempts to find stability are counterproductive to our attempts to find ourselves and find God but the Gospel teaching today is a reliable guide in that who we find in need today will lead us to the wholeness and holiness we seek and it will be anything but stable.