Personal Transformation and a New Creation, Ilia Delio – Book Notes

Posted: October 4, 2017 by Todd in Books
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  • “Although she was deeply committed to her Catholic heritage, her vision of cosmic reality is a synthesis of Western and Eastern religions.” (3)
  • Beatrice Bruteau is neofeminine.
  • The ecstatic nature of God is rising up in and through the evolution of consciousness. (4)
  • “[Bruteau] represents a new type of scholar, one free of the intellectual trappings of careerism.” (5)
Part I: A Dynamic Person
Chapter 1: Beatrice Bruteau: A Personal Memoir – Cynthia Bourgeault
  • Bruteau passed on Nov. 16, 2014
  • Born in Carbondale, Illinois
  • Her world was turned upside down by the work of Aurobindo Ghose
  • Bruteau was “a Southern woman ‘to the nines,’ she dressed impeccably for every occasion and insisted that tea and coffee be served in proper china cups – never, heaven forbid, in mugs!” (13)
  • Bourgeault student, Joshua Tysinger, helped Bruteau with her “horizontal axis” in life’s “coming into age,” while receiving “her brilliant final imparting of a lifetime of spiritual wisdom and spiritual fire.”
  • “A conscious death is already a Risen Life.” (14)
Part II: Philosopher and Theologian
Chapter 2: Searching a Feminine Mystical Way for the Twenty-First Century – Ursula King
  • Admired, but never actually met Bruteau
  • “She unfortunately overlooked the fundamental difference in the understanding of evolution between Indian and Teilhardian thought.”
  • Teilhard “clearly distinguished his own understanding of the evolutionary process, which included novelty, progressive growth, and ascent, from the Indian approach to evolution in terms of involution, whereby the Absolute, before evolving out of matter, first involved itself into it, so that evolution is understood as the gradual manifestation of what existed already.” (20)
  • King’s three strands of reflection: (1) connecting mysticism and feminism, (2) exploring a via feminina for contemporary women and men, and (3) celebrating love, wisdom, and the feminine mystical way.
Connecting Mysticism and Feminism
  • Mysticism is difficult to define, but cannot be “opaque to reason” (21).
  • “It seems misleading to speak of mysticism in the singular.”
  • Mysticism “seems more a word created by people studying, comparing, or talking about particular experiences that individual mystics themselves do not define as much….Thus, being a mystic is very different from trying to understand what mysticism is.” (22)
  • “Few feminist theologians have written on mysticism, at least in comparison with all the other topics they have explored.” (22)
  • “Central to them [cross-cultural, cross-religious] seems the insistence on a fundamental unity or oneness that transcends all the diversity, fragmentation, and superficiality of daily life.” And Bruteau affirms as well.  (23)
  • Women in mystic studies: Margaret Smith, Geraldine Hodgson, Phyllis Hodgson, Hope Emily Allen, Emily Herman, Hilda Graef, Annemarie Schimmel, and Grace Jantzen (24)
  • Much of the female mystics “remains imprisoned in the patriarchal framework of past hierarchical structures and thinking” (24)
  • “Imprisoned by the daily tasks and recurrent demands of immediacy that the maintence and nurture of personal and community life have always required, women have been so much equated with immanence that the realms of transcendence have remained largely out of their reach, forbidden to their desire.” (25)
  • “It is only in our postmodern era that women as a group, and not simply as individuals, have been able to respond in greater numbers to the invitation, challenge, and gift of transcendence.” (26)
Exploring a Via Feminina for Contemporary Women and Men
  • Book recommendation: Grace Jantzen, Power, Gender, and Christian Mysticism.  Other recs too on individual mystics.
  • Amy Hollywood, Sensible Ecstasy, suggests erotic forms of mysticism come more from women, whereas more speculative, intellectual ones come from men.   Or even apophatic is more masculine mysticism and kataphatic is more female mysticsm, too paint very broadly.(27)
  • King relies here on Beverly Lanzetta.  4 books recommended, looks like Radical Wisdom: A Feminist Mystical Theology is best place to start.
  • Lanzetta: Just as we need women mapmakers for the interior of the country, we need women as “mapmakers” for the spiritual landscape. (28)
  • “What metaphors, symbols, images of God do women wee, unite with, and reveal if they travel by the way of the feminine?  What wisdom can be gleaned from medieval women mystics on the geography of the soul?” (28)
  • In addition to reimagining spiritual language from a woman’s perspective/experience, Lanzetta suggests inherent patriarchy must be desconstructed.
  • Lanzetta: “[Via feminina] is vigilant about the ways in which the categories that name and define the spiritual life – redemption, salvation, soul, self, God, virtue – as well as the processes or stages of mystical ascent – purgation, dark night, union – repeat subtle forms of gender, racial, or social violence.” (29)
  • Lanzetta on Julian of Norwich and Teresa of Avila: “In their struggles towards spiritual equality they mapped out an inner feminism – the territory of the soul by which mysticism becomes the site of women’s empowerment and dignity.” (30)
  • King: Lanzetta very similar to Bruteau in her chapter, “Neo-feminism and the Next Revolution in Consciousness” in The Grand Option.   Here Bruteau suggests we can have a “participatory consciousness” that transcends the feminine and masculine consciousness, characterized by (1) consciousness of the whole, concrete, real person, (2) an identity of mutual affirmation rather than negation, and (3) existential perception over essential perception. (31)
Celebrating Love, Wisdom, and the Feminine Mystical Way
  • Lanzetta: Let’s recognize “spiritual rights.”  Spiritual rights ask what prevents us from having the “fullness of being.” (32)
  • King: “The inclusion of spiritual rights into the vocabulary of rights enables us to think about human dignity from a different perspective.” (33)
  • “The distinctiveness of spiritual rights leads Lanzetta to an ‘ethic of ultimate concern,’ an embodied engagement that moves out of contemplation into action in the human sphere and into love for the world.  She calls this a ‘mystical ethic.'” She uses the metaphor of mothering/pregnancy as a central lens to see the world through. (33)
  • King: The mystical ethic is similar to Teilhard’s understanding of love as an energetic force.
  • King: Additional confirmation on the energy of love found in Pitrim A Sorokin, late professor of sociology at Harvard (34-35).
  • [Todd: Think here too about the ‘spiritual energy’ in The Power of Full Engagement]
  • Lack of organized study of love, is a “lack of spiritual focus and depth.” (35)
  • King: Is this utopian dreaming?  For it to be reality, there must be global spiritual awakening, spiritual education, spiritual literacy.
  • King’s neologism: Pneumatophore; Botanists use it “to refer to the air roots of plants growing in swampy waters.”  These roots are carriers of air (or Spirit).
  • “Within the secularity of modern society we need many such pneumatophores, ideas that are vibrant bearers of spirit, ideas that can literally “inspire” and guide us to generate new life and develop a deeper, more unitary mystical consciousness.  Such ideas may be drawn from traditional religions, secular society, the sciences, or the arts; they may arise from the sacred or the secular, from national, transnational, or global contexts.  It does not matter where they come from as long as they lead us to a heightened awareness and sensibility, a sense of global responsibility, and a new kind of spiritual literacy that can help people to live a life of dignity on the planet and develop a new consciousness of the oneness of the earth and all its peoples.  The idea of a new kind of love is one such idea, and so is the idea of wisdom.” (37)
  • Four kinds of wisdom (Thomas Berry): (1) that of indigenous peoples, (2) that of women, (3) that of the classical philosophical and religious traditions of the world, and (4) the new wisdom of science. (38)
  • “Emancipation and liberation are not themselves the goal of mystical experience.  And yet, paradoxically, it is for that reason that it attains them.” (39)
Chapter 3: Personal and Cultural Maturation: A Revolution in Consciousness – Barbara Fiand
  • On Bruteau, “She sees us as ‘self-conscious evolution’ spiraling upward or outward toward ever-higher and wider levels of consciousness that, nevertheless, are built on, and eventually incorporate, beneficial aspects of the preceding ones.”
Level One in Personal Maturation
  • “Cultures and those who belong to them are inextricably one.” (45)
  • “For Bernard Boelen there are, so far, three levels of human maturation and the quest for meaning associated with each level.  Each is nuanced by a number of sublevels.”
  • The first level is “bodily,” includes the “pre-natal” period and connection of child to mother.  In earliest prenatal stage, there is an “unearned mysticism” where the emerging person experiences an initial unitive connectedness not unlike the unitive experience “to which one returns much later in life and sometimes perhaps only at the moment of death.” (47)
  • “Birth is the first existential crisis.” (Boelen)
  • “The child is then impelled to identify herself or himself as different, as separate, and even ‘over against.’  The little ego begins to emerge.” (47)
Level I, Paleo-Feminine Consciousness
  • Bruteau identifies the first stage as paleo-feminine. (47)
  • The above needs explanation because these are perceived as polar concepts (male and female).  And these tap into still more polarities. (48)
  • “Counter-oppression is rebellion, not revolution.  It brings about no meaningful change and certainly no evolution of consciousness.”
  • Gender polarities cannot be separated according to genders.  They exist in both.
  • Bruteau: “Males and females play out symbolically the two aspects of being and consciousness that actually compose all of us.” (48-49)
Level I in Ancient Times
  • The “masculine era” describes the age that precedes our own. (49-50) (or paleo-feminine)
  • The outside world was approached communally. (50)
Level I, Conclusion
Level Two in Personal and Cultural Maturation
  • Boelen sees second level as “functional.”  Lasting from time of ego emergence (~2yrs) through puberty, into the late teens. (51)
  • “Marked by a gradual unfolding of the individual as individual who sees the world as different from himself or herself.”
  • Fiand skips several “substages” in the interest of staying relevant to Bruteau.
  • In this stage, “that which is measurable  verifiable, can be controlled, and is logical increases in importance, while mystery, the unfathomable, and anything whose immediate usefulness is not clear decreases in value.” (52)
  • The move from hunter gatherer life style, where the earth provided, to an agricultural lifestyle, where one manipulates the ground to make it produce mimics the move from the prenatal/baby/”bodily”/proto-feminine stage to the “functional”/”masculine” stage.
  • Aristotle – women are “misbegotten males” (54)
  • In agricultural/functional paradigm where seeds are planted and harvested later, it is the “seed” that is important and so “maleness” takes on an increasing importance.  Sexual activity mirrors agricultural activity.
  • “Most organized religions originated in the last ten thousand or so years.” (57)
Level Three in Personal and Cultural Maturation
  • “Psychologist Carl Jung speaks similarly when he points out that “if things go wrong in the world, this is because something is wrong with the individual, because something is wrong with me.  Therefore, if I am sensible, I shall put myself right first.”
  • “It is claimed that Buddhist Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, when asked who caused the war in Iraq, responded without hesitation: ‘I did.'” (62)
  • List of “quantam” type discoveries in past century on pg 62.
  • [Todd: Fiand seems to be making the fallacy of equating 3rd person discoveries of quantum physics with 1st person mystical truth that Wilber warns of in The Religion of Tomorrow.  Both may be true, but one doesn’t cause or even “reveal” the other.]
  • Bruteau: “When I love with participatory consciousness, I see that what the other is is some of my life-energy living there, and what I am, is some of the other’s life-energy living here in me.” (64)
  • This phase is, in the words of TS Eliot, “a condition of complete simplicity/(Costing not less than everything).” (66)
Chapter 4: Teilhard, the Trinity, and Evolution: The Journey Continues – Cynthia Bourgeault
  • Teilhard never really made much use of the Trinity. (69-70)
  • Essay connecting modern interpretations of the Trinity with Teilhard.
  • This approach allows us to glimpse a new ‘ternary’ way of doing metaphysics “that might well prove to be Christianity’s most significant contribution to the ongoing evolutionary dialogue.” (70)
  • Catherine LaCugna: “There is neither an economic nor an immanent Trinity; there is only the Oikonomia that is the concrete realization of the mystery of theologia in time, space, history and personality.” (71)
  • LaCugna fits will with Teilhard as “both dynamism and directionality are well represented.” (72)
  • Raimon Panikkar: “By Trinity, I mean the ultimate triadic structure of reality.” (72)
  • “If Teilhard’s primary conversation is with science, Panikkar, that great interspiritual pioneer, is primarily in conversation with the great spiritual traditions of the world, particularly the advaita of the East.” (73)
  • Both Panikkar and Teilhard: If Christianity is a universal vision, “it must make itself universally intelligible.” (73)
  • “Cosmotheandric is Panikkar’s neologism of choice to describe the trinitarian dynamism at the heart of the divine relational ground.” (73)
  • “The word is a fusion of cosmos (world), theos (God), and andros (man) and suggests a continuous intercirculation among these three distinct planes of existence in a single motion of self-communicating love.”
  • Panikkar: “The Trinity is indeed an ‘original’ component of Christianity – because it originates in the mind of Christ!” (74)
  • “While the fully articulated doctrine of the Trinity came into existence only in the fourth century, Panikkar argues that its real roots like in the lived reality of Jesus’s own relationship with God.” (74)
  • “I am one with the source insofar as I too act as a source by making everything I have received flow again – just like Jesus” (74)
  • Bruteau: “threefoldness is the necessary precondition for agape love.” (75)
  • “By its very threefoldness it ‘breaks symmetry’ and projects the agape loves outward, calling new forms of being into existence, each of which bears the imprint of the original symbiotic unity that created it.” (75)
  • Bruteau shows how trinitarian structure of reality is a generative force within Teilhard’s evolutionary metaphysics.
  • Bruteau criticizes Teilhard’s lack of integration and respect for Eastern thought. (76)
  • “Teilhard has basically no concept of what would not be called the third tier or nondual states of awareness.  His notion of consciousness, founded squarely in Cartesian rationalism, is entirely centered in the self-reflective property of consciousness – the capacity to stand outside itself and mirror itself back, so as to become aware of its own awareness.” (76)
  • For Bruteau, non-dual consciousness cannot be “represented” kataphatically.  One must sit in the seat of the subject with the conscious instrumentation of knowing a unified field of reality. (78)
  • The being at the center of ourselves, seen most clearly though nondual consciousness is unique and differentiated from other beings, but not through kataphatic descriptions.  It is a “radiant energy” that “says I AM enstatically, in the same breath pronounces the ecstatic MAY YOU BE”  “I is not an act of negating another, but of affirming another.” (79)
  • Two conclusions based on Bruteaun departures from Teilhard:
    • “God must exist as a ‘community of God-persons’ to express this radically diffusive and interabiding nature of love.  The Omega Point, if such there be, cannot be identified with a single person of the Trinity but is expressed in the symbiotic unity of the whole.”
    • “Because of the inherent nature of Being to ‘Be more, Be in every possible way, Communicate Being, and Be a new whole by interaction,’ the more likely the evolutionary trajectory does not entail an Omega Point but a continuing open-ended expansion” (79)
  • Gurdjieff’s Law of Three: Every phenomenon “is the result of the interweaving of three independent forces: the first active (affirming), the second passive (denying) and the third neutralizing (reconciling).
  • “Just as it takes three strands of hair to make a braid, it takes three individual lines of action to make a new arising.  Until this third term enters, the two forces remain at impasse.” (81)
  • “Applying the trinitarian ‘math’ yielded up a cosmic map in seven stages of vastly unequal duration, narrowing to an eye of the needle at the human life of Jesus and then widening back out in two successive aeons marked by increasing spiritual incandescence as they bear down on the point of final implosion already predicted in the calculations.” (83)
  • The difference between Teilhard and Bourgeault: “What he calls christogenesis I would expand to read as ‘christogenesis as the lawful and inevitable progression of the trinitarian evolutionary dynamism.'” (83)
  • “The common denominator in all these distinctly different yet overlapping revisionings is that the Trinity emerges as a metaphysical principle, not merely a theological one.” (83) – Ternary Metaphysics
  • Ternary metaphysics offers “asymmetry, dynamism, an inherent predisposition to innovation, an inherent puroposiveness or trajectory, and an advaita, or oneness, achieved not through stasis but through dynamic equilibrium.”
  • Points of convergence in Teilhard and new Trinitarian metaphysics of LaCunga, Panikkar, Bruteau and Bourgeault:
    • Dynamism – “Both Teilhard and the emerging trinitarian methaphysics place primary emphasis on motion, change and God-as-becoming. The Divine iCha
    • s no longer associated with the timeless and changeless, but with movement, creativity, and self-communication.” (84)
    • Evolution – “The trinitarian models here considered confirm that foundational Teilhardian insight of an evolutionary principle woven into the very ‘stuff of the universe’ that ultimately prevails over the force of entropy and leads to progressively more sophisticated differentiation and greater consciousness.” (84)
    • Consistence – The universe is neither random nor insignificant.  Evolution, “while ‘groping’ its way through chance and recombination, ultimately operates under the sway of a greater unifying principle…remaining stable by maintaining forward motion.”(85)
    • The heart of the matter – evolutionary metaphysics doesn’t lead away from matter, but through it
    • Holographic reciprocity – the whole and the part exist in an interabiding unity that together comprise the “dynamism of the real.” (85)
    • Hyper-personalization – Oneness through differentiation, not consolidation
    • Amorization – Ternary metaphyiscal flow travels the “harnessing of love”
    • Convergence – Cosmos is working towards some endpoint
  • Bourgeault: Teilhard was a “ternary swan in a binary metaphysical duck pond.”
Chapter 5: The Ecstacy of Agape – Kerrie Hide
  • Our interior consciousness can progressively become the interior consciousness of Jesus. (90)
  • Teilhard’s two types of energies:
    • Tangential – elements of the same degree of complexity relate
    • Radial – Elements unite from the center and are drawn forward to higher levels of complexity
  • Involution powers evolution (91)
  • Ilia Delio > “Theology is born from mystical insight.”
  • “Agape is not a response.  Nor is it a divine attribute.  God is agape.” (93)
  • Ecstasy is the releasing of love-energy (radial)
  • Bruteau: Enstasy denotes pure transcendence, the exquisite inner tranquility of being grounded and remaining within one-self. (94)
  • Enstasy-ecstasy flows as one reality. (94)
  • For Bruteau, a person (cognizant of its Chalcedonian echoes) is to be “an act of loving.” (95)
  • Intra-Trinitarian relationality is I-I. (96)
  • “Agape incarnates, becomes flesh through speaking the Word into creation, and God’s ecstasy creates the world.” (97)
  • From the unseen flows the only begotten One, the Word (Jn 1:18)
  • “Divine creativity is the prototype for uniting and diversifying.” (98)”
  • “Agape unfurls as evolution.” (99)
  • Bruteau: Universe is Theotokos (Romans 8:22, 19)
  • “Beatrice quotes the Talmud: ‘Who has Wisdom?’ She responds: ‘The one who sees the unborn.’ We are called to see the unborn, to cherish and foster what is deeply within the enstacy of the universe and midwife future abundance.” (99-100)
  • “The existential question of the intensity of the agony of the pain of labor that naturally occurs or even seems opposed to creation’s birthing of divine life confronts us.” (100)
  • We can experience God’s perichoresis within our own consciousness, letting love flow out, propelling us and the world forward (101-102)
  • John 21:13 (105)
  • Good summarizing statement: “Our world is living Being, enstatic-ecstatic love energy, an endless Ocean of Agape dancing.  Yet questions resound and echo.  Will Agape dance freely in consciousness?  Will the ecstasy of God as cosmos be fully recognized?  Will the heart of the world be heard?” (106)
  • Bruteau’s three “icons” – Trinity, incarnation, Theotokos
  • Hide’s “Three Fundamental Movements” from Bruteau’s icons:
    1. Contemplative prayer is essential to the evolutionary process. (107)
    2. We are at the threshold of a new participatory love-knowledge.
    3. The whole universe is God’s ecstasy. (108)
  • “We are the ecstasy of Agape.” (108)
Chapter 6: Evolution Towards Personhood – Ilia Delio
  • “Life prefers increased life.” (109)
  • “[Teilhard] considered matter and consciousness not as two substances or two different modes of existence, but as two aspects of the same cosmic stuff” (109)
  • “Physical and psychic are co-related in the evolutionary movement of convergence and complexity.”
  • “Evolution is not the background to the human story; it is the human story.”
  • Teilhard > “the human person is integrally part of evolution in that we rise from the process, but in reflecting on the process we stand apart from it.” (111)
  • Reflection defined by Teilhard > “the power acquired by a consciousness to turn in upon itself, to take possession of itself as an object…no longer merely to know, but to know that one knows.” (111)
  • The peak of our selves is in our shared personhood with others (113)
  • Bruteau > personhood begins with relationality (114)
  • “Modern physics points to intrinsic relationality at the heart of life.  The discovery of special relativity and the interconvertibility of mass and energy (E = mc2) has impelled scientists to suggest that matter is not composed of building blocks but complicated webs of energy relations.” (115)
  • Bruteau > “Relationship is the basic principle of life: God is relationship, matter is relationship, human life is relationship.” (115)
  • Bruteau > A “person” has a “higher level of other-centered consciousness” than an individual
  • “Spondic energy is always free.” (117)
  • Freedom is the core of personhood (Bruteau) (118)
  • Freedom undergirds agape
  • Agape arises not out of need to help, but out of an Omega-centered inner freedom
  • “Abraham is dead, and so too are the prophets but a greater Abraham is here” (John 8:53) – “We, the living, contain all that the past is and more because we live on the brink of the future.”
  • B > To live, is to create the future.
  • Teilhard and Bruteau see “the journey toward unity as one that looks beyond the individual soul toward the cosmic whole because God-Omega is at the heart of revolutionary life.” (120)
  • B > “hierarchical pattern of relationships is based on ontological differences and operates on principles of mutual negation: I am not you, and you are not me.  This metaphysics of alienation treats the ‘other’ as radically different from oneself, promoting consciousness of the ‘stranger.'” (121)
  • “When we live from the center of Omega, we are free to be food for one another.” (121)
  • “Quantam entanglement is nonlocal interaction or unmediated action a a distance, without crossing space, without decay, and without delay.” (121-122)
  • “Bohm attributed the strange phenomenon of nonlocality to hidden variables or what he called quantam potentional, which complements Teilhard’s Omega.”
  • “Rather than starting with the parts and explaining the whole in terms of the parts, Bohm started with a notion of undivided wholeness and derived the parts as abstractions from the whole.” (122)
  • Bruteau’s communion = Bohm’s implicate order (123)
  • B: “We have not had a metaphysics to sustain our morality.  By metaphysics I mean…the way we see reality without thinking about it, our taken-for-granted perception of being, or outlook on life.  Our morality tells us to love others as ourselves.  But our metaphysics says that others are alien to ourselves.” (123)
  • “Forgiveness is the gift of goodness given in abundance to another when love has been distorted or annihilated.” (125)
  • “Jesus revealed his own inner freedom by freeing his persecutors to enter into a new future.” (125)
  • We need a consciousness of forgiveness.  If we relate only to the past deeds of others, we will always be at least one step behind where they themselves presently are and thus we will never really be in relationship with them, only with their “remains.” (125)
  • “We live on in our relationships, and in and through our relationships, we are continuously created.” (126)
  • “To live eternal life is to live in the now unconditionally and wholeheartedly; to lose ourselves in love for the sake of new life.” (127)
  • “Resurrection expresses the core of revelation: to be alive is to be constantly in the process of becoming a new creation, open to and resting on the future.”
  • “To be ‘in Christ’ is to be in the dynamic flow of becoming, because the Messianic age is always coming.  It is always relative to whatever age we are now in.  Life constantly seeks to renew itself and thus to transcend itself because the Christ is always the One who is coming.  Thus, every age must look forward to the coming of its Messiah, the One who will make all things new.  Every age needs to be saved from the deadness of the forms it outgrows over time and to be lifted into a new kind of life.  Whenever a new creation takes place, it takes place ‘in Christ.'” (128-129)
  • “To have faith is to enter into the other’s creating, into the other’s future, which has not yet appeared.” (130)
  • “What we become as human persons has an impact on the Christ.” (131)
  • “Like Teilhard, she believes it is not something but Someone who is in evolution.  That Someone includes each one of us.” (132)
Chapter 7: Teilhard de Chardin and the Millennial Milieu – Brie Stoner
  • Sites stats on young people leaving the church
  • Disagrees with Kinnaman’s approach of building intergenerational relationships to bridge the gap, so as not to build a “church on the preferences of young people and not on the pursuit of God.” (137)
  • Stoner suggests Teilhard is a better metaphysical-theological grounding for millenials.
  • “Through Teilhard’s evolutionary frame, matter and spirit can finally cease their dualistic battle, which has been foundational to the first axial religions, by shifting our frustrated ontology of being into an evolutionary ontology of becoming.” (138-139)
  • “While older generations decry the lack of aparent religious interest or devotion displayed by millenials, it is my premise that the root issue underlying this alleged spiritual ambivalence lies with the entrenchment of our religious traditions in static and outdated dogma and the insistence on maintaining the church as a localized institution, not the spiritual capacity of the next generation.” (139)
  • Teilhard > Original sin (doctrine) is a hinderence to optimism.
  • God creates evolutively.
  • T > “Original sin is the essential reaction of the finite to the creative act.” (143-144)
  • “For Teilhard, the original state of disorder and sin is the cost of evolution; an essential part of the universe all along.” (145)
  • Panikkar > “The whole of reality could be called, in Christian language, Father, Christ, Holy Spirit.” (146)
  • For humans, evolution is a choice. (149)
  • “Salk postulated that evolution was deeply influenced not only be external conditions, but by specific interior environments that led to the formation of conscious thought.” (150)
  • Points of resonance in Teilhardian thought and the millennial generation:
    1. Creation is a risk of God creating through evolution on a path from multiplicity to convergent unity.
    2. Incarnation is the union of matter and spirit.
    3. Redemption is a conscious choice to participate in evolution.
  • “We are no longer passive recipients of the golden ticket to board the right theological train to heaven.  We are the engine of heaven, of evolution itself.” (153)
  • [We can become] “more fully divine precisely by becoming more fully human.” (154)
Chapter 8: The Eucharist as Liturgical Drama – Teilhard’s “The Mass on the World” – Kathleen Duffy
  • Bruteau was “among the first American scholars to stimulate interest in Teilhard’s thought.” (155)
  • Themes of T’s “mass” are reflected in B’s The Easter Mysteries and The Holy Thursday Revolution.
  • Three acts of Teilhard’s mass: The Offertory, The Consecration, The Communion (158)
  • In place of the bread and wine, T offers the universe and its coming into being. (159-160)
  • The Consecration > “The whole universe is being amorized, personalized, transformed into the Body of Christ, and Christ is becoming the Soul of the World.” (162)
  • The Communion: Transformation > We must “consent to the communion…with God through earth.” (163)
  • “In his ‘Mass,’ evolution and incarnation become a single cosmic drama, a single movement toward the future (165).
  • Jesuit Thomas King > inject elements from T’s Mass into the Communion liturgy.
  • This essay was more poetic in nature and itself explaining the poetic.
Part III: Teacher, Mentor, Friend
Chapter 9: A Grateful Reader – John Shea
  • Publications: The Roll and Schola Contemplationis
  • Shea’s three areas of appreciative focus: scriptural insights, maps of psycho-spiritual states, and the metaphysical/social connection (174)
  • Bruteau: “We cannot know it as another, as something that stands opposite to us that we look at.” (heart of Jesus)
  • B: “‘Looking at’ would turn him into an object…to know the subject, you have to enter inside the subject, enter into the subject’s own awareness, that is have that awareness in your own subjectivity: ‘Let that mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.'” (176)
  • “You cannot ask for new behavior from an old identity.” (177)
  • Sample of B’s psychological states:
    1. how we identify and disidentify with our descriptive selves
    2. how an interior journey will bring us to coincide with the spiritual identity of “I am that you may be.”
    3. how a narrow consciousness leads to isolation and competition
    4. how I-I relationships are possible
    5. how creative freedom and choice freedom are distinguished and connected
    6. how the logic of mutual negation reinforces our sense of separateness
    7. how the cultural default of domination is internalized
    8. how community is the essential condition of the reality of persons
    9. how an emphasis on the future self is crucial to the courage to forgive and more
  • Eros loves for the sake of the lover.  Agape loves for the sake of the beloved.
  • In agape love, “One yearns to be with the other not as the other appears to be but as the other really is from the other’s own profound sense of self.  We have to abandon our own point of view ans strive to enter into the beloved’s point of view, to see and feel as the beloved’s own welfare together with the beloved.”
  • “If you really want to fulfill yourself, you have to abandon yourself and enter another.” (179)
  • B: Child of God = “human dignity”; Trinitarian nature of personhood = “common good” (180)
  • “When we have learned to disidentify with our biological and social descriptions and arrive at the sheer ‘I am’ of our spiritual identity, we discover we are meant to incarnate ourselves in the processes of the world.  The “I am” unfolds into “may you be.”
  • Charles Taylor: Religion/spirituality “is given force by the conviction that others have lived in a more complete, direct and powerful manner.  This is part of what it means to belong to a church.” (182)
  • Kurt Vonnegut in Cat’s Cradle  – a Karasses is a group of people who serve one of God’s purposes (either known or unknown) in a competent or incompetent manner.
Chapter 10: The Ecstasy of the Dancer and Perichoresis: A Tribute to Beatrice Bruteau – Carla DeSola
  • DeSola often danced at Bruteau affiliated events.
  • B: “This turning inside out is ecstasy.  I am suggesting that this is God’s relation to the cosmos.  The cosmos is a kind of dancing revelation of God.” (187) (Also see full blockquote on 187)
  • “A contemplative dimension to working allows the dancer to shift from doing the dance to being the dance.” (189)
  • “As the body loves exercise, so the soul loves awareness.” (191)
  • Perichoretic dance litany – pgs 198-199
Chapter 11: My Journey with Beatrice – Joshua Tysinger
  • Personal account of Joshua meeting with Beatrice during her final months
  • Rich “verbatim” of conversation with Beatrice and others on 209-213
  • B: “Mysticism is not a conclusion.  It’s an origin.” (214)
  • “Now, let me ask you: does light need light, Josh?”  Why yes, dear Beatrice.  Yes, it most certainly does,.  One wick needs the flame of another in order to bring its light to existence.  “That’s right.  Most theologies about God are really just musings about one’s own condition.  In life, the one true thing that matters is lending others your awareness.”

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