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An Excerpt from Paradoxology by Miriam Therese Winter

Miriam Therese Winter, a professor of liturgy, worship, and spirituality at Hartford Seminary, spurs us onward to an impressive synthesis of spirituality and science. Here is an excerpt on the spiritual practice of unity.

"We are siblings of one another, we of the human species, for we are one family of brothers and sisters populating planet Earth, sharing a genetic history, evolving from a common source before taking divergent paths. When we look into a stranger's eyes, we see they are similar to our own, and if we linger we may even see the residual light of a star.

"The world filled by God appears to our enlightened eyes as simply a setting in which universal communion can be attained.

"That is how Teilhard de Chardin describes it, but this sense of cosmic oneness is not limited to mystics. We can feel the heartbeat of life itself pulsate throughout the planet whenever we take another's hand and acknowledge that we are one. How, then, can we fail to recognize that our multifaceted diversity is a prism of the Divine?

"With terror and intoxicating emotion, I realized that my own poor trifling existence was one with the immensity of all that is and all that is still in process of becoming.

"It is all of a piece, for all is connected within the divine milieu. We are immersed in the sacred. Everywhere we choose to go, we walk on holy ground. The soul of the universe is divinity present everywhere and in everything, in you and me, in friend and foe, and in all who share our sacred space on our hallowed planet. We are vessels of a holy spirit, channels of a sanctifying grace, called to proclaim a liberating word, to be a healing presence, to love as we are loved by everlasting Love.

"The intriguing part of freedom is that we can choose to be part of the whole in ways that support and sustain it, or we can opt to cut ourselves off from the ebb and flow of goodness through choices that destroy. This either/or is really both/and, for that which heals and that which harms are integrated, matter and form, into one undivided whole. Those who are against me are part of me and that which needs redemption is but a cosmic moment away from succumbing to transforming forces that swirl around and within a sacrosanct milieu.

"Subatomic particles moving in and out of relationship carry good memories far and wide as sacramental blessing. Energy traverses the universe to pass through me and into you, so a part of me is a part of you and a bit of us both moves on and into someone somewhere else, perhaps even half a world away. My enemy and I are one. The bombs that destroy a villager's home will explode inside my heart.

"Because it is all of a piece, we need to change our piecemeal approach to addressing global issues and planetary concerns. We cannot carry on in isolation nor fix only one piece of the puzzle and forget about the rest. We need to re-image and re-imagine how we are going to proceed in a world that is constantly evolving. As we continue to speak metaphorically of building a better world, we need to reflect on how this metaphor fits within a quantum perspective, where building implies putting together something from separate parts. Constructing anything piece by piece is iconic of a past paradigm, like taking a text out of context and failing to recognize its place within the larger story and the overarching story's relationship to our own."

 


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Paradoxology
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