Merton and Quarks

View across Lake Chatuge

View across Lake Chatuge

Col 1:15-20

Brothers and sisters:
Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God, Jesus is the face of the Living God
the firstborn of all creation.
For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth,

the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers;
all things were created through him and for him.
He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the Body, the Church.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
that in all things he himself might be preeminent.
For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile all things for him,
making peace by the Blood of his cross
through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.

I have been reading books by Diarmuid O’Murchu, Catching Up with Jesus and Quantum Theology. Diarmuid makes the Creator and creation comes alive as an ongoing reality. The divine continues to unfold before our very eyes.

Relationality and birthing are key metaphors for the creative activity of God. The new physics—quantum physics—tells us that reality is not made up of discrete machine-like parts. Rather, reality is based upon relationships among elements, among quanta. The major concept of the relational matrix is the Trinity—total relationality.

Relationality evokes a key biblical concept—justice. Justice is not our notion of distributive justice. Biblically, justice is right order, right relationships among God, creation, ourselves, and other human beings.

R(el)ationality replaces rationality. I think; therefore, I am becomes I love; therefore, I am.[I don’t want to go too far with this but notice that the letters that make relationality different from rationality are “el.” El was part of the Hebrew names for God—El Shaddai, Elohim. Hmmm! Perhaps an infusion of the Divine.

The Creator birthed forth creation 14 billion years ago. The birthing is an ongoing process. The Creator became incarnate when humankind gained consciousness 6 million years ago. Jesus is the culmination of the incarnational process that began then. Jesus sets forth a new paradigm for the ongoing birthing.

This is a mystical approach to God and creation. This is the stuff of mystics and prophets. This is the stuff of all who peel back the onion and see the underlying reality unfolding.

Paul, the mystic, says that “Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God.” Jesus is the face of God. Jesus reveals a God of mercy, justice and compassion.

Jesus, the Word, was present at the very beginning of the birthing of creation. Dabar in Hebrew is more than just a static word for Word. Dabar is a dynamic word which effects what it signifies. The Word is uttered forth with power. All things were created in and through Jesus. He is the firstborn of all creation.

Jesus is the center. In Him all things hold together. He is the Alpha and the Omega. Jesus has restored right relationship. He is our peace—out total well being. No matter what goes on as the  Creator births forth, all is well and all will be well.

In Jesus, we are part of the larger whole which is greater than all the parts. The larger hole is the Kin-dom, Jesus’ “blueprint” for the new creation, a new world order which is egalitarian, not patriarchal. How the “church” has distorted Jesus and his message. The church has cloaked God and Jesus with the garb of patriarchy. Instead of being inclusive, the church has become exclusive. Jesus clearly showed that all are invited to the table. All are equal. All are welcome. And all are invited.

This is part of the reason why I think Thomas Merton has had such staying power. He had a deep relationship with Jesus. For him, kenosis—the self-emptying of Jesus—was the key to his belief. By emptying himself, Jesus birthed forth the Kin-dom.

Merton’s writings, especially his poetry, indicate a deep immersion in creation. He stands before creation in awe of the Creator. The very “inscape” of things gives glory to God. A tree gives glory to God by being a tree.

Borrowing from Julian of Norwich’s concept of “oneing,” Merton sees the unity of all creation and of all the created. He deeply understood his oneness with all others when he had his epiphany at Fourth and Walnut.

The new physics tells us that a mechanistic view where the parts make the whole does not suffice. Merton understood that the whole is greater than the parts. “There is an invisible fecundity in things.” Relationality is what counts.

Merton also eschewed patriarchy. His writings, especially his poem “Hagia Sophia,” show him coming to terms with the feminine within himself and within creation. The feminine represents mercy, tenderness, kindness as opposed to power, control, and domination.

Merton was tuned into Paul, the mystic, and the quantum theory before it even evolved. His prose and poetry has staying power for those who are seeking something more, something beyond the ordinary. Merton’s lifelong search for God and for meaning shows us the path to union with God.

Leave a Reply