The first seven Councils of the Church were presided over by emperors and their focus was on belief statements that described God in static language and placed a male, almighty divine being in charge of the world. The image of the divine was power over vs empowering presence within connected with everything everywhere. Feminine images are missing in our early and current institutional Church creeds. The good news is that this has changed in our inclusive Catholic communities. Our belief statements incorporate the divine in inclusive language which incorporates feminine imagery as well as a wide variety of images for the Divine.
As Richard Rohr points out in The Universal Christ: "Emperors and governments do not tend to be interested in an ethic of love or service, or nonviolence (God forbid!), and surely not forgiveness unless it somehow helps them stay in power... Humanity now needs a Jesus who is historical, relevant for real life, physical and concrete, like we are. A Jesus whose life can save you, even more than his death. A Jesus we can practically imitate, and who sets the bar for what it means to be fully human. And a Christ who is big enough to hold all creation together in one harmonious unity. " ( pp. 105, 107)
Rohr speaks from the heart of his lived experience as a Franciscan priest that "truth is always for the sake of love- and not an absolute end in itself, which too often becomes the worship of an ideology..." and the people around us will tend to be more theological problem solving and theory than any real healing of people and institutions- which ironically is about all Jesus does."
Many people today seek genuine relationships of loving solidarity in times of turmoil. Religious institutions no longer are sanctuaries where people can find help in dealing with life issues. The exodus of women and young people from the Roman Catholic Church is only one of many examples of a spiritual void that needs to be filled.
The path to spiritual growth, healing and transformation encompasses not only what you believe but how you live. While vision statements and creeds are important, nothing trumps loving actions and selfless service. i believe more than ever our focus needs to turn to the healing power of prayer and action for justice, equality and inclusivity.
Ultimately we are all connected, one in the Holy One, however we theologize divinity. I believe that we can foster a more compassionate and just world every day through our loving actions.
Every act of kindness and every word of encouragement bring healing balm to the soul and are examples of the healing Christ presence in our world. As members of one Body, the Universal Christ, every act of service we do expands and deepens love everywhere. Each of us is full of divine power -many call the Holy Indwelling Spirit. Our actions are part of the divine flow of goodness that is evolving, nurturing and healing all beings, divine grace in action creating a more just and equitable world. As we witness for systemic justice for oppressed and marginalized people and for our earth, we grow in holiness and wholeness especially in times of turmoil and devastation.
Deep love expands our hearts with greater compassion. As we live the Christ presence in our broken world each of us is a wounded healer. Right thinking should lead to right saying and right action, but if they don't, right acting trumps everything. We can do something to save our planet and heal our world. Together we have great power when we act.
As my wise Irish mother, Bridie often said to me when my words were not matched by my actions: "leanbh mo chroí"( precious child of my heart), actions speak louder than words!"