Cynthia Bourgeault: Mystical Body of Christ

Cynthia Bourgeault: Mystical Body of Christ

“What Jesus so profoundly demonstrates to us in his passage from death to life is that the walls between the realms are paper thin. Along the entire ray of creation, the “mansions” are interpenetrating and mutually permeable by love. The death of our physical form is not the death of our individual personhood. Our personhood remains alive and well, “hidden with Christ in God” (to use Paul’s beautiful phrase in Colossians 3:3) and here and now we can draw strength from it (and [Christ]) to live our temporal lives with all the fullness of eternity. If we can simply keep our hearts wrapped around this core point, the rest of the Christian path begins to fall into place.” Cynthia Bourgeault in The Wisdom Jesus (Shambhala 2008), p. 133-134.

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Bourgeault is pushing the envelope on our relationship with those who have died by also interpreting our relationship to the resurrected Jesus. She reminds us of the passage from John (14:2) so often spoken at funerals, “ In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places [mansions]. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”

She is telling us that Jesus demonstrates to us that the walls between these dwelling places or mansions [if you are a King James reader], and our homes are very thin and are permeated by love. This speaks to Paul’s thoughts in 1Corinthians (13: 8) “Love never ends.” The love we have for each other never dies. Our body dies, but that love never dies, and in some mystical way our individual personhood in love reaches out through the mystical body of Christ to continue to bring love into this world and the next.

We connect to this love “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3) when we open the “eye of our heart’ through spiritual practices such as centering prayer meditation, lectio divina, the welcoming prayer, chanting, especially the Psalms.