Monday, May 02, 2016

An Impractical Prophet

There is one consistent criticism that I've heard throughout my life, again and again; "It's Impossible." Spiritual visionaries and progressive political political pioneers who envision a better world are dismissed as being "impractical" and "unrealistic."  Father Daniel Berrigan died last week at the age of 94. He spent his life as an advocate of the impossible, unrealistic, impractical ideals of the Kingdom of God.

In our contemporary world elected representatives generally fail to see any further down the road than their next reelection campaigns. Business leaders and Wall Street investors think in terms of riding bubbles for a year or two and then cashing in before the bubble bursts. There are few visionaries in the realms of politics or economics who have the courage to take a long-term, multi-generational view of things. We are a generation who've been trained to expect and require immediate, instant results. We "zap" our microwaved lunches in three minutes and web pages are loaded onto our monitors from halfway across the world in mere seconds. The concept of deferred gratification seems like some musty left-over from our puritanical past. And the idea of making present sacrifices for the sake of future generations strains the limits of our imaginations.

But people like Danial Berrigan remind us that there are realities that transcend our brief, ephemeral moment of incarnation. Danial lived his life in the larger dimensions of an evolutionary process which his fellow Jesuit, Teilhard de Chardin  called "cosmogenisis."

Berrigan and Chardin understood what awakened souls of every spiritual tradition have understood; that our individual lives are but precious, fleeting moments; that the tenure of our civilization is but an imperfect, faltering, infantile phase in an incomprehensibly expansive developmental process of the divine-human-planetary project. They understood their own lives as unique opportunities; not just as a short-sighted opportunistic chance to consume as many goodies as a lifetime affords, but as an opportunity to engage in co-creation. 

Enlightened beings such Berrigan don't expect immediate results. He surrendered his life; he lived by faith, offering himself as a sacrifice, throwing himself; his creative energy into an incomprehensible future that he knew as "The Kingdom of God."  He partook of "the age to come."  He knew that next phase of evolution is the process of Christo-genesis would carry us towards into increasing love of God and neighbor. He understood the need to live in reference to a transcendent dimension of reality, that we have not yet supplanted either biogenesis or the phase of egocentric acquisition and consumption. Berrigan understood that Christo-genesis, Christ in us moves us toward, uniting all consciousness, all humankind and the life of our planet in unity with God.

In this expansive view of the future, humans will be raised to the position of co-creators of complexity-consciousness, and to our self-awareness as the cosmic-Christ.  By living his life forward into the a seemingly impractical, unrealistic, impossible future, discernible only through the eyes of faith, Berrigan participated in the creation of that future.