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Sacred Energy (Mass of the Universe) — Part 3

Part 3 of Sacred Energy (Mass of the Universe) contains the downloadable Powerpoint slides that illustrate the various parts of the mass, as well as some background commentary on the piece as a whole.

A separate resource, Part 1, contains the text of the mass with embedded mp3 files, so you can hear the music as you read through it. Finally, Part 2 contains downloadable pdf’s with the complete text (including melody lines) as well as the complete musical score for an accompanist.

This narrated musical exploration of the mystical sense of oneness and sacredness of all that is was written by William L. (Bill) Wallace of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Click here for the Powerpoint slides:  Wallace.Sacred Energy

 

THE IDEOLOGY BEHIND SACRED ENERGY / MASS OF THE UNIVERSE

PREVIOUSLY PRINTED IN THE NEWSLETTER OF

THE FORUM ON RELIGION AND ECOLOGY OF YALE UNIVERSITY (June 2009)

 

“Sacred Energy / Mass of the Universe” comes from a prophetic, mystical orientation in which everything is seen to be one, inter-connected and intrinsically sacred. The title incorporates a pun in which mass in the sense of substance is linked with the Mass in the sense of a Christian Eucharist. It also seeks to reflect Einstein’s famous equation E=mc2 in which he demonstrates that matter and energy are two forms of the same reality. While the Mass seeks to be true to its Christian origins, its fresh ways to explore the archetypal symbolism of a communal meal can be adapted for use within the context of other world religions or of non-institutional forms of spirituality.

 

This liturgical work is shaped by the conviction that dualism and anthropocentrism are enemies of ecology. In religion the most
predominant form of dualism (the dividing of reality into 2 separate entities) is the relegation of God (the supreme mystery) to some other realm, such as a heaven and the presentation of Earth as only minimally sacred or at worst downright evil. In such an ideology human beings are called to wage war on the world and the flesh and in its extreme form there is the assertion that we were conceived in sin!

 

The other major enemy of ecology is the assertion that human beings are the centre and crown of creation. Science has enabled us to discard the beliefs that Earth is the centre of the solar system and that our solar system is the centre of our galaxy. Indeed it now appears that there is not even a centre to the Cosmos. So human beings who seem to be intrinsically filled with the desire to exalt themselves are beginning to be dethroned from their belief that they are the crown of creation and the centre and soul of all that lives. In its place we are beginning to accept that the Cosmos itself is the crown of Creation.

 

This mass invites the human being to enter into dialogue with the Cosmos and be open to its wisdom in the same way that Jesus invited his followers to enter into dialogue with (consider, reflect on) the lilies of the field, the yeast, the mustard seed etc. The Mass opens with the human being becoming aware that there is a Way to the sacred heart of the Mystery, a Way within and beyond the flesh and bone, stream and stone of the expanding Cosmos. In singing the song of mass and energy, Eucharistic Death and Resurrection, the golden doors to the Mystery open wide. Responding to the human being’s search for oneness with the Universe it replies that to achieve this you must listen to the Cosmic story for its story is your story. There follows an outline of the evolutionary process.

 

As a consequence of this the affirmation of the sacredness of human beings precedes the process of acknowledging our weaknesses, our illusions and our destructiveness. Another result is that prayer is perceived as arising from the silence between the words and takes the form of a dialogue with the sacredness out there or with the sacredness within us or with both. This inner sacredness is often identified as the Inner Christ, the Buddha nature, our I AM, “that of God within us”, etc.

 

The central fourfold action of the Mass (the Offering, the Thanksgiving,The Fraction and the Sharing) is linked to the imagery of the ‘Ocean of Letting Go, the Mountain of Thanksgiving, the River of Process and the Sharing of Earthed Blessing’.

 

The symbolism of a sacred meal is expanded to include the processes of the Universe and in particular that of recycling in which new life comes out of death with its accompanying breaking and flowing.  Examples of this process are the way soil comes from stone, seed from the breaking of the shell and creation from destruction. The outpouring of wine replicates the smashing of atoms, the exploding of stars and human flesh dissolving into the elements.

 

 

Finally both the breaking and the out pouring are embodied in the way in which the life of one organism is sacrificed in order to provide the food which enables another to survive and flourish. Human beings whether carnivores or vegetarians are no exception to this process. So in a sense the whole of the food chain is one vast Eucharist.

 

The Mass concludes with a doxology to the God of Process celebrating the creative activity within us as well as throughout the whole of the Cosmos. This is followed by the affirmation that Earth is a blessing and that we, as part of Earth are also part of that blessing and are called to share it.

 

Behind all of the Mass there lies the belief that the way forward in spirituality does not lie in a rationalistic reduction of spiritual realities. On the contrary I believe that it is in the expansion of religious symbols to embrace the whole of reality often falsely divide into science verses religion. It is my conviction that inclusive mysticism alone can provide a way beyond the suffocating attempts of human beings to define the indefinable mystery (God), a mystery which is ultimately only accessible through wonder, love and praise.

 

 

CRITIQUE OF THE MASS BY THE EDITORS OF THE FORUM ON RELIGION AND ECOLOGY

Although written from a Christian perspective, this mass addresses all humans. Aiming to transform human-Earth relations, the mass invites dialogue between all of the world’s religious traditions as well as dialogue between humans and the cosmos as a whole. Reflecting on Wallace’s work, we are reminded of another advocate of inter-religious dialogue and of intimate relations between humans and the unfolding cosmos: the geologian Thomas Berry.

 

 

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