Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Paradoxology: Spirituality in a Quantum Universe

Miriam Therese Winter, a Medical Mission Sister, is a professor of liturgy, worship, and spirituality at Hartford Seminary. She has written 15 books including The Singer and the Song: An Autobiography of the Spirit and Eucharist with a Small "e". The title of this daring work melds paradox and doxology challenging us to open ourselves to "The sacredness of science. The serendipity of sacramentality. A sensuality of the spirit. A presumption of surprise." For 20 years, Winter has been dazzled by paradoxology and on these pages she probes its manifold meanings.
She begins with a salute to science which has given us a new understanding of the quantum universe. In this realm, we actively participate in creating what we see. Spirituality connects us with others and makes openness a natural way of being. Both quantum physics and spirituality respect mystery. Gregory of Nyssa, a fourth-century theologian and bishop, said:
"When one considers the universe, can anyone be so simple-minded as not to believe that the Divine is present in everything, pervading, embracing and penetrating it?"
Another way of talking about the same things is to say, as Teilhard de Chardin did, that we live in a Divine milieu. Energy permeates the entire universe: it is the pulse of life. This power of the Spirit is the channel of Divine energy and we see it activated in chaos, in consciousness, and in connection. We are challenged "to join forces and pool resources for the greater good. Spirit linked to spirit can transcend our limitations, moving with the speed of light to liberate and bless."
Winter delineates various manifestations of a quantum spirit in coincidence, creation, and celebration. She then examines the gifts of the quantum spirit such as relativity, uncertainty, synchronicity, and complementarity. We realize that change is the name of the game. She concludes with a look at the four fruits of a quantum spirit: continuity, relationship, wholeness, and transformation. With dollops of poetry and a forward lunging style, the author spurs us onward to ride the energy waves of a synthesis of spirituality and science that is impressive and provocative.

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