The Universal Christ

A RESOURCE COLLECTION

Many of us feel disconnected by difficult times, longing for ways to awaken God’s love in ourselves and the world. The reality we face is simple yet difficult—the healing of the world hinges upon honoring the inherent sacredness of the world and every one in it. We hope that as you explore this site and these teachings you might rediscover Jesus and learn to experience Christ in every thing.

Cover image of the Universal Christ by Richard Rohr, cover image
Now in Paperback

The Universal Christ

A RESOURCE COLLECTION

Many of us feel disconnected by difficult times, longing for ways to awaken God’s love in ourselves and the world. The reality we face is simple yet difficult—the healing of the world hinges upon honoring the inherent sacredness of the world and every one in it.

We hope that as you explore this site and these teachings you might rediscover Jesus and learn to experience Christ in every thing.

Cover image of the Universal Christ by Richard Rohr, cover image

"To be Christian is to see Christ in every thing."

Some things are just too big to be contained in the pages of a book. They reveal themselves as we test, practice, and integrate ideas into our lives and communities. This resource collection will help you explore the Universal Christ whether or not you read the book. Enjoy the videos, essays, podcasts, and stories that provide different perspectives and insight into this transformative reality.  

Opening Themes

Christ is not Jesus’ last name. 

Christ has existed 'from the beginning', so the Christ cannot be the same as Jesus.

Original goodness. 

The Christian story line must start with a positive and over-arching vision for humanity and for history, or it will never get beyond the primitive, exclusionary, and fear-based strategies of most early human development. 

Accept being fully accepted. 

God’s infinite love has always included all that God created from the very beginning. The connection is inherent and absolute.

Love is the meaning.

Love is a universal language and underlying energy that keeps showing itself despite our best efforts to resist it.

See Christ in every thing.

I have never been separate from God, nor can I be, except in my mind.

A sacred wholeness.

The full journey towards wholeness must always include the negative experiences—the cross—that we usually reject.  

Opening Themes

Christ is not Jesus’ last name.  

Christ has existed 'from the beginning', so the Christ cannot be the same as Jesus.

Accept being fully accepted.  

God’s infinite love has always included all that God created from the very beginning. The connection is inherent and absolute.

See Christ in every thing.  

I have never been separate from God, nor can I be, except in my mind.

Original goodness.  

The Christian story line must start with a positive and over-arching vison for humanity and for history, or it will never get beyond the primitive, exclusionary, and fear-based strategies of most early human development. 

Love is the meaning.  

Love is a universal language and underlying energy that keeps showing itself despite our best efforts to resist it.

A sacred wholeness.  

The full journey towards wholeness must always include the negative experiences—the cross—that we usually reject.  

History of Christ and the Church

Part One

In this fifteen-minute video, Father Richard explains how a succession of medieval scholars developed a theology around the religious and spiritual intuitions of Saint Francis of Assisi. He highlights how God has always spoken through creation since the beginning of time, and invites viewers into the struggle of understanding the Christ mystery. 

Part Two

In this nine-minute video, Father Richard shows that the Universal Christ is rooted deeply in tradition. He highlights the story of St. Ignatius of Antioch who began using the term “catholic” or "universal" to describe the Christian Church. He highlights what Christianity has lost through the separation of Eastern and Western churches. We need to regain an understanding of “original goodness.”

Part Three

In this ten-minute video, Father Richard looks at what was gained and lost in the Protestant Reformation and the challenges for Western religion that come through the Enlightenment. He encourages viewers to try and engage the Universal Christ not just as a rational idea but a participatory reality.

Every Thing Is Sacred

The Universal Christ is not just an idea, but a reality to live and experience. In Every Thing Is Sacred, a companion to The Universal Christ, Richard Rohr and Patrick Boland offer forty reflections and practices on what it means to live “in Christ.”

Sign-up for a free email series with five specially curated exercises from Every Thing Is Sacred designed to help you embrace the deep beauty of God — even amid all the uncertainties of life.

Sign-up for the email series

Perspectives on the Christ

Discover Christ in the margins

Don't think of Christ as a religious concept. Think of it as a descriptor for every thing. Every thing we can see. Every visible moment of this creation is a manifestation of the eternal Christ that existed since the beginning of time.

Fr. Richard Rohr, CAC Founder & Faculty

Inclusion from the beginning

If inclusion is to be meaningful it must be based on the idea that every one and every thing is included from the beginning. Not included in socially constructed hierarchies with allegiance to one political system or another but included in a web of life set forth from the foundations of the earth.  

Rev. Dr. Barbara Holmes, CAC Faculty  

Jesus is personal and Christ universal

I have to admit that when I first heard about this book I rolled my eyes. "Universal Christ" is often used in a way that extracts, commodifies, and generalizes the moral principles of Jesus Christ so that all particularity disappears. But that is not what Richard is doing.  

Cynthia Bourgeault, CAC Faculty  

Learning to see Christ 

What are the little moments and who are the people in our life that are the infinite mystery of Christ pouring itself out to us? Richard's great gift is saying very profound things in a very simple and accessible way that doesn’t water down his message.  

James Finley, CAC Faculty 

Visionaries in History

The Universal Christ Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene 1st Century CE

I have seen the Lord. Read More

Athanasius of Alexandria

Athanasius of Alexandria c. 296-373

All things have been filled with the knowledge of God. Read More

Gregory of Nyssa

Gregory of Nyssa c. 335-c. 395

Concepts create idols; only wonder grasps anything.
Read More

The Universal Christ Augustine of Hippo

Augustine of Hippo c. 354-430

Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.
Read More

Maximus the Confessor c. 580-662

Just as the thought of fire does not warm the body, so faith without love does not actualize the light of spiritual knowledge in the soul.
Read More

Universal Christ John of Damascus

John of Damascus c. 675-c. 749 

We must thank God for all created things, and show Him perpetual worship, as from Him and through Him all creation takes its being and subsists. Read More

Universal Christ Saint Francis

Francis of Assisi 1181-1226

While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.
Read More

Mechthild of Magdeburg

Mechthild of Magdeburg c. 1207-c. 1282 

The day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw and knew I saw all things in God and God in all things. Read More

The Universal Christ Saint Bonaventure

Bonaventure 1221-1274

If you do not know your own dignity and condition, you cannot value anything at its proper worth. Read More

John Duns Scotus c. 1265-1308

Our predestination to glory is prior by nature to any notion of sin. Read More

Julian of Norwich

Julian of Norwich 1342-1416

Know it well, love is its meaning. Who reveals this to you? Love. What does he reveal? Love. Why? For Love. Read More

Etty Hillesum 1914-1943 

Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it toward others.
Read More

The Universal Christ Caryll Houselander

Caryll Houselander 1901-1954

The sense of the joy in anything is the sense of Christ.
Read More

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 1881-1955

Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.
Read More

Thomas Merton 1915-1968

No despair of ours can alter the reality of things, nor stain the joy of the cosmic dance, which is always there.
Read More

Go Deeper with the Universal Christ 

It took me longer to write this than any book before. I want people to recognize something that is thoroughly biblical, but never the mainline tradition. What I’m trying to say for most of you will sound very new and very different. —Richard Rohr

This hour-long video provides a deeper exploration into the Universal Christ. Father Richard explains his framework for reading Scripture and understanding church history to demonstrates how these ideas have been a part of the Christian tradition since the beginning.  

Listen to the Podcast

Another Name for Every Thing with Richard Rohr is a conversational podcast series on the deep connections between action and contemplation.. Richard is joined by two students of the Christian contemplative path, Brie Stoner and Paul Swanson, who seek to integrate the wisdom of The Universal Christ amidst diapers, disruptions, and the shifting state of our world.

Listen wherever you follow podcasts.

About the Author

Father Richard Rohr is a Franciscan friar and ecumenical teacher who bears witness to the deep wisdom of Christian mysticism and traditions of action and contemplation. For over fifty years, Father Richard’s personal experience of God’s infinite and transforming love has inspired his lifelong work of helping to remove the barriers that keep people from knowing God’s love for themselves. Learn more about Father Richard Rohr or the Center for Action and Contemplation.

Author photo Richard Rohr

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