Christ our Brother
The theologian Karl Adam summed up early Christian Spirituality with the words, ‘Christ Our Brother’. Imagine a circle with Christ at its centre, radiating the infinite love that has been transposed into human loving, in his own risen and glorified body. Those who choose to receive his love are drawn back into him, to begin the journey back whence they came into the fullness of the Father’s love, (which is the Holy Spirit) that endlessly passes to and from between the Father and his son. Choosing to receive this love means choosing to observe the first of the New Commandments, by loving God in with and through Christ. This enables his love to enter, ever more fully into us so that we can observe the second of the New Commandments by loving others, as Christ loves and continues to love us. It was this quality of loving that was seen in the way the first Christians lived and died that converted the Roman Empire into a Christian Empire in just three hundred years.
When we say ‘Our Father’ then, we don’t just mean that we pray with Christ, and in Him, but also that we pray together with all humankind who are alive in Him too, because in Him there is no death. St Francis takes this a step further. “If all things were created in the one he called Brother Jesus, then all things are brothers and sisters to each other.” Indeed the whole world then must be a friary, and the highways and the byways of that world, must be the cloisters of this friary. So whenever Francis walked through these cloisters with his brothers, he orchestrated the whole of creation around him, to give praise and thanks with them, to God their common Father through Jesus their eldest brother.