Love: Ilia Delio

​I have chosen to include Ilia Delio in this series in order to point to those who are seeking to lead us into fresh discoveries of God, and are doing so using a theology of love.  Sr. Ilia’s core conviction is that Love is at the center of the universe, and that understanding and experiencing God as love are essential if we are to thrive and survive. [1]

Like a growing number of people today, Sr. Ilia believes some of our concepts of God (e.g. a distant machineist) and certain containers for God (e.g. a lot of institutional religion) are “tired” instruments that have served their time, but are failing to do so today.  But she is also one who does not believe that overthrowing the past is the way to go; instead, she chooses to live and work “on the edge of the inside” transforming the past into a dynamic future.  And for her, that means the returning of Love to the core of existence–thst is, to the center of our belirfs and behaviors.  Her vision includes the following things.

First, the words “God is love” are the means for understanding everything else and the lens through which to look in order to see things aright. Far from being an isolated biblical verse, the words are the organizing revelation of Scripture.  And much more than a phrase in a sea of mantras, “God is love” is the root of all the rest.  Love is Being . [2]

That being so, her second overarching conviction is that we experience Love and express it through nondual, integrative, and unitive thinking and living.  The era of divisions (which inevitably spawn hierarchies and resulting conflicts) is over, being replaced by a return to the primal sense that all is one—what Paul meant when he wrote, “Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:11).  This is the nonduality of Genesis 1:1 (”heavens and the earth”)  John 1:3 ( “all things were made by him”), and Acts 17:26 (”in him we live, and move, and have our being”).  Individuality and specificity exist, but they live (and contribute to life) only in a universal relationship characterized by Love. [3]

Third, Sr. Ilia has accepted a call to bring religion and science back into a symbiotic relationship, in which they are meant to be.  Her means for doing this is by using the thought of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.  This includes a substantive presentation of his views (as her writings and videos reveal), but also a presentation which ignites the fire of love, which revives the mystical way where Love is expressed for the common good. [4]. Here again she joins a host of others in the reuniting of spirituality and science. [5]

It boils down to the simple fact that we live or die (individually and collectively) in relation to Love.


[1] I hope you will become familiar with Ilia Delio if you are not already.  Her ministry called The Omega Center (https://omegacenter.info) is the best way to begin.

[2] Sr. Ilia writes about this in an essay entitled, “Being as Love” in the “Ask Ilia” series, 3/19/19.  Available in the Resources section on the Omega Center website.

[3] She has an excellent testimony chapter in the book edited by Andrew Davis and Philip Clayton, ‘How I Found God in Everyone and Everywhere (Monkfish Books, 2018), chapter 3.

[4] In the Christian tradition, this is called sapiential theology.  It essentially means that beliefs are genuine only the extent they are enacted.

[5] A good primer on this  union is, ‘On the Mystery of Being: Insights on the Convergence of Science and Spirituality,’ (Reveal Press, 2019).  Chapters from multiple authors.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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