Reading Hildegard of Bingen’s term “Original Wisdom” or Julian of Norwich’s “Original Goodness,” one is reminded of “Original Blessing” that a number of years back riled certain Vatican poohbahs and brought the wrath of the Inquisition (now called the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith) down on me.
Fortunately the present-day Vatican has made some progress out of the patriarchal dungeons of clericalism that was unhinged by the fear that clergy would all be out of a job were original sin removed as a starting point for religion.
The pope’s encyclical “Laudato Si,” which we have considered in three previous meditations, documents the goodness and therefore blessing that our earth is. Its very title means Praise. Maybe if previous generations of believers and their clergy had been better instructed in the ways of blessing (or read the first chapter of Genesis more thoroughly), we would not have so easily been seduced by original sin ideas that have helped to cripple humanity, feed its narcissism and ignore the beauty and goodness of the earth.
Indeed, the cynics of said Inquisition labeled Original Blessing “dangerous and deviant.” But given the latest reports of the goings-on after hours at the CDF as reported in Martel’s book, In the Closet of the Vatican, the shoe is on the other foot and it is hard to ignore a pot calling another pot black, the glass house people throwing stones, etc. etc. Hypocrisy and the hunger for power combined with a gobsmacking arrogance and cynicism now suggests that it is the Inquisition, not my writings, that is “dangerous and deviant.”
Be that as it may, let’s let history decide.
Meanwhile, our whole journey into what it means to be a mystic and prophet in the face of a declining planet is at stake in these Daily Meditations, so we don’t want to lose our focus over ecclesiastical battles. Let’s stick to the reality.
Which reality is that our Universe is a blessing. All two trillion galaxies of it! And what a blessing that our species has discovered so much about it, its expansion and size and age and our place in it has been put into a far fuller context since I first wrote my Original Blessing book in 1983. To begin with, original blessing does not ignore the evil of which humans are capable—that too has become even more prominent and obvious since 1983. We will be dealing more with evil as we move along through the Four Paths. But one grounds one’s battle with evil in the Via Positiva. In Love.
Queries for Contemplation
What does the term “original blessing” mean to you? Be with it. What does it stir up in you of Gratitude? Of Reverence? Of Generosity?
Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality
In this book Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology). Here Fox lays out the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
Matthew Fox’s stirring autobiography, Confessions, reveals his personal, intellectual, and spiritual journey from altar boy, to Dominican priest, to his eventual break with the Vatican. Five new chapters in this revised and updated edition bring added perspective in light of the author’s continued journey, and his reflections on the current changes taking place in church, society and the environment.