We are discussing generosity, so it seems useful to meditate on examples of generosity. 

Dorothee Sölle at the International Women’s Peace Conference, 1981. Photo by van Smirren/Anefo,  Nationaal Archief. On Wikimedia Commons.

Feminist theologian Dorothee Soelle writes convincingly of the real teaching of Jesus and the real meaning of Christ and all of it seems to add up to he and the rest of us being called to Generosity.  Here is how she puts it.

If Jesus of Nazareth was the poor man from Galilee who was tortured to death, then Christ is that which cannot be destroyed, which came into the world with him and lives through us in him.

When I say Christ, I always think also of Francis of Assisi and Hildegard of Bingen and Martin Luther King, Jr. and of Ita Ford, the American nun who was murdered in El Salvador — as well as of all resistance fighters who are sitting in prison today.

Martin Luther King, Jr. in Birmingham Jail. Photographer unknown.

Christ is a name which for me expresses solidarity, hence suffering with, struggling with.

Christ is the mysterious power which was in Jesus and which continues on and sometimes makes us into “fools in Christ,” who without hope of success and without any objective, share life with others.

Soelle points to solidarity and strength at the heart of struggle as being key to the “Christ power” and to spiritual authenticity.

Her understanding of Christ is that of the Cosmic Christ, the presence of the “mysterious power which was in Jesus” in all of us who struggle for justice and share solidarity with others in struggle.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German theologian, dissident, and African-American ally, was executed by the Nazis in 1943. Photo from RadicalDiscipleship.net

This work often renders us “fools in Christ.”

This Christ “lives through us in him” and it inspires all the recent martyrs in his name, from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Ita Ford and Oscar Romero and Sister Dorothy Stang, murdered in the Amazon for working on behalf of the rainforest and its peasant farmers.

For Soelle this is the power of Christ “which cannot be destroyed” and that rose from the dead after Good Friday. This is the meaning of Resurrection. 

Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, Cleveland Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel, and lay missionary Jean Donovan, were beaten, raped, and murdered by El Salvadoran military on December 2, 1980, four months after the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero. Photo from The Archbishop Romero Trust.

See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. 381-385

Also Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations, p. 276

Banner Image: Paulo Guajajara was murdered in an ambush in the Araribóia Indigenous Reserve, Brazil, November 1, 2019. He was one of 120 “Guardians of the Forest” fighting illegal logging and protecting the uncontacted Awá Guajá tribe. Photo from article, “‘Guardian of the Forest’ ambushed and murdered in Brazilian Amazon” by Karla Mendes/Mongabay.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you experience this Christ in yourself and your work?

Make a list of generous beings—human and more-than-human—who have been generous to you.  Now make a list of beings to whom you want to be generous in return.

Recommended Reading

Fox makes the point that religion has so often oversold the concept of “sin” that it has left us without language or power to combat evil. Through comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them.

The 365 writings in Christian Mystics represent a wide-ranging sampling of these readings for modern-day seekers of all faiths — or no faith. The visionaries quoted range from Julian of Norwich to Martin Luther King, Jr., from Thomas Merton to Dorothee Soelle and Thomas Berry.

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5 thoughts on “Examples of Generosity”

  1. Avatar

    I read your daily meditations and they often resonate but today’s meditation was transformative for me. I have never heard Jesus and Christ defined as it was; it provided a vivid image and differentiation that I had never heard before. Thank you for sharing Dorothee Soelle’s writing. This one is a keeper!

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Nancy,
      Thank you for writing and letting us know of the impact this meditation had on you. Understanding that the Christ is far more expansive than one particular life (although highly present and active in that life.) brings the holy task of life, death, and resurrection into every moment, from the Big Bang until now. Suddenly, we live in Christ, and Can act as Christ, if we choose.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditations Team

  2. Avatar

    What a beautiful invitation- to be generous and beckoned to make holy by sacrificing. My list of those I’m grateful for is very long, and I’m glad you suggested we list human and more than human beings- like the fish, fowl and other animals whose bodies have nourished my family and I. Staying awake to their sacrifice is important, as it opens me to not take them for granted and to eat less and less meat as I go.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Susan,
      Thank you for sharing your evolving practice of mindfulness and gratitude for those who have nourished you and yo ur family. What a way to draw the web of life closer and to appreciate the ways that we are all connected, both spiritually and physically. We are not completely ourselves, and all we can be is grateful!
      Gail SOfia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  3. Avatar

    A few meditations back Matthew said something to the effect “the antidote to evil is the Sacred”. Today he made a connection saying, “sacrifice means to make holy”. I would like to hear more on “the Sacred as the antidote to evil”. David Jackson

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