I was recently informed by a reader of this DM that a story I told in a video about a priest in northern Italy was later proven to be inaccurate. I apologize to our readers but I also remind them that the story, though it was proved to be not factually true, was still an important teaching of generosity and holiness.
Flannery O’Connor reminds us of the following truth: “In the long run, a people is known not by its statements or its statistics, but by the stories it tells.”*
In a time of plague and the collapse of daily routines and work worlds and more that we hope and pray is only temporary, it is good to remember what matters most. And to share those holy stories.
Thomas Merton exclaims: God “speaks to us gently in ten thousand things…He shines not on them but from within them.”
Have we heard this speaking? Have we tasted this
same numinosity shining forth from creation and its ten thousand things?
Then we know the Cosmic Christ (and Buddha Nature and Image of God). We know the Sacred. We have experienced it.
We are surrounded by stories. Every person has many stories to tell as well as that unique story which is one’s life.
One story we need to hear often this: Creation is holy. Are we aware? Are we learning to cherish it more deeply and to defend it more generously?
Are we the courageous lovers that all spiritual traditions, East and West, North and South, urge us to be?
Can the new story of Creation Spirituality assist us in entering a deeper level of our evolution as a species, a level where our deepest recesses come to life?
Scott Russell Sanders connects our belief in story with a belief in the sacred, telling us that the Apache word for myth means to tell the holiness. The Sacred is so big it requires more than mere facts–it also requires story. He believes that behind our sacred stories is “our intuition that beneath the flow of creation there is order, within change there is permanence, within time there is eternity.”
Holiness is also like this, Sanders writes:
By telling the holy, sacred stories ground a people or an individual, not merely in a landscape, but in the power that creates and preserves the land.
Creation Spirituality is such a telling of the holy—a sacred story that heals the dangerous rift between religion and science and between the human and the earth and the psyche and the cosmos. It signals a new path forward born of ancient wisdom in this time of serious challenges and possible new futures.
Consider this ancient but very relevant poetry about Wisdom whose relation to the cosmos is irrevocable and that comes from the Hebrew Scriptures. It is another effort to “tell the holy” and is a gift from our ancestors.
She is so pure, she pervades and permeates all things.
She is a breath of the power of God,
Pure emanation of the glory of the almighty;…
A reflection of the eternal light,
Untarnished mirror of God’s active power,
Image of his goodness….
She makes all things new.
In each generation she passes into holy souls,
She makes them friends of God and prophets….
Over Wisdom evil can never triumph.
She deploys her strength from one end of the earth to the other,
ordering all things for good. (Wis 7. 24-27; 30-8.1)
In this month of March which is a month of women, it is good that Mother Wisdom speaks to us still in such ancient stories of deep wisdom.
Matthew Fox, A Way To God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey, p. 232.
Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners, ed. Sally and Robert Fitzgerald (NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1962), 192
Scott Russell Sanders, Staying Put: Making a Home in a Restless World (Boston: Beacon Press, 1993), 154.
Queries for Contemplation
What does it mean to you that ancient peoples speak of myth as “telling the holiness”?
What stories do you cherish as stories that “tell the holiness”?
A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey
In A Way to God, Fox explores Merton’s pioneering work in interfaith, his essential teachings on mixing contemplation and action, and how the vision of Meister Eckhart profoundly influenced Merton in what Fox calls his Creation Spirituality journey.
“This wise and marvelous book will profoundly inspire all those who love Merton and want to know him more deeply.” — Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism
Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth
Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.