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.

Standing alone in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis offers a blessing, prayer, and plea for the world to return to what is most essential in response to the coronavirus.

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.”

“The Last Hakawati (Storyteller) – Damascus” Photo by Evgeni Zotov, Flickr

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?

Rainbow through storm clouds: an ancient story of promise and hope. Photo by Dewang Gupta on Unsplash

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.

Communion with the Standing Ones. Photo by Michael Liao on Unsplash

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.

“Holy Wisdom” 16th-century icon at the church of St. George in Volgda. Photographer unknown; on Wikimedia Commons.

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.

Banner Image: Sunrise over Mountains. Photo by Luke Richardson on Unsplash

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”?

Recommended Reading

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.

Your Music Your Way Summit

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4 thoughts on “Tell the Holiness”

  1. Avatar
    Mary Strickland

    In the mid 1980’s, as I journeyed tentatively back to the Catholic Church, exploring the documents of the Second Council, a wise teacher put a copy of “Original Blessing” in my hand! Nothing has been the same since! there are no words to describe this incredible journey. I am so very grateful!

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Mary,
      Thank you for writing and sharing your story. Original Blessing has been a game changer for so many. We’re glad you are one of them!
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  2. Avatar

    I was given a copy of Original Blessing ” way back. I read and retread. It. That book now looks much loved and slightly well worn. It got me through the sudden death of my teenage daughter, that and the music of Taize.
    Fr. Matthew Fox and his philosophy has never been far from my prayers. But I lost touch with his wisdoms until one day on the internet I found that he is still teaching creation theology. I applied for his reflections , bought another of his later books and thus began a new journey based on his daily meditations.
    In Australia we have been reeling from the Summer bushfires across much of our regional east coast and with the current global viral crisis Matthews reflections , (along with my daily Jesuit contributions )are buoying my family and I on to greater attempts at prayer , positivity and hopefulness. Can’t Thankyou enough Matthew. Blessings to you dear friend.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Noela.
      Thank you for writing. Although we are now in a pandemic, the Australian brushfires have not been forgotten – and images of your continent on fire were received with deep grief all around the world. Both of these planetary crises are part of Creation regenerating herself, and hopefully transforming the human species. If we trust the theology of Creation Spirituality, we can expect creativity to rise out of these dark times of great loss and bring us with her. It is the way of all life. May an Earth honoring new way of living come to us all.

      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team.

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