The Coronavirus emergency has us meditating on the Holy Story that our work is.  We are appreciating anew what medical workers are doing for the rest of us, as well as food providers and first responders and others whose work is ever more visible at the same time that many of us are urged to stay indoors and let our non-action contribute to common healing and prevention.

The CDC compares the potential number of cases, with and without interventions,
against the capacity of the health care system. Graphic from the University of California, San Francisco

But we deserve to re-learn about the power and importance of our own work too, as we work from home or prepare to return to work eventually.  (Not to leave out the work of parenting that is most likely being highlighted more as parents and children are together more in this moment of staying at home.)

Yesterday we saw how Aquinas teaches that our work involves the Holy Spirit or God who works through us.  He teaches that Divinity operates within our hearts when he exclaims:

God, who makes the heart, knows it…. God knows the heart. Therefore, also its works.

Mother teaches her son to write. Book photo created by jcomp –

And again,

One who knows the cause knows the effect. But the cause of all human effects is the heart.

Meister Eckhart echoes this same teaching when he writes that our work “draws all its being from nowhere else but from and in the heart of God.” 

Moreover, according to Aquinas, it is the Holy Spirit herself who “moves the heart to work.”

Just as a river moves sand and stones, so the Holy Spirit moves the heart to work. There are some rivers that move slowly, but this one is not of that ilk, for it moves swiftly, as the psalmist says, “the force of the river.”

A rushing mountain river. Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash

There are two reasons for this, first because the grace of the Holy Spirit flows suddenly through the heart—Acts 2 says: “suddenly a sound was made from heaven”; and in another way because it is by the force of love that the Holy Spirit moves the heart. Isaiah says: “He came like a violent river.”

This Holy Spirit who works through our work and moves our hearts to work is the same Holy Spirit who was said to move over the waters at the original creation of the world.

It is the same Spirit who ignited the first flickering light of the original fireball and the primal fire of Pentecostal flame.  This same Holy Spirit who “hovered over the waters [we would say the fireball] at the beginning of creation hovers over the mind of the artist at work.” 

And, in responding to one another’s needs, we are all artists.

An emergency like today brings home in stark relief the interconnectivity of ours and others’ work. 

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Reinvention of Work, pp. 66-68, 64.

See also Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, chapter 10.

Banner Image: A depiction of the Big Bang. Artist unknown.

Queries for Contemplation

Dwell in silence with the truth that our work demonstrates our interdependence.  What follows from that?

Do you sense the Holy Spirit working through your work?  And your work being the work of the Spirit?  And your work “drawing all its being from the heart of God”?

Recommended Reading

Natural Grace: Dialogues on Creation, Darkness, and the Soul in Spirituality and Science 
by Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake

Natural Grace, a 208 page inspired dialogue between theologian Matthew Fox and scientist Rupert Sheldrake, unites wisdom and knowledge from unconventional angles. Considering themselves heretics in their own fields, Matthew and Rupert engage the conversation from postmodern and post-postmodern perspectives, deconstructing both religion and science—while setting the foundation for a new emerging worldview. Having outgrown the paradigms in which they were raised, both Fox and Sheldrake see it as part of their life missions to share the natural synthesis of spirituality and science rooted in a paradigm of evolutionary cosmology.

The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times

A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book!  Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

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3 thoughts on “More Holy Stories of Our Sacred Work”

  1. Avatar

    Thank you for your meditations. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide us. I have your book Creation Spirituality. I was at one of your first conferences in Chicago many years ago. God Bless you Matthewq

  2. Avatar

    Yes, I do, Matthew. After reading your message I sat and pondered for a while, and felt sorry I could not be “out there” actively doing something because of my age and my circumstances. Not having a car, I’m the one who is the recipient of so much loving help from my neighbors and one close-by family member.
    Then it came to me while in meditation: offer your friends and family the gift of “long distance healing!” And suddenly, that seemed the right thing to do.

    A few days ago, a good friend suffering from fibromyalgia, asked me to help her, if I wanted. We settled on a time where she would lie down on her sofa and simply relax and receive, which she did. At the given time something a little miraculous happened. I usually take a nap in the pm around the time I was to send some healing: my cat, Elmer, usually comes and lies down on my chest, but now, I sat upright and paid him no mind; he started to climb on me, and backed off and went to lie down on the recliner where he quickly went to sleep. I suddenly saw him and myself surrounded by light, and the words came: HE ALSO ISTHE COSMIC CHRIST! Then I saw the light reaching out to my friend up the hill.

    After the half-hour session she called, had no pain and was laughing with joy. She told me that her 20-year old cat jumped on her (something he NEVER does) put his paw on her heart and stayed that way for the half-hour. I told her that my cat had communicated with hers!

    I opened up to this quote from Mechthild in your book: “I, God, am your playmate! I will lead the child in you in wonderful ways, for I have chosen you.” Perfect! Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to share this! Love and Blessings.

  3. Avatar
    Margaret Rose Hess

    In thinking about the work I have chosen and how the Spirit moves through us all in our work, I keep remembering a lovely saying that I have heard all my life, but one that doesn’t seem to be helpful for me: ‘Follow your Bliss’. For those who have encountered bliss, perhaps through prayer or meditation, this idea of following bliss may seem very appropriate. But for some of us, the idea of bliss as our guide to follow is difficult, because it presupposes that we know where to find bliss in the first place.
    Remembering times of joy (which may be a sister to bliss), it seems that joy has often been associated in my life with deep rooted, heartfelt, genuine thankfulness. We all say we’re thankful at times when we rationally know we should, like when Aunty M. knits us a Christmas sweater. But when we feel thankfulness it seems to well-up from the very ground we stand on, rising in us like an inevitable wave that sometimes brings joy or tears of joy in its wake. It strikes me that there may be an alternative guide for the work that I look to do: ‘Follow Thankfulness’, that which makes me thankful to be alive, thankful that I could contribute, help, make, give and also receive. In this way I can make choices that cause serenity, contentment and even joy to come and find me.

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