Yesterday we considered Thomas Aquinas’ deep teaching that we undergo two resurrections and the first is our Waking Up.  How does that occur?  How do we wake up from our sleep?

Egret taking flight by a river. Photo by Adam Muise on Unsplash.

In my book Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth I speak of the need to fall in love at least three times per day.  Of course such falling in love is not an anthropocentric kind of falling love—it is falling in love with creation itself and its many expressions of beauty, of the Divine.  Why not wild flowers and elephants and trees and flowers as well as music and poetry and pottery and films and the rest?

Aquinas believes that Christ explicitly calls us to both the first and second resurrection:

Our Lord promises both resurrections, for he says: ‘Amen, Amen, I say to you that the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live.’  And this seems to pertain to the spiritual resurrection of souls….But later, it is the bodily resurrection he expresses, saying: ‘The hour is coming when all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God’ (John 5:25, 28)  For, clearly souls are not in the graves, but bodies.  Therefore, this foretells the bodily resurrection.

Detail from “15 Estacion: El paño de cuaresma latinoamericano: Un nuevo cielo y una nueva
tierra” in the el Via Crucis Latinoamericano series by Argentine activist, community organizer,
art painter, writer, sculptor, and 1980 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Adolfo Pérez Esquivel.
A full description of the series, and this painting, may be found here.

Resurrection is democratized for Aquinas.  Resurrection is not restricted to believers, but a “new creation “and a “common resurrection” happens to all and has already begun. 

On that day on which the resurrection took place a kind of new creation, as it were, began.  As the psalmist says (104:30) ‘Send forth your Spirit, and they will be created, and you will renew the face of the earth.’  And as Galatians puts it (6:15): ‘In Christ Jesus neither does circumcision nor uncircumcision have any value, but a new creation does….The life of the risen Christ is spread to all humanity in common resurrection.  Christ’s resurrection is the cause of newness of life which comes through grace or justice.

Divine radiance in all things. Sunset Valley of Golden Light, Hřensko, Czechia” Photo by Artem Sapegin on Unsplash

As humans awaken a new creation emerges.

In other words, to be a mystic, is to undergo resurrection.  Maybe this is what Mechtild of Magdeburg meant when she said “the day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw and knew I saw all things in God and God in all things.”  If resurrection has been democratized, so has mysticism.  And vice versa.

Mysticism is also Meister Eckhart talking about “breakthrough” when he says “In breakthrough I learn that God and I are one.”  Mysticism is about oneing (Julian of Norwich’s term).  Our union with self, cosmos, others, God.

Mysticism is Resurrection and Resurrection is Mysticism for Aquinas and Mechtild, Eckhart and Julian.  Us too?

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, 167-169. 

See also Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth, p. 19.

Banner Image: Touching the Sacred. Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplas

Queries for Contemplation

Have you undergone experiences where you have felt God and you are one?  What were the occasions for such experiences?  What difference did they register in your life?

Recommended Reading

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

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.

Conversations on Aquinas

As Matthew Fox’s travels have been curtailed due to the Coronavirus, he is sharing a series of conversations with revolutionary thinkers and spiritual teachers on the topics explored in his latest book, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times. In this video, he and Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guidebook to Sacred Activism and Turn Me to Gold, discuss one of the greatest theological minds of all time: What does Thomas Aquinas have to say to us today?

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

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6 thoughts on “Resurrection as Waking Up, continued”

  1. Avatar

    Good morning and thank you for sharing this substance and sustenance of spirit. The moon was hanging low and golden this morning under a cathedral of clouds, it was sheer joy and love to see, almost close enough to touch, and for each and every one of us to share, for free, such a precious gift of light. Unlike Jupiter we only have one moon, which makes it all the more special, a symbol of oneness for all, reflecting the light on us, within us. Carrying the weight of the World together lightens the load and preserving through Art the history turns pain to beauty, darkness to light. A precious burden of priceless cargo, as matter and energy and emotion transmute and resurrect. Struggling and marching up the path to justice carrying a song in the heart. All hands on deck, holding hands. It is soul-stirring sheer joy to share this daily meditation ritual, thank you. See you tomorrow.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Laura,
      Thank you for adding in your comments. This is a poetic description of a beautiful moment. I hope that you continue to keep your eyes on the skies and your. Fingers on the keyboard.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  2. Avatar

    Yes, I have, Matthew. When I was a very young nun, full of confusion and emotional, mental, and spiritual misery, I’d been saying this prayer that I’d read in a book that a bed-ridden nun had written: “Jesus, I believe in your love for me, but increase my faith,” doggedly for two years. One day, I was alone in the cathedral chapel in the convent where I was stationed to make the Stations of the Cross to try to alleviate the abyss that was threatening to open up within me, when , as I was starting the prescribed prayer, this simple prayer came to me to say: “Jesus loves me!” As I went along the stations, I felt more and more Presence, until when I knelt down at the altar rail the whole chapel was filled with the Love of God. Then, I was kneeling at Jesus’ feet , my hands on his lap, looking up into his eyes filled with such tremendous Love that I couldn’t believe it: Was this really meant for me??? I turned around, nobody else was in chapel, and Jesus kept pulling me back just by his loving eyes and beautiful smile. I saw so much Love there, that I felt that all the love from the beginning of time to this moment was NOTHING compared to his Love shining through for me! I felt that I was ready to go through the same suffering I’d been through, for the rest of my life, if I could go through this experience again. Finally, when I accepted his Love and smiled back at him, he left.

    I got up slowly, started back towards the door, when suddenly a very swift Light entered me, and I was utterly filled with the permeating, abiding Love of God. My heart was also filled with tremendous Peace and Joy, and I felt at one with the One from then on.

    Profound Peace and Joy and Love have stayed with me, even though I’ve had times when my thoughts ( so tricky and deceptive) have gotten the best of me. I didn’t feel I could tell ANYONE of this encounter with the divine, but I went around with this smile on my face and in my heart, doing all I could to love the nuns in my convent and the children I worked with, to the utmost.

    I tried opening up a little to a priest in confessional: he plunged a knife through my heart and blasted me. I crawled out of that box, wanting to hide somewhere, but, I saw then, that the only thing I could do, was love, love, love everyone with my whole heart and soul and strength always.

    I’ve had to do my inner work, of course, and the Beloved of my heart has seen to it that I was given many opportunities to do so! Here I am, 88, and still working away!

    Thanks, Matthew, for this opportunity of opening up. I did take a chance and wrote my story in 2014 without any catastrophic result, but no one ventured to question me. I entitled my book FOREVER BECOMING, because that is what I know is still happening.
    God’s blessings on you, my friend!

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Vivian,
      Surely your experience in the cathedral chapel was Jesus’ answer to your prayer, “Jesus, I believe in your love for me, but increase my faith”. I would say that you are fortunate to have had this experience, but you asked for it, literally.
      Gail Sophia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  3. Avatar

    Oh my Lord ,
    88 and you can still write wonderful words

    ”I’ve had to do my inner work”
    That’s my meditation for today

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