Meditating on Evil during
Holy Week

Holy Week seems like a good time to meditate on evil, since not only Christians, but most people can recognize in the Jesus story, a story about evil at work.  Its tragic (and somewhat predictable) ending on Good Friday lays bare a lesson about evil that is instantly recognizable, truly archetypal–the powerful decide and those preaching love and justice pay a price.

“Ecce Homo”- Pontius Pilate Presenting Christ to the Crowd. Painting by Jacopo Tintoretto, 1546. On Wikimedia Commons.

Like the Passover story we meditated on three days ago, the presence of Pharaohs (and betrayers) in our lives and the power of empires manipulating and corrupting religions is no secret in history.  In fact, it almost seems the rule.

As the George Floyd murder awakened more and more people of all races and ethnic groups to the raison d’etre behind Black Lives Matter, and as the recent murder of seven Asian women in Atlanta is bringing alive the truth of oppression of Asian peoples that has a long history in America, so too our awareness of Indigenous suffering is a story that needs to be told.

Indigenous-rights organizations charge the Bolsonaro junta with genocidal intent behind its lax response to the pandemic, opening the rainforest to development as its peoples die off. Video by Al Jazeera English

Telling true stories is how one cuts through denial… and denial is so a la mode in American politics today, where one entire political party is still in public denial about climate change and the ongoing crucifixion of Mother Earth and her creatures that now threatens millions of other species with extinction, including our own.

Many of the same political party, with their media enablers, live in denial of what 61 court cases determined was a big lie, namely that Biden did not win a free and fair election as president.  And, being lousy losers like their leader, they are now making laws that take us back 150 years to the Jim Crow times. 

If we tell the true stories, healing can begin to happen. Truth matters.  Lies and cover up and chosen forgetfulness do not allow truth to be told, therefore it does not allow healing to happen and generation after generation will be inheriting untreated trauma. 

Pupils at Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Pennsylvania (c. 1900). Source: Frontier Forts. On Wikimedia Commons.

In yesterday’s meditation I alluded to the evil of the boarding schools to which Native American children were sent by the American government, often allied with religious (Christian) abettors. A powerful and prophetic book appeared this year to remind us of the evil that went on there and the terrible trauma that has been inherited by subsequent generations of Native Americans.  The price paid by the colonized at the hands of the colonizers.

Donna Schindler’s recent book, Flying Horse: Stories of Healing the Soul Wound is a book for our times (for which, in interests of transparency, I was honored to be asked to write a Foreword).

The legacy of colonialism continues at the U.S. border. “Cages.” Image by Jared Rodriguez /

Schindler is a psychiatrist who has dedicated her life to working with indigenous peoples, seven years with the Maori in New Zealand, and then twenty-five years with the Navajo.  She makes clear in her book that there are soul wounds everywhere around the world due to the traumas that colonialism left behind.  She believes letting the people tell their stories is key to healing that soul wound.  

To be continued

See D. Schindler, MD, Flying Horse: Stories of Healing the Soul Wound (Santa Ynez, CA: Tribal Eye, 2020).

And Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp.xxiii-xxviii.

Banner Image: (Detail) Stowage of the British slave ship Brookes under the regulated slave trade act of 1788. More than 200 years later, the descendants of Africans captured for the Middle Passage still deal with the epigenetic legacy of slavery and racism. Image by the Plymouth Chapter of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade. On Wikimedia Commons.

Are you familiar with the “soul wound”?  Is it part of your inheritance?  Do you understand how it has haunted the victims of colonizers as well as slave holders in American history? 

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6 thoughts on “Meditating on Evil during <br>Holy Week”

  1. Avatar

    Matthew, you touch on a subject that is very dear to my heart? All of the racial hate and destruction in America. I am a white women, but I have had a passion against racism all of my life and so much compassion for the people who have been victims to this horror.
    We are just at the beginning of America having its Pluto return in astrology. It will be exact in February of 2022. I feel there will be and is a reckoning now for all of the harm America has caused for all indigenous people, so we can have a rebirth to a new way of being. Pluto always brings death and rebirth and it is time for America to change. The Pluto influence will be felt for at least the next 4 years, with the next 3 the most intense. May deep forgiveness and compassion pour into all our hearts.???

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Joanne, thank you so much for your comment, and for explaining what Pluto’s return will mean for our future, and for your passion against racism…

  2. Avatar

    Long contemplation about evil. To love the darkness ..knowing your attitude and actions cause harm and to do nothing about it

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Nancy, I like how you say that “To love the darkness–knowing your attitudes and actions cause harm, and to do nothing about it” is the height of irresponsibility. May God bless you…

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