Geologian Thomas Berry talks about the need for “the Great Work” which is “the task of moving modern industrial civilization from its present devastating influence on the Earth to a more benign mode of presence.”
“The Great Work,” Berry says, is
…not a role that we have chosen. It is a role given to us, beyond any consultation with ourselves…We are, as it were, thrown into existence with a challenge and a role that is beyond any personal choices. The nobility of our lives, however, depends upon the manner in which we come to understand and fulfill our assigned role.
Such a great work will require great spirits, magnanimity, real warriors, and it will require steering our moral outrage and our powers of aggression and competition into positive directions.
Noble warriors are called for.
How close is our nobility? Meister Eckhart wrote an entire treatise on our nobility as humans beings and how “all people are aristocrats” or “nobles.” He writes:
Who then is more royal than one who was born, on the one hand, from the highest and best that a creature possesses and, on the other hand, from the most intimate depths of the divine nature and its wilderness?
For Eckhart, nobility means to live one’s life from one’s inner and truest self. He speaks to the “seed of God” that is in all of us and how we must cultivate that seed to become the royal people and divine people that we are. Our works will be royal and noble and god-like.
Hildegard of Bingen also speaks to our nobility and paints pictures of the grace that pours into us as a river of gold from Divinity.
When my book on The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine came out, one response to it came from an elegantly dressed and very tall Native American who approached me after I spoke at a conference in Santa Fe. He said he had been working in a men’s prison for twelve years and that men in prison are very unwilling to look inside themselves—that they prefer projecting onto others. He said he had been hunting for a book for years that would get men to look inside—and that my book, which deals with ten archetypes of the healthy masculine, was “the first book I found that got them to look inside.” And that in doing so, they “found the nobility inside.”
For me this is a powerful story. We all have nobility inside. But it takes hunting; and gathering; and an invitation to find what’s there since so many lessons we get from inadequate parenting or churching or schooling or from culture itself barely focuses on our nobility, on our original blessing one might even say.
Are we hunting and gathering for the nobility inside—not just oneself but others? Are we busy creating models of education and religion, politics and economics and media that carry that same story of our nobility?
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Passion for Creation, pp. 524, 521. Eckhart’s entire treatise with commentary following it can be found in pp. 510-530.
And from Matthew Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest, p. 419.
Also see Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine
Banner Image: “Remembering Nelson Mandela – Madiba Rainbows Of Tolerance: a tribute on the centenary of his birth.” Composite Image by Daniel Arrhakis (2018) on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you sense that a great role has been given to us today such as Thomas Berry speaks of? Do you feel the nobility of that call and the growing of nobility around you and within you to get the job done?
The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine
To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature, to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God
Join us for a Virtual Teach-in with Isa Gucciardi and Matthew Fox, hosted by Rev. Cameron Trimble.
August 13-14, 2021 (Fri-Sat)
Shamanism in Buddhism and Christianity
Session 1: Friday, August 13 at 4pm-6pm PT
Session 2: Saturday, August 14 at 9am-12pm PT
Session 3: Saturday, August 14 at 12:30pm-2:30pm PT