Yesterday, in the new weekend version of the DM with an extended video, it was my privilege to share with you some of the wonderful teachings from Meister Eckhart found in his treatise on the royal person which we all are.*

Healthy masculinity modeled by a kind coach in Walukuba, Uganda. Photo by John Peltier via Flickr.

Keep in mind that the current DM’s are in response to the first Senate hearing dealing with the tragic and alarming events of January 6th, events that I believe are symptomatic of several problems with America today: The temptation to authoritarianism; the unleashing of the reptilian brain; the apparent failure of education to teach values that matter; and the toxicity of a distorted understanding of what healthy masculinity is about and how to learn it.

I was particularly pleased to share the observation of a prison chaplain about how my book on a healthy masculinity allows men to look inside “and find the nobility” that is there alongside Meister Eckhart’s  elaboration of what “nobility” actually means.

Disabled men rooted in resilience, enjoying team sports. Photo by Anas Aldyab from Pexels.

Today we meditate on further teachings from Eckhart on what is implied in rediscovering our inner “nobility” which, as we recall, he links to our “inner person” or what we call today the “true self.” It lurks in all of us and is just waiting to be invited out—to play and to work—in our souls, professions, institutions and culture (politics included).

Eckhart continues his teachings:

People grow and become rooted in love and in God so that they are ready to take upon themselves every attack, temptation, vexation and painful suffering willingly and gladly, eagerly and joyfully.

This is what we heard from the four policemen who testified to the horror and angst they experienced over many hours on January 6th. It is also testified to by those four officers who committed suicide after the traumatic events. 

It is also witnessed by those millions of people who fought to survive slavery for generations; and those who fought a civil war to put slavery to rest; and those who marched and bled and died in the civil rights movement a century later.

Brazil Solidarity Network, Idle No More SF Bay, and Indigenous Women of the Americas Protecting Mother Earth Treaty, San Francisco Brazilian Embassy, 2019: Protect The Amazon – Respect Indigenous Rights – The Amazon Is Not For Sale. Photo by Peg Hunter on Flickr.

Indigenous peoples too, who have been undergoing the trauma of their community suffering under the onslaught of broken treaties and lost wars and rape of their land and religion, are also witnesses to this same reality.

What Eckhart is saying is that the nobility we carry within us includes our acts of courage and endurance and trust and faith that we will carry on and that justice and peace can triumph. There is a resilience to our species and our communities that will not dry up and will not roll over and play dead. It is deeper than defeat and sadness. That is part of our dignity, our nobility. 

Eckhart says we even become “drawn and changed into the divine image,” and face-to-face with what it means to be “children of God.” This image, says Eckhart, “is occasionally hidden,” but “is like a living fountain in the depths of the soul [that] remains inwardly alive” no matter what.   

To be continued.

*That treatise composes “Sermon 36” in my book containing 37 of his sermons and/or treatises with commentaries entitled Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart (originally called, Breakthrough: Meister Eckhart’s Creation Spirituality in New Translation), pp. 510-530.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Passion For Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart, pp. 512f. 

Banner Image: Untitled Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

Do you sometimes sense a living fountain in the depths of the soul that refuses to be covered over, that remains inwardly alive, even when it is sometimes thwarted? Do you recognize that as the image of God in you and the source of your nobility come what may?

Recommended Readings

Meditations with Meister Eckhart: A Centering Book

A centering book by Matthew Fox. This book of simple but rich meditations exemplifies the deep yet playful creation-centered spirituality of Meister Eckhart, Meister Eckhart was a 13th-century Dominican preacher who was a mystic, prophet, feminist, activist, defender of the poor, and advocate of creation-centered spirituality, who was condemned shortly after he died.
“These quiet presentations of spirituality are remarkable for their immediacy and clarity.” –Publishers Weekly.  

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7 thoughts on “Eckhart on Our Nobility, continued”

  1. Avatar

    I,ve found of late with my inner work its less about me asking the questions to God but more about God asking me the questions.
    That’s why these meditations are so insightful.
    I say this because the theme of real nobility is something I had never considered.
    Being English we have a long history of human Kings and Queen’s – with that comes a lot of empirical and patriarchal baggage. It seems to me this royalty is a million miles away to what authentic royalty is.
    If Kings and Queen’s are anointed by a representative of the Church then that ,I assume, comes with a holy endorsement…Anointed by God.
    Certainly in the West the new pseudo King’s and Queen’s are our leaders, our politicians,even our businesses. They govern us at a certain level.
    However the praxis is often a long way from the theory.
    As the events of Jan 6th and all injustices testify too.
    True nobility perhaps comes from the opposite of what we assume.
    True nobility comes from compassion and the choices we make.
    I’m reminded of Simon and Garfunkel “the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls” – a prophet always is on the side of those who suffer injustice and that lyric reminds me that often real dignity is found where we least expect it ( how could we imagine the Son of God would be a baby, born in a stable,not surrounded by advisors or earls et al but by shepherds animals and mystics)
    And therefore how amazing it is that royalty therefore is in us…
    And of course with this comes a responsibility to give birth to God again, and again and again…

    1. Avatar
      Antonia Marrero

      Dear Steve M.,
      “True nobility comes from compassion & the choices we make.”
      That’s a slogan for a t-shirt I’d wear & share.
      God/dess bless,
      Antonia M.

    2. Avatar

      Thank you Steve. Your response really resonated with me. I am also learning to play Simon and Garfunkle’s SOUNDS OF SILENCE on the piano.

      My poem on the topic of ‘Kings and Queens’ and the toxic masculine. Surprisingly it was published a couple of decades ago in a Catholic Newspaper. It is presented here in part:

      Some Christ!
      Locked up like a beast in
      their vaulted cathedrals or
      dragged through the streets in
      a heavy gilt monstrance
      heavy guilt monster raised
      high over the people by
      clean priestly hands swathed
      in pure silk shot through with
      gold thread strip-mined seven
      times seven times from the
      deepest warm seams of the
      scarred heart of this woman,
      Black Mother of All.

      1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
        Richard Reich-Kuykendall

        Gwen, thank you so much for sharing some of your poem with us. Perhaps you could provide the place where we can all read it in full!

    3. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Steve, I think that many are surprised by the idea of our Nobility–but it is true when you consider we are all children of God, and brother to “the King of Kings.” Our humility–from humus–of the soil or “earth” is not lessened by our nobility. One is an attitude, the other is a fact.

  2. Avatar

    Thank you, Steve, for reminding us of the imagery of those who honored Jesus’ birth were shepherds (one of the
    Bible’s prominent images of God–as compassion-centered being and guide) and mystics (who can help unlock for us the meaning behind the Bible’s stories, parables, teachings and metaphors). It’s important to keep remembering this.

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