One man who celebrated the Divine Feminine and Sophia is the late Catholic monk Thomas Merton.
Merton, like Julian of Norwich whom he praised prodigiously, developed the theme of the “Motherhood of God.” He wrote: God is at once Father and Mother…. As Mother His shining is diffused, embracing all His creatures with merciful tenderness and light. The Diffuse Shining of God is Hagia Sophia [Holy Wisdom]. We call her His ‘glory.’ In Sophia His power is experienced only as mercy and as love.
Elaborating on the Divine Feminine, Merton went on to suggest a Quaternity rather than just a Trinity in the Godhead: Perhaps in a certain very primitive aspect Sophia [Sophia is Wisdom and is feminine] is the unknown, the dark, the nameless Ousia. Perhaps she is even the Divine Nature, One in Father, Son and Holy Ghost. And perhaps she is in infinite light unmanifest, not even waiting to be known as Light. This I do not know. Out of the silence Light is spoken. . . . In the Nameless Beginning, without beginning, was the Light. We have not seen this Beginning. I do not know where she is, in this Beginning. I do not speak of her as a Beginning, but as a manifestation.
As a monk, Merton spent hours every day and night feeding that intuitive side through prayer and chanting the wisdom scriptures such as the psalms and in meditation and contemplation and quiet, both alone and in communal ritual and ceremony.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey, pp. 158f.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: Thomas Merton with camera. Photographer unknown. From Catholica.com
Queries for Contemplation
Do you experience Wisdom, Hagia Sophia, as a manifestation? What is that like? What follows from that?
A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey
In A Way to God, Fox explores Merton’s pioneering work in interfaith, his essential teachings on mixing contemplation and action, and how the vision of Meister Eckhart profoundly influenced Merton in what Fox calls his Creation Spirituality journey.
“This wise and marvelous book will profoundly inspire all those who love Merton and want to know him more deeply.” — Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism