Last week I was invited to speak (by Zoom) on behalf of the Sophia Institute located in Charleston, South Carolina as part of a three-part series on: Wisdom, Love, Grace.
It was a rich experience and I began by talking about Wisdom, choosing first to read some of the wonderful teachings found in the Hebrew Bible about Wisdom—poetry that moved me profoundly when I first encountered it in my Catholic parish as a teenager especially on Saturday mornings which at that time were always dedicated to Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
Following my presentation on Wisdom, the founder and director of the Sophia Institute responded by saying that when she first encountered these biblical passages she became deeply angry.
Why? Because, having been raised Protestant, she was never exposed to this telling of the Divine Feminine as a child or young woman. She felt cheated at having to encounter them quite late in her life.
Kudos to the Roman Catholic church for not having thrown them out the door and off the bus altogether.
To its credit, it shared them in the name of Mary. (Unfortunately, some of that sharing included Mary on a pedestal meant for eternal virgins, but at least the poetry was there.)
And I for one—and I’m sure many other men as well as women—have been deeply moved and affected and influenced throughout my life by the teachings present there. Clearly, Thomas Merton was.
See Matthew Fox, “Wisdom: Another feminine Face of the Divine,” in Fox, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths, pp. 144-156.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: The Virgin of Montserrat, Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery, Catalonia, Spain. Photo by Enric on Wikimedia Commons
Queries for Contemplation
When did you first encounter the poetry of Wisdom and therefore the divine feminine in the Scriptures? Did it make a difference in your life and view of the world?
One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths
Matthew Fox calls on all the world traditions for their wisdom and their inspiration in a work that is far more than a list of theological position papers but a new way to pray—to meditate in a global spiritual context on the wisdom all our traditions share. Fox chooses 18 themes that are foundational to any spirituality and demonstrates how all the world spiritual traditions offer wisdom about each.“Reading One River, Many Wells is like entering the rich silence of a masterfully directed retreat. As you read this text, you reflect, you pray, you embrace Divinity. Truly no words can fully express my respect and awe for this magnificent contribution to contemporary spirituality.” –Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit