We saw yesterday how Cusa, speaking from the fifteenth century, was addressing the movement of Deep Ecumenism in our time. He says that while humans profess various creeds, there is really only one creed, and that is wisdom. Wisdom is simple yet infinite, and to apprehend it is to recognize a “supreme and terrible beauty.” Beauty is not the same as “pretty”; it relates to awe and even terror.
Who, what is Wisdom?
is shouting in the streets.
It is simply not enough
for those seeking wisdom
merely to read about it.
Wisdom must be discovered.
And once discovered
it must be learned by heart.
You will not find wisdom in your books
for it is not of your books,
but of the books of our God/dess.
What are these books?
They are those which the Divine has written
with her own finger.
Where can they be found?
Like premodern thinkers everywhere, Cusa does not consider literal books and human words adequate for understanding God’s Word. As it is to Aquinas and Eckhart and Francis of Assisi, to Cusa the Book of Nature is just as important as human books. You don’t read about wisdom so much as you search it out in the streets; you discover it everywhere and in everything. It is available to all. Literacy is no test of spirituality.
Cusa challenges us to move beyond parochial creeds to recognize this one supreme and terrible beauty that is wisdom. Are we up to his challenge?
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations, p. 159.
* See James Yockey, Meditations with Nicolas of Cusa (Bear & Co), pp. 110f.
See also, Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 125-127.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Queries for Contemplation
Be with Cusa’s poem to wisdom. What is it saying to you? How does it transform you?
The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance
In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.