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?


“Five Virtues Building a Heavenly City in the House of Wisdom” by Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias, in Matthew Fox, Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen

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.

Banner Image:  The Elephant Ambassador and his family, 2011. Photo by Deena Metzger, from her website home page. Deena shares her encounters with the Elephant Ambassador in her blog, Ruin and Beauty.

Queries for Contemplation

Be with Cusa’s poem to wisdom.  What is it saying to you?  How does it transform you?  

Recommended Reading

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.

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

Share this meditation


Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox is made possible through the generosity of donors. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation

Search Meditations





Receive our daily meditations

12 thoughts on “Cusa on Wisdom”

  1. Avatar

    What I found interesting in today’s DM, were the words Mathew spoke in the video clip, “that all of creation is a word and a book about God.” What intrigued me about this statement was then to consider myself too, as being a word and a book about God. I’ve heard it said by many, that our journey, is the book of our life.

    However, hearing this as Mathew has spoken it, seems to imply something different, something beyond the story of my personal life journey. I find myself curiously wondering what does my book about God, contained within myself have to say about God. This makes me question… am I plagerizing other people’s books about God, or am I co-authoring a book that is meant to be written with words that are to be authentically my own, based on my own unique experience and personal relationship with God, as the creator of this inner book? Do any of us really speak forth words that give voice to something new, or are they just words that expand on those of others already spoken of about God?

    There’s an invitation to trust, that I hear as I ponder Mathews words spoken… to trust that I am a creature of God, whom is being encouraged to give voice to my own book about God, based on my own unique experience and personal relationship with God, that is authentically my own. This trust I am sensing, when embraced then leads me to discover the inherent wisdom contained within, awaiting to be acknowledged, nurtured, cultivated and claimed, in order to be shared and given, as apart of a much larger story.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, when you comment on Eckhart’s statement that “all of creation is a word and a book about God.” You say, “What intrigued me about this statement was then to consider myself too, as being a word and a book about God. I’ve heard it said by many, that our journey, is the book of our life.” When I heard this I said to myself, “Wow, she gets it!” When I took Clinical Pastoral Education, our professor taught us to see every person you meet as, what he called a “human document.” He would always remind us to “read the human document…”

      I hear your issue in the second paragraph as being, a matter of what the German philosopher, Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) called being an “authentic human being.” To me, “authentic” does not being perfect, but rather simply being honest with ourselves, and taking responsibility for what we know and believe and what we do with it. Read your last paragraph again and notice again the word “authentic” and think about how it all ends in trust…

  2. Avatar

    A reflection on this week’s mediations
    ‘I BELIEVE’ is at some time heard on every tongue
    But we must all soon recognise in nature’s terms
    Redeemed truth can tolerate no ultimate diversity of creeds.
    Global peace, harmony, replenishment, even survivability
    Exist at core as a single creed ubiquitously, manifestly true.

    WISDOM for each of us can only validly be an inclusive wisdom,
    Paralleled in every vestige of our wondrous Gaian cosmic orb;
    Humans all agreeing there is but one most simple wisdom
    Whose profound influence is infinite integrity, displaying
    An eternal intensity of beauty in its evolving new creations.

    ‘WE BELIEVE’ defines the new paradigm we all must utilise,
    In the discovery of that supreme and terrible mystic beauty
    Of ‘Being-with’, ‘co-essence’, ‘co-appearance’, ‘co-existence’
    Reminding us all that ‘a single being’ is a contradiction”,
    No other paradigm, no sovereignty, only ‘BEING IN-COMMON’.

    Gleaned and refashioned, 9/10/21
    In deep appreciation of your meditations,
    Peter Challen UK

  3. Avatar

    Somewhere beyond books and language she waits—Wisdom. Or as Rumi wrote—

    “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
    and rightdoing there is a field.
    I’ll meet you there.
    When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.”

  4. Avatar

    In terms of wisdom leading to action I recall the beginnings of the Women in Black movement a few decades ago. I remember standing on streets in Toronto carrying their signs, wearing black. Women in Black has since grown into a world-wide network of women committed to peace with justice and actively opposed to injustice, war, militarism and other forms of violence. Their website is replete with photos of their activism and their ongoing exchanges and support of each other across borders and in many languages.
    As Annelise Ebbe of Women in Black of Denmark says: “For us, it is essential to always move forward from the patriarchal culture of war, towards a feminist culture and a vision of peace.”

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Thank you Gwen for letting us all know about women in Black. It sounds like something most all of our readers would support. I also think that we can pray and work towards as well Annelise Ebbe’s vision of peace!

  5. Avatar

    I grew up in Germany and my older siblings attended a school named after Nicolas of Cusa, but I was never curious about him. What an amazing revelation it is almost 50 years later to learn about him from Matthew and find that this was a man who spoke from my own heart. In wordless conversations with animals is where I have always felt closest to wisdom and beauty.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Claudia, learning about people that speak to the heart is what Matthew has done for you, me, and all who have, and will, hear him, whether in person, on-line or in his many books, e-books, and audio recordings. He connects us with “Creation” mystics like: Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich and Nicolas of Cusa–and if you keep on listening you might connect with Rumi, Hafiz, or Kabir…

Leave a Comment

To help moderate the volume of responses, the Comment field is limited to 1500 characters (roughly 300 words), with one comment per person per day.

Please keep your comments focused on the topic of the day's Meditation.

As always, we look forward to your comments!!
The Daily Meditation Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join us in meditation that supports your compassionate action

Receive Matthew Fox's Daily Meditation by subscribing below: