Can Cusa help us get to the Truth about Columbus on Columbus Day?

As part of his consciousness of deep ecumenism, 15th century scientist, humanist and Rhineland mystic Nicolas of Cusa laments wars between religions.  He offers a vision for the future—our future also in the 21st century we hope–when he writes:  The Lord of Sky and Earth has heard the groans of those who have been slaughtered and imprisoned and reduced to slavery and who suffer because of religious wars. . . . The Creator is moved with compassion towards humanity and will try to guide all the variety of religions to one greater unimpeachable harmony in which all opinion is one.* 

Indigenous Elder praying through traditional dance in Barrow, Alaska. Photo by Zeke Tucker on Unsplash.

Cusa is decrying the price innocent people have so often paid for violent religious crusades and pogroms and inquisitions. He promises that God will eventually clean up religion and move it beyond warfare and conquest and proselytizing to a “greater unimpeachable harmony.”  Is this happening yet?  

One path to such a future is getting to the truth and telling it.  The truth of Columbus Day needs to be told and meditated on.  The latest scholarship tells us that Columbus may have been a gifted sailor, but he was also a murderer of three million indigenous peoples in the Caribbean islands and he opened the door to still more genocide and slavery that followed his invasion (not discovery) of the Americas.  Consider his own words on encountering the Arawak nation for the first time: “They do not bear arms…Their spears are made of cane.  They would make fine servants.  With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”**

* See James Yockey, Meditations with Nicolas of Cusa (Bear & Co), p. 107.

**Cited in

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations, p. 160.  See also, Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 125-127.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video, click HERE.

Banner Image: Tohono Indian Women led the Tucson 2019 Women’s March with a show of strength, resilience and power. This woman’s sign said: My Mom, Sisters, Aunties and Grandmas are sacred. Her son was by her side. International Women’s Day Photo by Dulcey Lima on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

What are your thoughts about Columbus and Columbus Day? Time to celebrate Indigenous Day instead?  Or other Italians besides Columbus who are deserving of our honoring?

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.

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12 thoughts on “Can Cusa help us get to the Truth about Columbus on Columbus Day?”

  1. Avatar

    In a previous meditation I believe Matthew Fox quoted someone as saying, “The little book is the Bible and the big book is the Universe.” I can’t find who said this, can you help?

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      David, I remember hearing or reading the quote you refer to, but I wasn’t able to locate it. I believe it was just a paraphrase of what he said yesterday in the DM: “As it is to Aquinas and Eckhart and Francis of Assisi, to Cusa the Book of Nature is just as important as human books.” All of those he mentions here said that God speaks to us through two books–the Bible and Nature.

    2. Avatar

      John Scotus Eriugena, the wandering Celtic scholar (c. 815-877), very creation-centered theologian (of course, since that is the Celtic way). See John Philip Newell’s new and fine book, Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul, which is on Celtic wisdom and has a full chapter on Eriugena.

    3. Avatar

      The way I usually quote the phrase is “Every creature is a word of God and a book about God.” Apparently, that’s a simplification of the following, or Eckhart maybe said it my favorite way elsewhere. All I can find Googling from Meister Eckhart is “Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things. Every single creature is full of God and a book about God. Every creature is a word of God. If I spent enough time with the tiniest creature – even a caterpillar- I would never have to prepare a sermon. So full of God is every creature. — Meister Eckhart
      Is this what you are looking for? Or, maybe someone else can help. I’m pretty sure Matthew speaks of our two books, without calling one bigger than the other: The book of creation and the book of the Bible.

      1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
        Richard Reich-Kuykendall

        Michele, if you note, Matthew has answered David’s question. The source of the quote was John Scotus Eriugena (c.815-877)…

  2. Avatar

    Most of humanities history has been written of, through the telling of it slant, through the veils of biased patriarchal distortions, clouded in illusions of herioc aggrandizements.

    Perhaps it’s time to rewrite the stories of humanities history through honest, humble truth-telling, bringing light to the shadows, and awareness to ignorance, with the intention of creating new pathways, leading to the healing of the nation’s.

    Will humanity dare to embrace Lady Death and let go of its false stories of its history celebrated, with a willingness to face the horrors of its failures, often unconsciously being repeated?

    Perhaps the tearing down of monumental statues is a sign of Lady Death on the move in her justice seeking, truth-telling ways, resurrecting the stories of those whom really are deserving of being honored and celebrated?

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, When you say, “Perhaps it’s time to rewrite the stories of humanities history through honest, humble truth-telling, bringing light to the shadows, and awareness to ignorance, with the intention of creating new pathways, leading to the healing of the nation’s,” I believe that Matthew is doing just that–and leading others to do the same.

  3. Avatar

    On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, I wanted to share the website.
    Your revival of the Creation Spirituality tradition has helped me become much more sensitive to the profound spiritual tradition and value of the spirituality of indigenous cultures around the world, especially their awareness of the sacredness of Mother Earth and the Cosmos…
    I’m also saddened by my increased awareness of how Western “civilization” has been so destructive to indigenous peoples/culture, nature, and Mother Earth up to the present day; this Western mentality and lack of true spirituality has contributed greatly to our modern personal, interpersonal, and societal problems….

  4. Avatar

    We have to keep telling the real story, and thank you for your leadership, Matthew Fox. As you probably know, there is strong opposition and efforts to repress the truth from the powers that be in many states, including Florida where I reside–for my sins, maybe. There is to be no education about structural racism or even mention of it, which I am sure includes the dismal way that indigenous peoples have been treated.

  5. Avatar

    Beautiful heartfelt meditation by Matthew Fox on Indigenous Peoples’ Day which we should be conscious of daily on our spiritual journeys with one another, all creatures, Mother Nature, Cosmos, and Mother-Father Creator…. Amen

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