In these times of out-of-control toxic masculinity on display in the social media, far right news, in pockets of Congress itself, and fully on display on January 6, it is important to first critique the toxic masculine as we find it in individuals and institutions—political, media and also religious institutions. Thus we have spoken out on the toxic masculinity asserting itself in evangelical religion and in the Opus Dei wing of the Roman Catholic church today.
Some people are uncomfortable with this, but spirituality is not about comfort—neither Jesus nor Buddha ever said, “Blessed are the comfortable.” Jesus did say: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after justice.” And, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
It’s pretty hard to hunger and thirst after justice without first naming the injustice. Or to be a peace-maker sans making “good trouble” as John Lewis taught us. Good trouble is what the prophets do, and we are all prophets or meant to be, to “interfere” as Rabbi Heschel teaches.
It is also important to pay attention to a healthier masculine and we are building up to that in fuller meditations very soon.
Hildegard of Bingen talk of virtues as “soldiers” and “sweet warriors” who do battle against the “deceiver.” Says she: “We virtues are in God and we remain in God, we are soldiers for the King of kings and we overcome evil by good. O King of kings, we are fighting in your battles.” God tells her that “my Word is a very strong warrior.”
She urges women and men alike to “become strong warriors” who “resist strongly” falsehoods, lies and injustice. She calls Christ “a very strong warrior” combating injustice.
It is important to keep the divine feminine front and center, for that is part of the sacred masculine too. We shall consider Hildegard on that tomorrow.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Hildegard of Bingen, A Saint for Our Times: Unleashing Her Power for the 21st Century, pp. 23, 28.
And Matthew Fox, Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen, pp. 118, 81.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: A practitioner of the ancient martial art of Tai Chi performs the movement “Snake Creeps Down” in the Wudang Mountains of China. Photo by Yürgen Oster on Wikimedia Commons.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you recognize virtue as integral to the sacred masculine like Hildegard does? Which virtues do you think are calling you and our culture forward today?
Hildegard of Bingen, A Saint for Our Times: Unleashing Her Power in the 21st Century
Matthew Fox writes in Hildegard of Bingen about this amazing woman and what we can learn from her.
In an era when women were marginalized, Hildegard was an outspoken, controversial figure. Yet so visionary was her insight that she was sought out by kings, popes, abbots, and bishops for advice.
“This book gives strong, sterling, and unvarnished evidence that everything – everything – we ourselves become will affect what women after us may also become….This is a truly marvelous, useful, profound, and creative book.” ~~ Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism.
Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen
An introduction to the life and work of Hildegard of Bingen, Illuminations reveals the life and teachings of one of the greatest female artists and intellectuals of the Western Mystical Tradition. At the age of 42, she began to have visions; these were captured as 36 illuminations–24 of which are recorded in this book along with her commentaries on them.
“If one person deserves credit for the great Hildegard renaissance in our time, it is Matthew Fox.” – Dr Mary Ford-Grabowsky, author of Sacred Voices.