Easter 2022: Insights from Aquinas, Paul, and Eckhart

Thomas Aquinas teaches that there are two resurrections: The first is waking up in this lifetime; If we do this, the second will take care of itself. 

Matthew Fox was recently a guest on the podcast, What If Project, where he spoke about his book on Thomas Aquinas and the two resurrections.

His brother Meister Eckhart speaks in a similar fashion.  Citing the risen Christ in John’s Gospel who said to Mary Magdalene: “Do not touch me.  I have not yet gone to my father!” Eckhart concludes that Christ has not yet gone to the father because “he had never left the Father!  He meant ‘I have not yet truly arisen in you.’”    

Christ is meant to “truly arise in us.”  Is Easter meant to be about our resurrections? 

Paul talks about his “resurrection” or deep transformation experience, and says “it is not I who live, but Christ who lives within me.”

Eckhart invokes Paul (Col 3:1) who says, “If you are then raised up with Christ, then seek those things which are above, where Christ is seated at the right of his Father and do not savour the things that are on earth.”  For “You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”  We undergo both Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Image of the Resurrection by Indigenous Artist, Ullrich Javier Lemus, which can by found in Matthew Fox‘s book, Stations of the Cosmic Christ.

What are the “things above” that we should seek after?  Eckhart tells us: St Paul says: ‘Seek those things that are above.’  But where and in what way?  King David says: ‘Seek the face of God” (Ps 105.4).

St. Paul tells us to be “raised up with Christ.”  What does “raised up with Christ” mean?   For Eckhart and Aquinas, it is living a virtuous life.  Eckhart: Some are half raised up: they practice one virtue but not another …Though a person may incline to the practice of one virtue rather than the others, yet they are all interconnected.  Some people are fully raised up, but are not raised up with Christ.

We find some people who rise with Christ for good and all; but we must be very wise who experience a true resurrection with Christ.

“Rise” by Common Hymnal. Originally posted to YouTube by Common Hymnal.

In Matthew’s Resurrection story, the two women encounter an angel, who said to the women: ‘Whom do you seek?  If you seek Jesus who was crucified, he is not here.’”  (Mt 28: 1ff)  Says Eckhart:  For God is nowhere….God is not here or there, not in time or place.

Furthermore, “One who is fully risen with Christ is known by his seeking for God above time.…Not only above time, but hidden in God.”  There is  a hiddenness, a mystery, in our interactions with the Divine, “all the future and the past are there  in one Now.  That we may attain to this Now, so help us God.” 

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, pp. 167-172.  

And from M.  O’C Walshe, transl,  Meister Eckhart: Sermons & Treatises, Vol I (London: Watkins, 1979), pp. 251, 247f.  

See also: Resurrection: Conversations with Matthew Fox and Bruce ChiltonAn Easter Program with Matthew Fox and Bruce Chilton

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

Banner Image: The colors of change and renewal. Photo by Jaime Serrano on Unsplash.

Queries for Contemplation

Is it your experience that Christ has “truly arisen in you”?  What signs are there of that?

Recommended Reading

The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times

A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book!  Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

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18 thoughts on “Easter 2022: Insights from Aquinas, Paul, and Eckhart”

  1. Avatar

    Kia ora from Aotearoa New Zealand. I was contemplating and meditating on Easter Saturday… and felt there to be a paradox, especially living in these times, of deeply experiencing the crucifixion and the resurrection simultaneously.. feeling the sorrows of the world and the planetary beings, and also the abiding peace and upliftment of uniting with the cosmos as a divine being. In meditation this is more pronounced, a kind of wild grace, and in daily life I now recognise that it is there too but more as a background to my activities. I feel Easter amplifies this human paradox.
    Thank you for the daily meditations.

  2. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, You ask us today in our Queries for Contemplation: “Is it your experience that Christ has ‘truly arisen in you?” Because of Christ’s words to Mary Magdalene: “Do not touch me. I have not yet gone to my father!” Eckhart concludes that Christ has not yet gone to the father because “he had never left the Father! He meant ‘I have not yet truly arisen in you.’” And then you say, “What does ‘raised up with Christ’ mean? For Eckhart and Aquinas, it is living a virtuous life”. So, again I would like to say that I agree with Eckhart and Aquinas–that I believe that being raise up with Christ is demonstrated in living a virtuous life.
    This became real for me last night at the Easter Vigil at our local Catholic Church where I, with eight other RCIA (Ritual of Christian Initiation for Adults) became members of the Catholic Church. Six of the students were asked what amounted to, if they agreed with what the Apostle’s Creed states, but then three of us were asked to say: “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God.” I didn’t know that they were going to ask me that, and in the moment, I just had to say “Yes.” I do believe a good share of what the Church teaches but not ALL of it. So, now I guess I start out by not being virtuous. So is Christ truly risen in me? I thought so but…

    1. Avatar

      No Richard, you did not start out by not being virtuous; the Catholic Church started out by not being straight in its relationship with you. I dare say that no one believes every word that comes from the Church and shouldn’t. We should question in love all pronouncements from hierarchies. No one is infallible. I hope you will encounter a kinder, more honest Church in the future.

  3. Avatar

    ❤️???thank you Matthew! may We rise in Christ and give our bodies away in service of the glory of Christ. Amen

  4. Avatar

    On my long contemplative spiritual journey, I feel I am consciously and transformatively still giving birth to Cosmic Christ Consciousness/ Loving Oneness within me, around us, and in all ongoing co-Creation with others, Mother Nature and all Her creatures, spiritual multidimensions, and All Creation~Cosmos…. I am grateful for the graces of Faith, Hope, Wisdom, Love… on my eternal spiritual journey with-in Christ and the Holy Spirit….

  5. Avatar

    Dearest Richard,
    First I want to Welcome You into the Catholic Church and acknowledge the courage and personal calling to join at this tumultuous time. I have struggled to stay within the Catholic Church. As a trained catechist I understand the long process.
    These things have helped me to remain.
    1. My own personal relationship with both the historical Jesus and the Cosmic Christ, Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene and the Christian Mystics brought so alive in my by the teachings of Matthew Fox.
    2. The Celtic philosophical theologian and Catholic priest John O’Donohue. I had the blessing of attending his first retreat here in the US. He began the retreat first by asking for forgiveness for what was done to women by the Dominicans during the inquisition. Then he slowly looked around the room and said to us ‘What’s a Druid to do in this time and space? The closest I could find was becoming a catholic priest.’ I can still feel his large hands on my head when this Celtic woman asked for a blessing from the Druid Priest.
    3. Matthew Fox And his wise mother guiding me into my own relationship within the church. Although I don’t get up and walk out during the sermon, I pray the prayers that my conscience allows and stay silent when needed praying for the church to awaken. When asked to pray for vocations I pray for women to be ordained.
    4. An Episcopal Women priest offered me the word catholic with a small c.
    cath·o·lic (kăth′ə-lĭk, kăth′lĭk)
    ‘Including or concerning all humankind; universal. ‘
    That is what I can believe in, not a Roman Empire.
    May the graces of the Holy Spirit bless you Richard and all humankind this Easter Sunday.
    Ellen Kennedy

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Ellen, Thank you for your kind and wise words of support. Matthew has meant the world to me, and it was because I wanted to learn the Church from the inside like he did that I decided to join. I have already been learning, in a very small way, what he had to deal with when facing such a hierarchical, top down, and unbending Church–I have been divorced and so even though I am a member, I can’t take the sacrament because I am remarried, and thus in the eyes of the Church “living in sin.” But I too love the mystics and the way that both Aquinas and Eckhart speak of the resurrection of Christ rings true for me. Thank you again.

    2. Avatar

      Thank you, Ellen, for your story about John O’Donohue. I would love to have attended a retreat with him. Alas, I learned of him a bit too late. He died at too young an age, but your story of him brings him close to me again. I love thinking of him as, like St. Brigid, both a Catholic priest and a Druidic priest. Happily, I did get to attend one talk by him at a beautiful non-hierarchical church in San Francisco; and I have his book of poetry. What a beautiful spirit. The earth was blessed to have him among us.

  6. Avatar

    Dear Matthew, Happy Easter!!! I was wondering why Christ told Mary Magdalene not to touch Him, but to the “Doubting Thomas” to touch Him all over??? Possibly at that time, was Mary Magdalene still angry/mad at those who crucified Jesus………?

  7. Avatar

    We might remember that we are always Easter people, as I was taught in my Congregational/UCC tradition. The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis asks us to look for Christ crucified in every day occurrences–they are all too easy to find. I do believe if we are in any stage of transformation/resurrection/waking up/honoring the Christ within us that we become Christ’s hands and feet in healing, whenever and however we can, in small and large ways. I love the quote attributed to John Wesley: Do all the good you can….https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/john_wesley_524889

  8. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    I would first of like to thank the DM creators. The message of Easter and Resurrection in today’s DM, the podcast, the music video, Mathews message… all of it, was so very powerfully and beautifully moving. I have never experienced Easter this way before. I cried tears of joy, as if something was being released that had been hidden within me for so long. This moment, this experience for me, is a holy instant moment of receiving the grace of the risen Christ in me… awakening something within me, that I thought I may have lost sight of at times, due to this dark and challenging season we are living in… the light of a deep hope and faith in the rising up… the resurrection of the light of love, compassion, mercy, and justice within humanity. I found myself on my feet, saying YES
    to life… with a passion that I haven’t felt for quite awhile. Thank you for this blessing. What comes after this… is unknown… however I’m empowered to embrace this, with alot less fear!

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, Thank you for your comment–and what a blessing to have a “Holy Instant” (ACIM) experience–to see the rising of new life from a new perspective is what we both needed this Easter…

  9. Avatar

    There is a lot of murder going on in the world. War is raging in Ukraine. Gun violence in America. The dominating Violence of occupation in Palestine. Yemen. Christ rising again in us requires us to face the dark night the world is in with the face of Christ and see the world as it is. We watch and weep knowing the world does not know the things that make for peace. The powers are ignorant at best and malicious at worst pursing domination rather than peace. Is America seeking peace in Ukraine or seeing it as a tool for defeating and domination of Putin which has always been the goal. Putin has his own goals of domination. The powers are raging. We are like sheep for the slaughter with no one to lead us except for the Christ rising with us and us rising in Christ.

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