A Personal Story of My Passover/Easter Experience, 2022

This weekend—Passover and Easter weekend—I spent in a special way.  I flew from California to Chicago (my first flight in 2.5 years due to COVID) to attend my brother-in-law’s memorial service.  It was held in a large basement room in my niece’s and husband’s home in Indiana.

“Generations.” Photo by Luana Azevedo on Unsplash.

It was, as family reunions often are, rich and exciting, interacting with several generations of relatives and their partners, relearning their struggles and achievements over the years since we last gathered.  And sharing stories—and lots of laughs—from the past and about the future.   Gathering too were neighbors, co-workers, friends, an ex-husband of my sister and other persons who knew the deceased, some back to the days they attended high school together. 

The emphasis of course during the actual memorial service was on the stories about Buzz, my brother-in-law.  It was very moving to see so many people testify to how Buzz touched their hearts and lives—a reminder that we all touch one another often much more deeply than we realize—and that we all want to “leave behind a gift” as Otto Rank puts it.

It was beautiful that Buzz left behind so many gifts and especially for the younger generations for he deeply loved—and was loved by—his step grandchildren with whom he had a special bond and mode of communicating.  He laughed a lot and got others to laugh a lot and would light up a room when he entered, a kind of pied piper of joy, wherever he went.

Buzz Eisenberg and Tricia Fox.  Family photo from the collection of Matthew Fox.

Buzz was Jewish and his wife, my sister, is a Catholic, so part of their life was navigating, and succeeding in, an ecumenical marriage.  Thus it was especially fitting to have his memorial service (he died about one week previously) on this special season of the year. 

In my opening blessing I invoked both the meaning of Passover and the constant need for the Liberation it promises from Pharaohs of our day and the slaveries of our times and not just the Egyptian times.  And, of course, I spoke to the Resurrection promise that death does not have the last word.  A young Jewish woman on the platform with me followed up my blessing by singing a Hebrew prayer for the dead in Hebrew and beautifully so.  It felt like Passover and Easter really came together.

“Resurrection” Photo by Leonard J. Matthews on Flickr.

We meditated in yesterday’s DM on the “First Resurrection” as understood by Paul, Aquinas and Eckhart as Christ rising in us and waking up.  The memorial service I attended this weekend in the mid-west was designed and planned with immense work and creativity, the making of food and decorating of spaces, that in turn invited heart-felt toasts and memories to one man named Buzz.  He clearly practiced the virtues of Joy, Compassion and Humor in a special way (along with his day job as a lawyer).   

We learned anew what a powerful reminder a person’s life can be.  These virtuous archetypes, these universal teachings, are with us always. 

Each of our lives can be a unique statement about the virtues, values, resurrections that we are good at and that move, motivate and excite us.  And bless others.

See Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas, pp. 167-172, 97-100, 37-44.

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

Banner Image: “Circle of Love.” Photographer unknown.

Queries for Contemplation

What are your most prominent virtues and values?  How are they blessing others?  Are there more ways to get them into the world?

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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9 thoughts on “A Personal Story of My Passover/Easter Experience, 2022”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, You ask us today in our Queries for Contemplation: “What are your most prominent virtues and values?
    The Cardinal Virtues of justice, prudence, temperance, and fortitude as defined by Plato , Aristotle and Aquinas are some of the virtues I am most interested in because they correspond to certain cards in the tarot which has been attested to since the 15th century in Northern Italy. They are the justice card; prudence is the Hermit card, then there is the Temperance card and fortitude is the Strength card. However, my most prominent virtues are probably patience and compassion.
    “How are they blessing others?” These are a blessing to others in how that I treat others. I allow them to be who they are and I try to understand where they are coming from and what is important to them.
    “Are there more ways to get them into the world?” By living and teaching compassion–and that reminds me of your book, A SPIRITUALITY NAMED COMPASSION.

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    Jeanette Metler

    Mathew, thank you for being so open and vulnerable, sharing your personal story. May you and your family be comforted and consoled during this time of the loss of a loved one.

    Within today’s DM, what comes to mind is recognizing… that the things I value, become my virtues. I’m reminded of the words in scripture, “Where your treasure is, there lies the heart.”

    With regards to the quiery questions, the values and virtues within myself that are most prominent are… courage, mercy, compassion, integrity, and truth-telling. Like Richard has stated in his comment, I too share the blessings of these in and through my relationships with others, especially in tending to and caring for the elders. I’ve also noticed, that in and through the sharing of these values and virtues, I have been blessed with some very deep and long lasting friendships… which are often hard to come by in this world.

    One way I like to share more of this with others… is through engaging with this community, through the comment section in the DM. Although we may not meet, gathering in the same physical space… we do meet in this sacred space of the DM. In and through this I do believe that as we come together… we not only share our own individual virtues and values… but we also deepen the common virtues and values that we all share together.

    Through this I do believe that we nurture one another in these commonly shared virtues and values, empowering each other to become and be the best version of ourselves. Thank you all, for this.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, I totally agree with your statement: “Although we may not meet, gathering in the same physical space… we do meet in this sacred space of the DM. In and through this I do believe that as we come together… we not only share our own individual virtues and values… but we also deepen the common virtues and values that we all share together.” We are an on-line community !!!

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    Reflecting on what my prominent virtues and values might be, I would have to say it is my faith and love of our human tradition of contemplative spirituality… This faith In God’s Divine Spirit of Love~Wisdom~Peace~Justice~Creativity~Freedom~Beauty~Joy~Compassionate Action… Present within, through, among, and all around us in our daily human lives hopefully has a mutual positive effect in my human relations, on Mother Earth and all Her creatures, the spiritual multidimensions, and the Cosmos because of our deep interconnectivity and co-Creation through God’s Spirit of Divine Loving Oneness… This contemplative faith includes an evolving consciousness and love of the Sacredness and Beauty of each unique creation, especially each unique human soul, and our evolving Divine Loving Oneness~Soul with-in the Cosmos….

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    Thank you, Matthew, for this heartfelt and beautiful tribute to Buzz. Thank you for blessing us–and so many others–with your virtues and values. Thank you for this space to build community.

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    I share as best I can through my playwriting and my poetry, the value of accepting one another foibles and all. As best I can, I share with others the astonishing beauty of God’s creation, God’s kindness and open table, and the individual beauty that is likely to appear in each soul when they find God’s big-heartedness extended to them. We may not agree with every stance another takes, their actions, or their beliefs, but that does not mean we reject the person. We can still love and accept them. As best I can, in my themes, characters, and plot lines, I offer and examine how people can do these things and how they can take actions to make the world a better place. I believe that art (the Via Creativa) is a worthy vehicle for this, so very often better than prose. It’s not preachy, it catches the viewer or listener unawares as it wends its way secretly into the soul.

  6. Avatar

    Thank you for sharing ur thoughts. You really captured Buzz’ persona. He was a great guy and very loving.
    Thelma -Ablan

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