A week from tomorrow is Mother’s Day. It is also the third anniversary of our launching of these Daily Meditations, for we deliberately chose Mother’s Day as our birthday because we felt that the plight of Mother Earth is the number one moral issue of our time (and numbers two and three as well, as I’ve proposed over the years).
We salute all those spiritual warriors who, in their own calling as politicians or educators, engineers or inventors, scientists or poets, shamans or artists, parents or grandparents, clergy or business leaders, are doing what they can to interfere (the prophet’s primary task) with the matricide that is rendering our and other species extinct.
Hildegard of Bingen, eight centuries ago, talked of the “web of creation” to which we humans belong and that we humans dare not break. She speaks of our Earth this way:
The earth is at the same time Mother. She is the Mother of all that is natural, Mother of all that is human. She is the Mother of all, for contained in her are the seeds of all.
And she begs us to wake up to her suffering: “The Earth must not be injured, the Earth must not be destroyed.”
In preparation for Mother’s Day and a lead up to it as well as the upcoming anniversary of the DM, I would like to invite Julian of Norwich into our meditations. She, like her sister Hildegard and her brothers Francis, Aquinas and Eckhart before her, was thoroughly grounded in the sacredness of creation, the original blessing and goodness of the Earth and the Cosmos and being itself—including us human beings who need frequent reminding of the goodness of things and ourselves.
Drawing on the teaching from the book of Wisdom that says: “Wisdom is the mother of all good things,” (1:11f) Julian writes:
The first good thing is the goodness of nature.
God is the same thing as nature.
The goodness in nature is God.
God feels great delight to be our Father.
God feels great delight to be our Mother.
We experience a wondrous mix of well and woe.
The mingling of both well and distress in us
is so astonishing
that we can hardly tell which state
we or our neighbor are in– that’s how astonishing it is!
See Matthew Fox, Hildegard of Bingen, a Saint for Our Times, pp. 33ff.
And Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic—and Beyond, p. ix.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “Hubbard Glacier Calving (southeast Alaska): Every 10-15 minutes, huge icebergs come crashing off the Hubbard Glacier.” Photo by Kyle West on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
How is the Earth “mother of all that is human”? Take any line from Julian’s “poem” (which I constructed from collecting several of her teachings) and spend time with it, allowing it to wash over you. Do you taste a wondrous mix of well and woe, of well and distress, also? Does that mix astonish you as it did Julian?
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.
Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic–and Beyond
Julian of Norwich lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she ‘sheltered in place’ and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, Showings, which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature’s goodness. Fox shares her teachings in this powerful and timely and inspiring book.
“What an utterly magnificent book. The work of Julian of Norwich, lovingly supported by the genius of Matthew Fox, is a roadmap into the heart of the eco-spiritual truth that all life breathes together.” –Caroline Myss
Now also available as an audiobook HERE.