We have spoken of the “3 A’s” associated with a healthy seventh chakra: Allies, Ancestors, Angels. In the context of the January 6 commission hearing, I want to call in two ancestors, Hildegard of Bingen and Thomas Aquinas.
Hildegard named her first book Scivias which is Latin for “Know the Ways.” What ways? The two ways, the two choices, humans have: The Way of Folly; or the Way of Wisdom. She is telling us how we must choose which way we will follow as individuals and as communities and societies.
One way to deepen one’s instinct for choosing wisdom over folly is to listen to ancestors like Hildegard who have proven to be wise over the centuries. Of course I include Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Mechtild of Magdeburg, Meister Eckhart, Julian of Norwich, Nicolas of Cusa and many others in this lineage of wisdom that is called “creation spirituality.” In a course I am currently teaching with Shift Network, I include most of the above plus 20th century wisdom figures like Thomas Merton, Thomas Berry and Mary Oliver.
Hildegard spent ten years writing her first book, Scivias. And it was not just a book of sentences and paragraphs—it also included 27 paintings of her visions and an opera! The oldest opera in the West by 300 years. (It has been my privilege to see it performed at several venues and it is available online.)
I hear her voice when I listen to the narrative about what happened at the nation’s capitol on January 6 and how it was planned for months previously and of all that has happened in its wake including hundreds of voting laws in states around the country making it far harder for communities of color to vote; the effort to politicize the counting of votes; and the spreading of the Big Lie that the last presidential election was stolen that had everything to do with the violence of January 6.
Our hearts are hurting. Thomas Aquinas explains why: “The proper objects of the heart are truth and justice,” he teaches. There is no wisdom without truth and justice. When lies and injustice reign, the heart is hurting.
January 6 and its continued aftermath is neither truth, justice, or wisdom. It is folly. And it sells. Folly being promulgated vigorously on networks make media moguls ever richer in their mad and dangerous dash to make money by spreading folly.
See Matthew Fox, Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen.
And Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, pp. 101-108.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: Thomas Aquinas in Stained Glass, CC image by Thomas Gun on Flickr via Wikipedia Commons; Hildegard of Bingen Selestat ( Alsace ). Saint Faith church: Stained glass window (Wolfgang Sauber, 1892) on Wikimedia Commons.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you find yourself meditating these days on the folly of the human race? And on the wisdom as well? How can wisdom prevail? Do you sense hearts are hurting?
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.
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