Thomas Berry writes:
If Saint John and Saint Paul could think of the Christ form of the universe, if Aquinas could say that the whole universe together participates in the divine goodness more perfectly and represents it better than any single creature whatever, and if Teilhard could insist that the human gives to the entire cosmos its most sublime mode of being, then it should not be difficult to accept the universe itself as the primordial sacred community, the macrophase mode of every religious tradition, the context in which the divine reality is revealed to itself in that diversity which in a special manner is ‘the perfection of the universe.‘
Not only can a deepened awareness of the earth and the cosmos bring nations together — it can also bring religions together. For “the universe itself [is] the primordial sacred community.” The Earth becomes the context of every divine revelation and indeed a “grand Liturgy.”
Berry sees this thread of understanding in the entire Christian tradition from Paul and John in the New Testament to Aquinas in the Middle Ages and Teilhard de Chardin in the twentieth century.
Yet the sacred cosmos does not just inspire the Christian tradition but all religious traditions. It can bring us together in common work and ethics and inspiration. Are we ready?
Only now have we begun to listen with some attention and with a willingness to respond to the earth’s demands that we cease our industrial assault, that we abandon our inner rage against the conditions of our earthly existence, that we renew our human participation in the grand liturgy of the universe. . . . None of our existing cultures can deal with this situation out of its own resources. We must invent, or reinvent, a sustainable human culture by a descent into our prerational, our instinctive, resources. Our cultural resources have lost their integrity. They cannot be trusted.
We have only begun to listen to how we have harmed Mother Earth. And the only way out of the dead-end we find ourselves in is to listen to earth’s pain and to call on our “prerational, our instinctive, resources.”
We must each call up the mystic in ourselves therefore. We have to move beyond culture as we know it, civilization as we know it. What is the alternative if we do not take these steps?
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics, pp. 364, 360.
To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner image: The divine goodness of our Universe. Photo by NASA on Unsplash.
Queries for Contemplation
Is it true that we possess an “inner rage against the conditions of our earthly existence? And that our cultural resources have lost their integrity?” And yet the “Grand Liturgy of the universe” beckons us to something greater?