Maria Montessori and Thomas Berry agree on the importance of making room for the universe in how we look at the world.
If the idea of the universe be presented to the child in the right way, it will do more for him than just arouse his interest, for it will create in him/her admiration and wonder, a feeling loftier than any interest and more satisfying.
This is quite a promise.
But Berry speaks to the same reality, that of wonder and its importance, when he writes:
We will recover our sense of wonder and our sense of the sacred [notice that for Berry they are the same thing] only if we appreciate the universe beyond ourselves as a revelatory experience of that numinous presence whence all things come into being. Indeed, the universe is the primary sacred reality. We become sacred by our participation in this more sublime dimension of the world about us.
Montessori elaborates on her point spoken above when she says:
The knowledge [the child] then acquires is organized and systematic; his or her intelligence comes whole and complete because of the vision of the whole that has been present to him or her and their interest spreads to all, for all are linked and have their place in the universe on which their mind is centered. The stars, the earth, stones, life of all kinds form a whole in relation with each other, and so close is the relation that we cannot understand a stone without some understanding of the great sun!*
*Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics, p. 361.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “Playing in the River.” Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Queries for Contemplation
Montessori talks of “the mind being centered on the universe.” And this beginning when we are young, our capacity for the whole. Do adults have their minds “centered on the universe” and are we teaching the children such matters?