Contemporary Italian philosopher and psychologist (and ex-priest) Vito Mancuso, wrote a very rich Introduction to my book Original Blessing when it was translated into Italian.  In Italian the title was changed to, In principio era la gioia, “In the Beginning there was Joy” because, as the translator explained to me, the word “blessing” in Italian has come to mean something very ecclesiastical, a priest’s blessing or a pope’s blessing, so the word has lost its primary meaning.

The Italian version of Original Blessing.

Mancuso talks about the journey from fall redemption religion to creation spirituality that includes a Via Positiva this way:

In putting the good and not the bad at the center, the bene-diction and not the male-diction (or the sin), the joy and not the sorrow, almost automatically brings forth a new pedagogy for which our society, so closed and depressed, has an indescribable need. 

Is our society closed and depressed? 

There is a mystical spark, a capacity of marvelous origins, present in every child.  It is this dimension that the pedagogy must cultivate, awakening in each of us the recognition of the primal joy of being, of being in the world as an innocent piece of the creation.

Mancuso uses the term “Cosmocentrico”, or “cosmocentric”, to describe the journey and ride we are making and “amartiocentrico”, or “sin-centered” to describe its antithesis.  The journey from Fall/redemption to Creation spirituality.  He also invokes martyr and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer in this way:

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Lutheran pastor and theologian.” Wikimedia Commons.

Bonhoeffer criticized the theology of God as “a stopgap” when he shed light on the falsity of sin-centered Christianity that insistently reminds us of humanity’s weakness in its natural state, for which “if one is not able to lead humanity to consider or to designate his happiness as a disaster, his health as a sickness, his life force as despair, then [our theology] is good for nothing.” He expressed the desire for a theology that knows “to speak of god not as a boundary, but as the center; not of weakness, but of strength; not in relation to death and culpability, but of life and of the goodness of humanity.” 

Bonhoeffer would have been happy with Fox’s cosmocentric spirituality, and would have read this book with pleasure.

See Matthew Fox, Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality and In principio era la gioia, pp. vii-xiii.  

See also Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality.

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

Banner image: “Milky Way into the Darkness: I was waiting for her.” Location: Fellito, Italy. Photo by Erriko Boccia on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

Do you agree with Bonhoeffer about what makes for despair in religion?  And do you recognize the phrases of “cosmocentric” as distinct from “sin-centered” as useful language as applied to how to look at the world as sacred?

Recommended Reading

Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality
Selected with an Introduction by Charles Burack

To encapsulate the life and work of Matthew Fox would be a daunting task for any save his colleague Dr. Charles Burack, who had the full cooperation of his subject. Fox has devoted 50 years to developing and teaching the tradition of Creation Spirituality and in doing so has reinvented forms of education and worship.  His more than 40 books, translated into 78 languages, are inclusive of today’s science and world spiritual traditions and have awakened millions to the much neglected earth-based mystical tradition of the West. Essential Writings begins by exploring the influences on Fox’s life and spirituality, then presents selections from all Fox’s major works in 10 sections.
“The critical insights, the creative connections, the centrality of Matthew Fox’s writings and teaching are second to none for the radical renewal of Christianity.” ~~ Richard Rohr, OFM.

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14 thoughts on “A View on the Sacred Cosmos from Italy”

  1. Avatar

    Contributions to consider: In every adult there lurks a child-an eternal child, something that is always becoming is never completed, and calls for unceasing care, attention, and education. That is the part of the human personality which wants to develop and become whole. Carl Jung

    At the center of the universe is a loving heart that continues to beat and that wants the best for every person. Anything we can do to help foster the intellect and spirit and emotional growth of our fellow human beings, that is our job. Those of us who have this particular vision must continue against all odds. Life is for service.
    Fred Rogers

    Perhaps in 1776 they were setting in motion their visionary talk of mind and visceral walk with body, many future motions in Democracy for the entire planet. With great emotion, (“energy of motion”) they encouraged these intense motions (spirit guided actions) in our species evolution towards even deeper paradigms that perhaps someday we may call “Cosmocracy.” In this paradigm we begin to recognize what we think we have developed for our own planet, already is, in all being and matter throughout the entire Universe.

  2. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today you begin by telling us that Vito Mancuso, wrote the Introduction to your book, Original Blessing when it was translated into Italian. In Italian the title was changed to, In principio era la gioia, “In the Beginning there was Joy” because, the word “blessing” in Italian has come to mean something very ecclesiastical, like a priest’s blessing–that’s all that any non-Catholics get when Catholics take communion–they get a “blessing.” Mancuso uses the term “Cosmocentrico”, or “cosmocentric”, to describe the journey we’re on and “amartiocentrico”, or “sin-centered” to describe its opposite. Bonhoeffer criticized the theology of God as “a stopgap,” and felt that we should speak of god not as a boundary, but as the center; not of weakness, but of strength; not in relation to death and culpability, but of life and of the goodness of humanity.” So, read the book!

  3. Avatar

    In receiving an MD’s diagnosis on what physical malady hinders one from being physically whole, and the recommend remedy for same in restoring health, one wouldn’t accuse the MD of being pessimistic, negative, or morbidly pathological in their diagnostic endeavors, or of defining one ONLY in terms of their malady. Neither would one expect a report focusing ONLY on what other bodily systems were healthy, to the exclusion of what hinders the health of the whole. Along with remedies to restore wholeness, that’s what patients consult doctors for, because being mortal implies conditions of health AND disease, and remedies for the latter. Ditto a mechanic or plumber when the whole of something breaks down. In life, bad “stuff” happens. The same applies in a spiritual “diagnosis,” when a spiritual healer accurately assesses what hinders a soul’s separation from experiencing the divine presence, either never acquired, or lost and desiring restoration. That’s what souls consult them for, and what balanced psychological and/or Genesis 2-11 assessments are for in making the proper study of restoring a soul’s Genesis 1 perspective of the sacred whole. Happy talk on the glories of Genesis 1 ONLY, just like happy talk on the healthy part of patients ONLY, won’t aid the healing process. Things go wrong spiritually, and folk need to accurately know origins as to what and why — except, it seems, in the daily DM’s where a Genesis 1 view of reality ONLY is the nostrum.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Joe, You write today: “Things go wrong spiritually, and folk need to accurately know origins as to what and why — except, it seems, in the daily DM’s where a Genesis 1 view of reality ONLY is the nostrum.” I beg to differ with you on this Joe. We don’t hold that Genesis 1 is the only way of looking at things–such as Original Blessing and Creation Spirituality, for Matthew has certainly addressed the negative things going on in the government and the Church–and I would say that those things are more Genesis 3.
      Beside this however, in view of your comment yesterday on the issue of how Matthew deals with the masculine vs the feminine… I would suggest you read Matthew’s book, THE HIDDEN SPIRITUALITY OF MEN– and note especially chapter 11 on “The Sacred Marriage of Masculine and Feminine”…

  4. Avatar

    At the center of all that exists, there is a highly developed BEING, whom is beyond all human perception, whom continously creates through a set of Sacred Laws; which all of creation must follow and comply with. Humankind is but one living cell within this unfolding, evolving, emerging cosmic relation; which has its own functions and responsibilities inside this greater cosmic organism. Throughout this process, humankind has been given fresh streams knowledge and wisdom, that expands humanities consciousness, through increased levels of awareness; which directly connects our Soul to these Sacred Laws, that we may understand and come into alignment and harmony with our place and our responsibilities within creation and what factors lead to our well being and those that cause our suffering. All the crisises that humanity is facing are the result of violations of the Sacred Laws. This egocentric behavior leads to not only self destruction, but also the destruction of other life forms. However, the Sacred Laws in place will prevent further failures in its systems, by allowing the extinction of humanity to unfold if need be, in order to restore the greater organism of the Earth itself, and Her place within the Cosmos. Now is the time to consciously choose to come into alignment with these Sacred Laws, and take tesponsibility for our part, within this Original Blessing of being and living in right relationship with the sacredness within the all and the everything.

  5. Avatar

    Yes Matthew, your awakening for us of the universal cosmocentric spirituality of all earth based world spiritual traditions, like most Indigenous peoples and cultures have, has been invaluable in helping the Western world understand and deepen our human spiritual journeys with one another, the sacredness of Mother Earth and all Her creatures/blessings, and our interconnectedness with All our multidimensional and multiverse co-Evolving Loving Cosmos…
    Your prophetic analysis of the shadow side of human history’s unbalanced toxic patriarchal societies and institutions with its consequent destructiveness and human suffering up to our present cataclysmic times has also been invaluable… Hopefully and faithfully God’s Spirit of Love, Wisdom, Justice, Strength, Peace, Creativity… in our hearts and Mother Earth will continue to help us to live compassionately, gratefully, and wisely in our small communities with one another daily — Diverse Loving Oneness of our eternal souls… Beloved Cosmic Christ Consciousness….
    Blessings ?❤️??

  6. Avatar

    Dear Mr. Fox, thank you for the work you do and thank you for today’s meditation. My friend and I are reading your book Original Blessing One chapter a week so we can digest and discuss the information. We have come to theme 13 and have really struggled with the sinking into nothingness and letting nothingness be nothingness. We would appreciate your help to to achieve some clarity here. We are about to just MoveOn hoping somehow to come to some understanding by continuing to read on. Thank you.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Barb, I’m glad to hear you and your friend are reading ORIGINAL BLESSING! You write: “We are about to just MoveOn hoping somehow to come to some understanding by continuing to read on.” And I might add, that when you finish ORIGINAL BLESSING perhaps you might read MATTHEW FOX: ESSENTIAL READINGS IN CREATION SPIRITUALITY. This book will give you a broad overview of Creation Spirituality and what Matthew teaches.

  7. Avatar

    Studying with Matt & associates was a big blessing and reading these Daily meditations light my continuing journey! Thank You

  8. Avatar

    I am so grateful for “Original Blessing”, which I have had for many years and return to for refreshment and renewal. No wonder the Vatican called it dangerous and deviant because it threatens the whole sin-centered theology and establishment and takes away their control. This narrow minded viewpoint causes despair because it soaks people in sin instead of in love. The view of cosmos as sacred opens us up to infinite creativity and possibilities, while recognizing the energy of evil.

  9. Avatar

    The words of Genesis 1 echo in my eyes. “And God looked over God had done and said; ‘It is good.’ I am an ELCA Lutheran who has long held the creation proceeded the fall, and what God made is good. I am pleased my own tribe has changed the wording of the confession prayer from, “man is by nature sinful and unclean…” to “We acknowledge we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves.” We are not by nature sinful and unclean we are creatures made in the image and likeness of God.

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