Will our times be remembered as an Age of Reckoning?  That may be the case and the reckoning that is occurring may begin to explain why so much is breaking down and not working today in government and politics, in religion and society as a whole. 

Democracy Undone: The Global Rise of Authoritarianism Explained. GroundTruth Project

The rise of authoritarianism is an obvious sign of our times.  Just this week Sweden has a new right wing government—yes Sweden, the land of progress and the future in most of our minds.  Italy has a new leader, a young woman who is by most definitions a fascist (this is what my Italian friends tell me).

Seventy-four million Americans voted for President Trump in the last election and a sizable number of his followers are running for election in the fall on the basis of his “Big Lie” that he won the election—even though 60 courts as well as his own attorney general poo-poohed the idea.  Hundreds of new laws in states around the country that restrict voting rights are based on that same Big Lie.

Protesters urge Pope to rescind the Doctrine of Discovery, July 28, 2022. CBC News: The National.

Then there is religion.  Pope Francis did a rather unprecedented thing in papal history when he traveled to Canada to apologize at several different sites to the indigenous peoples there for the horrors inflicted on them by Catholic schools that kidnapped their children (something the state and also other religions also engaged in and not just in Canada but in the US also.). 

Yet he has not apologized for canonizing an inquisitor turned mission-builder who enslaved Native peoples in the missions of California.  And has not yet chosen to burn the notorious papal bulls (three of them under 2 popes) of the late 15th century that effectively gave a carte blanche and a push to Catholic kings and queens of Europe to go raid Africa for slaves and the “new world” for treasures because they were not “part of the Christian empire.”

Then-Prince Charles expressed sorrow for the enduring impact of British colonialism and slavery, and support for Commonwealth member nations’ self-determination at a 2022 climate summit in Rwanda. Sky News Australia

Empires along with religions are being re-evaluated at this time.  The spotlight on the death of Queen Elizabeth is part of that reckoning.  It is true that England was the first empire to end slavery and between 1808 and 1860 more than 2000 English lost their lives at sea, freeing slaves with the West Africa Squadron.

Yet the fierceness of England’s heyday as empire—which it took a saint, Mahama Gandhi, to overthrow in India–can be measured by the deep resentment still in that land. Other places, including Ireland, still carry their scars and trauma.  

To be continued

See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society.

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

Banner Image: Hungarian strongman Viktor Orbán is honored at the U.S. Conservative Political Action Conference in Budapest, May 19, 2022. Photo by Elekes Andor, Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you sense a Great Reckoning occurring in human consciousness today?  How can that be turned to good and not more hatred and division?

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12 thoughts on “Our Times as an Age of Reckoning”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today you ask: “Do you sense a Great Reckoning occurring in human consciousness today?” Yes, as I look at the increase of Conservative leaders around the world as well as in our own country, that to me signals that we are on our way to a day of reckoning. You say, “Empires along with religions are being re-evaluated at this time,” and you say that the death of Queen Elizabeth is a part of that. Then you show some of the negative things England did in things like slavery, and colonialism in India, and at war with Ireland–and I have noticed anger in some of the comments over these very issues the last couple of days. But the Church is also two-faced with Pope Francis repenting for the injustices done to native children in Canada, while allowing Junipero Serra to be a saint even after using the natives of California as slaves. Yes, it will soon be a day of reckoning for us all.

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    Additional FWI: https://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2021/05/10/hungary-is-becoming-a-semi-dictatorship-as-the-eu-watches-idly-view Musicians respond: https://youtu.be/roTqa0EaZM4 Beethoven: “Music is the Mediator Between the Spiritual and the Senses.” “All civilizations are impermanent and must come to an end one day. But if we continue on our current course, there’s no doubt that our civilization will be destroyed sooner than we think…”
    Thich Nhat Hahn
    “Deep down we must have real affection for each other, a clear recognition of our shared human status. At the same time we must openly accept all ideologies and systems as means of solving humanity’s problems. No matter how strong the wind of evil may blow, the flame of truth cannot be extinguished.”
    ‘It is common now to succumb to a most imprisoning illusion that is percolating throughout our belief systems. This illusion forms when you believe you can be happy within the compartmentalized constraints of a box manufactured by minds that know nothing of spirit, creative thought, or humanity.”

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    It’s one thing for truth to expose injustice, however its a whole other matter for an actual shift in the collective of humanities consciousness to unfold, evolve and emerge through this reckoning process. In my opinion, this is because each individual must be willing to take responsibility and stand accountable for reckoning with their own inner shadow and the generational trauma that this has resulted in within our own disfuntional families, cultural, religious and societal spirals. It is this deep inner soul work that each one personally needs to committ to participate in, without the tendency to angrily point the finger of blame, that merely creates further wounds of guilt, and shame, amongst other harmfull things… in order for this collective shift in humanities consciousness to further unfold, evolve and emerge… in ways that lead to much needed healing, reconciliation, restoration, reformation and the resurrection of that which is inherently sacred, good and beautiful within humanity. What’s needed more than ever is … COMPASSION, MERCY and FORGIVENESS extended first within our own relationship with self, which then naturally flows outward towards others. Jesus’s words, “Take the plank out of your own eye first”, comes to mind.

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      I couldn’t agree with you more, Jeanette, and so appreciate your words and thoughts of Compassion, Mercy and Forgiveness towards ourselves and others. The scripture verse of “Take the plank our of your own eye first” is so appropriate for what is happening today, We have no right to cast a stone at others when we ourselves have been complicit in so many areas. Let us pray that we can take better responsibility of our own actions before we speak about others actions and condemn them for what they are doing. We do want to speak the truth of injustices yet not get into personalities which is more divisive than unifying.
      The hymn, “Let there be. Peace on Earth… and let it begin with me.” Gratefully, Sr. Brigid, OP

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Bill, This is what I wrote to you last night, replying to your comment yesterday: You may not feel it makes sense to see irrational fantasy as a benefit, but that what all children do when they play, and adults do when they read works of fiction or watch movies. And the benefit is that we often need breaks from the pain and sufferings of the world. This in turn can revitalize us to go back out to work for just causes. These are the benefits I see…

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    Finally, at least here and similar places elsewhere, we are speaking the truth that so many are blind to…

    On the backs of the poor are their kingdoms built…

    King Charles III built his own empire long before he inherited his mother’s. As prince, he used tax breaks, offshore accounts and canny real estate investments to turn a sleepy estate into a billion-dollar business.

    Members of Congress have access to information that ordinary Americans don’t. They meet with chief executives, read classified intelligence reports and help set the rules by which the economy works.

    The way of patriarchy has always been oppressive to the masses, and yet the masses blindly follow in wanton worship.


    Hoofnote: Recalling that the Way of Christ is a descending one…. }:- a.m.

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    Yes, Mother Earth and all humanity, all of us, seem to be going through a deep painful spiritual transformation… God bless All of our Living Evolving co-Creation on Sacred Earth and our multidimensional/multiverse Cosmos in Diverse Loving Oneness….

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    This reminds me of Shakespeare’s well known line from As You Like It: “…it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room.” It may be a humorous remark on being misunderstood but has been thought to refer to the death of Christopher Marlowe, possibly over a bill (reckoning in those days) and possibly an assassination because of his work as a spy. Reckoning means being responsible and accountable for one’s life before God or Source, and I hope that we can survive for history to look back and either condemn or congratulate us on how we handled the collapse of all institutions. As Matthew says, we must find a way to come together with some shared values and meanings. On a grand scale, with authoritarianism in governments across the globe on the rise, it looks pretty dreary. But looking at individuals and small groups and communities, positive things are also happening. I do Urgent Action responses for Amnesty International and am constantly amazed and inspired at the courage and spirit of so many individuals and groups that are peacefully resisting authoritarianism, at great cost but standing as beacons for us all. There are human rights defenders across the globe, more than there ever have been. Voices are being raised for the good as well as for evil.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Sue, Thank you for your comment today. I like your references to Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. You define reckoning as: “Reckoning means being responsible and accountable for one’s life before God or Source,” and then you continue, “and I hope that we can survive for history to look back and either condemn or congratulate us on how we handled the collapse of all institutions.” And you speak of your work for Amnesty International. And so ALL will come to their day of reckoning, and as you say, even now “Voices are being raised for the good as well as for evil.” thank you again !

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    In the next-to-last line of today’s meditation, the word “Mahama” is incorrectly used for the proper “Mahatma,” which is an honorific title, like “Reverend.” Please check the dictionary. The first name of the revered Gandhi is Mohandas.

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