Speaking of festivity and celebration, I am moved by Yeats’ simple poem:
We must laugh and we must sing,
We are blessed by everything
Everything we look upon is blessed.
This speaks to me of Original Blessing if anything does.
We have been considering Air and how Air is an original blessing worthy of our regular praise. Along with Earth, Fire and Water. Puppets assist us to remember. Paying attention is key, as Mary Oliver insists. It is our basic prayer for gratitude is such and we have to pay attention to allow gratitude to return and to flow among us.
There is a “must,” and imperative built in to Yeats’ observation to sing and laugh. Laughter and singing is not just fun, it is necessary. From them derive the energy to keep up the struggle in hard times and good times. Moreover, everything we encounter is blessing us, not just the positive experiences but the negative ones too. Even evil has much to teach us and also develops us and demands the best of us to combat it.
There is a lot of blessing going on if it is true that “everything we look upon is blessed.”
As Heschel reminds us, God is not just the God of creation but the God of merriment and joy. And such celebration derives from a place of holiness.
I love the phrase, “Festival of Faiths.” What other Festivals are we deserving of and needy for? A festival after all is about group praise. How about the following?
Festivals of cuisine.
Festivals of clothing, garments, costumes.
Festivals of languages.
Festivals of music.
Festivals of various visages.
Festivals of rituals, ceremonies, liturgies.
Festivals of funerals.
Festivals of marriage ceremonies.
Festivals of Lights (especially in the month of December)
Festivals of fast days.
Festivals of saints.
Festivals of humor.
Festivals of life. (Merton says “Life is a festival.)
Festivals of animals.
Festivals of children.
Festivals of rites of passage.
Festivals of independence days, breaking free of being colonized.
Festivals of thanks.
And more, many more.
Occasions to dance, sing, and give thanks.
See Matthew Fox, Original Blessing.
And Fox, Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet, pp. 68-70.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: PunarPusam festival procession, Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman Temple in Singapore, 2013. Photo by budak on Flickr.
CORRECTION: In yesterday’s DM, Mark A. Steiner was incorrectly described as a graduate of Matthew Fox’s creation spirituality master’s program. He writes: “I first brought Matthew to Louisville in 1991. In 1997, Catherine Browning, Gale Harman and I formed Cultivating Connections which supported the Creation Spirituality Connectors network. I went on to offer programs and conferences around CS, the Universe Story etc. until 2021 when I closed shop.”
We apologize for the error.
Queries for Contemplation
What do Yeats’ words mean to you?
Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality
Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology): the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
“Original Blessing makes available to the Christian world and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated.” –Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story
Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet
Because creativity is the key to both our genius and beauty as a species but also to our capacity for evil, we need to teach creativity and to teach ways of steering this God-like power in directions that promote love of life (biophilia) and not love of death (necrophilia). Pushing well beyond the bounds of conventional Christian doctrine, Fox’s focus on creativity attempts nothing less than to shape a new ethic.
“Matt Fox is a pilgrim who seeks a path into the church of tomorrow. Countless numbers will be happy to follow his lead.” –Bishop John Shelby Spong, author, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Living in Sin