We are continuing our meditations on truth and action by sharing a talk I gave at the 18th anniversary of Sister Dorothy Stang’s martyrdom in the Amazon forest.

The Webb Telescope shows galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago, with many more galaxies surrounding it. Image credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

Père Chenu also talked about “reading the signs of our times”—a major phrase that made its way into several documents of Vatican II as well as into its very spirit. 

Among the signs of our time is the Webb Telescope beaming back pictures of the earliest stars and galaxies of our home, the universe. 

Is the awe being fed into our living rooms and computers from 13.7 billion years ago enough to wake our species up anew?  Rabbi Heschel defines wonder as the “act in which the mind confronts the universe.”  He informs us time and time again that “awe is the beginning of wisdom.”

Sr. Dorothy knew these things.  She studied the signs of our times.  She knew awe and wisdom and the delight that happens when our minds confront the universe and creation and the Sacred.  This awareness kept her going, invigorated her, made her young again, nurtured her, and made her strong in the presence of evil. 

The opposite of evil is not the good; the opposite of evil is the Sacred. 

We challenge evil with a sense of the Sacred and the joy that follows from that expands the heart.  Meister Eckhart says, “God is delighted to watch your soul enlarge.”  From this expanded soul/heart courage is born.  And joy. 

Sr. Dorothy was a joyful person.  And serious.  And strong.  And concerned.  And caring.  She drank deeply of the sacred in the forest and among the pastoral projects with the people she worked with, built schools with, stood with.

Mini-documentary by The International Peace Museum, honoring the work and legacy of Sister Dorothy Stang.

May she stand with us—and especially the young students here contemplating your vocations–as we continue the “good fight” that St. Paul speaks of.  And may we engage in making the “good trouble” that she dared make, and that John Lewis and MLK Jr. made as they read the signs of the times of their day and their place and their moment in history. 

May she intercede on our behalf as we travel our sacred journeys and as we make good trouble on behalf of Mother Earth and our species striving to recover a sense of the sacred.  May generosity flow from that as it did from Sr. Dorothy. 

Thank you, Sr. Dorothy, for your generosity that we remember today.

See Charles Burack, ed., “Conclusion: The Future: A Letter to Young Seekers from Matthew Fox,” in Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality, pp. 242-250.

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

Banner Image: During the visit of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, protesters marched in solidarity in front of the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, DC on April 9, 2012. The protesters were actively denouncing deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest, demanding protection of indigenous peoples and tribes, and crying out for justice for activists killed whilst campaigning in Brazil. Photo by Eric Spiegel on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

What good trouble are you making these days?  How does truth drive you and sustain you in that important and prophetic work?  Does Sister Dorothy’s life and death nurture you as well?

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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6 thoughts on “Sister Dorothy and Recovering the Sacred, Part iii”

  1. Avatar

    Tomorrow, March 3, the 2023 Global Climate Strike will occur. Participation by refusing to spend money tomorrow will make a strong statement when businesses engaged in destroying our planet lose a day’s revenues.
    Come back to me with all your heart
    Don’t let fear keep us apart
    Trees do bend though straight and tall
    So must we to others call

    Long have I waited for
    Your coming home to me
    And living deeply our new life

    The wilderness will lead you
    To the place where I will speak
    Integrity and justice
    With tenderness
    You shall know.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Olive, Thank you for reminding us that tomorrow, March 3, is the 2023 Global Climate Strike, and for sharing with us your beautiful poem !!!

  2. Avatar

    Matt: I am so grateful and inspired by your unapologetic, well-researched, and incredibly deep and consistent mysticism. It’s why I went to UCS, it’s why I felt inspired and encouraged to keep writing, and it’s how I see the world every day – through a prism of mystical consciousness. Reality, effulgent with divinity, provides us with hope, joy, compassion, and direction every single day, free of charge! It’s why we’re here.

  3. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    Blue Saphire Stars

    See… the unfolding, evolving emergence of the blue Saphire Stars.

    You prophets and mystics are the precious gems, in the crowning glory of the Cosmic Christ.

    You have been given the ability to display star like spectacles, each one exhibiting diverse colors of light… given the gift of viewing intentions from different angles.

    Accentuate your shining properties. Be not afraid to be rare.
    Recognize your noble influence, for you each carry within you, inscribed upon your heart… sacred wisdom.

    You are all, the Living Stones of Destiny… spiritual leaders of faith and hope in the conscious awakening of the Cosmic Christ.

    Each one is a blessed gift of the flaming fire of the Holy Spirit, radiating eternal truths… exposing and transforming what lies in the shadows of darkness… through the power of Love, Compassion, Mercy and Justice.

    These are the most beautiful virtues… which aid you in guarding your heart against the wounds inflicted upon you in your souls journey of Recovering the Sacred… through Truth-Telling and Loving Justly.

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