The Divine Joy. Did you ever consider that maybe the “Big Bang” was a Big Laugh? Or a Big Shout of Joy? That the Trinity could not take it any more—that is the joy of being, the joy of existence, the joy that is the joie d’vivere, the celebration of a universe where “existence itself is the miracle.” (Rilke). Or—even more likely because scientists tell us there was no sound at all when the universe began–a big, quiet smile of mischief when the Creator came up with the crazy idea to birth a universe (and put homo sapiens into it)?
Why is there a universe? In order to share the joy, of course! A new and unheard of surprise to launch a universe smaller than a zygote that would expand over 14 billion years into two trillion galaxies? Each with hundreds of billions of stars? And would include giraffes and hippos and forests and oceans, mountains and rivers, fishes and birds, flowers, plants and human beings—all born from 13.8 billion years of birthing from the time of the Big Laugh, Big Smile, overflowing exuberance, playfulness and the bubbling over of divine Joy?
Thomas Aquinas had such an idea when he proposed that “Sheer Joy is God’s and this demands companionship.” The purpose of the universe is Joy. Ours and the Creator’s. Joy does not want to be contained, it demands to be shared, like fire or like a laugh. It wants company and nurtures community. Which was very dear to the Trinity which ultimately birthed all of creation. And the beauty and original blessing of it all started things off with, as we say, a big bang, a big laugh, a bursting joy, a twinkling and mischievous smile matched only by unbounded beauty and wonder.
For this reason, “joy is the human’s noblest act” and “God is supremely joyful and therefore supremely conscious.” (Aquinas) If Joy—ours and God’s—renders us ever more conscious, can we spread the joy?
Welcome aboard! Welcome to existence, to creation, to the universe, your home.
Wouldn’t it be good to teach this to our children very early and before and instead of teaching them about divine wrath or a place called hell or original sin or guilt or shame or despair?
Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, pp. 33-40.
And Fox, In the Beginning there Was Joy: A Celebration of Creation for Children of All Ages. (Coming soon!)
To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner image: Joy! Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash
Queries for Contemplation
What difference does it make–if any–to think that the universe began with a big laugh or mischievous smile or shout of joy?
Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality
Matthew Fox renders Thomas Aquinas accessible by interviewing him and thus descholasticizing him. He also translated many of his works such as Biblical commentaries never before in English (or Italian or German of French). He gives Aquinas a forum so that he can be heard in our own time. He presents Thomas Aquinas entirely in his own words, but in a form designed to allow late 20th-century minds and hearts to hear him in a fresh way.
“The teaching of Aquinas comes through will a fullness and an insight that has never been present in English before and [with] a vital message for the world today.” ~ Fr. Bede Griffiths (Afterword).
Foreword by Rupert Sheldrake
The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times
A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book! Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit