In a time of struggle and darkness, with lies and false prophets with very large megaphones and audiences, it helps to call on the wisdom of great souls and minds who will give us grounding and perspective.
Such people can call us back to the basics, to how our existence after 13.8 billion years of the universe unfolding (today’s science) is, as poet Rilke named it, a “miracle,” that is a wonder or marvel. Something worth marveling about and responding to with awe that in turn fills us with more wonder.
Deeper than human folly after all is the wisdom of the universe and creation and Creator. Following are some insights from Thomas Aquinas, who is a wise ancestor, about the presence of divinity among us: God is in all things in the most intimate way. Insofar as a thing has existence, it is like God. Just as flaming up comes with fire, so the existence of any creature comes with the divine presence. The first fruit of God’s activity in things is existence itself. All other fruits presuppose this one, namely, existence.
Aquinas is so confident about the absolute holiness and divinity of existence itself. Where does he derive this confidence about the graced mystery of existence? Says he: God is pure existence. The existence of all other things partakes of God’s. God is essential existence, and all other things are beings by participation. The essence of God is God’s existence.
Moses was taught this sublime truth when he asked: “If the children of Israel say to me, ‘What is God’s name?’ what shall I answer them? The Lord replied: ‘I am who am; so shalt thou say to the children of Israel: The One who is has sent me to you’ (Exod. 3:13-14).’
Turning from a Christian theologian of the 13th century to a Hindu philosopher and medical doctor of the 21st century, Deepak Chopra writes: “God is not a mythical person—he is Being itself.”
He elaborates: The vast physical mechanism we call the universe behaves more like a mind than like a machine. How did mind ever find a way to manifest as the physical world?…The very fact that anything exists is supernatural—literally beyond the rules of the natural world. Yes, the true miracle is existence itself.
To be continued
Adapted from Charles Burack, ed., Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality, p. 100
And Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality, pp. 99f.
And Fox, Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God…Including the Unnameable God, p. 5.
To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you agree that the vast universe behaves more like a mind than a machine? And that “the very fact that anything exists is” is the miracle? And that existence precedes all other activities? What follows from that?
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.