Week of 3/20-25/2023: Holy Existence, the Ground of Being, Love & Compassion

March 20, 2023. Thomas Aquinas & Deepak Chopra on “the Glory of Existence”
Here we meditate on thoughts from both Aquinas and Chopra about the “glory of existence.” Though they lived centuries apart, wisdom is timeless. Aquinas: 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. Chopra: “God is not a mythical person—he is Being itself.” And The very fact that anything exists is supernatural—literally beyond the rules of the natural world.  Yes, the true miracle is existence itself.  

The divine presence in every creature. Photo by Ramiro Martinez on Unsplash

March 21, 2023: Aquinas, Eckhart, Heschel and Hart on Holy Existence  
Existence itself is holy. Or, as Meister Eckhart says, “Isness is God.” Meanwhile, Aquinas says: God’s work whereby God brings things into being must not be taken as the work of a craftsman who makes a box and then leaves it.  For God continues to give being.  Rabbi Heschel concurs: [Creation] is not an act that happened once upon a time, once and for ever.  The act of bringing the world into existence is a continuous process. God called the world into being, and that call goes on….Every instant is an act of creation. And Greek Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart agrees: The ultimate source of existence cannot be some item or event that has long since passed away or concludedbut must be a constant wellspring of being, at work even now. 

March 22, 2023: Eckhart, Thich Nhat Hanh, Hildegard on God as Ground of Being
The Book of Acts refers to God as “the one in whom we live, move, and have our being.” Eckhart says: “God’s ground is my ground and my ground is God’s ground.” Matthew further elaborates: To call God “the Ground of Being” is to find Divinity in the depth of things, the foundation of things, the profundity of things. Thich Nhat Hahn muses: God as the ground of being cannot be conceived of.  Nirvana also cannot be conceived of. If we are aware when we use the word ‘nirvana’ or the word ‘God’ that we are talking about the ground of being there is no danger in using these words.  Meanwhile, Hildegard of Bingen used the phrase “ground of being” long before Eckhart! But she applied it to Mother Mary! Here is one of her radiant prayers: Mother of all joy, ground of all being, glowing, most green, verdant sprout…. Ask for us life.  Ask for us radiant joy.  Ask for us the sweet, delicious ecstasy that is forever yours.

“O viridissima virga” (Oh greenest branch) by Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) Performed by Allison Mondel Soprano, Gothic harpist, and director of Eya Medieval Music. YouTube

March 23, 2023. Being & Non-being Rising to Action, Passion & Compassion
Matthew tells us:When we return to Source and Beginnings, gratefulness for existence can rise and refresh us and stir us to action. He adds: Being includes suffering of course, we do not feel or undergo only the Via Positiva in our life journeys.  But then A kind of resurrection occurs when we move from tomb to womb and learn to give birth from a deeper and deeper place. This, of course, is the Via Transformativa. He teaches: The action we give birth to… is effective action when it comes from a deep place of Joy and Gratitude on the one hand, and of suffering, loss and rupture on the other. This Compassion is the acting out of our interdependence, or what Thich Nhat Hanh calls our “interbeing.”  

March 24, 2023. Actions of Love, Actions of Compassion—God in History
Eckhart tells us that “compassion means justice” as do the Jewish prophets of old. Matthew tells us that “to do justice in the midst of injustice is to bring the Divine back to history and culture.” Meanwhile Rumi encourages: “Lose your soul in God’s love, I swear there is no other way.”  

March 25, 2023. Divine Love, Earth Love, Human Love, continued
Matthew tells us: The word “love” is such a broad word, especially in English, that it applies to so many things.  But to say God is love is to render God omnipresent, omnifelt, part of everyday life—and of everyday aspiration.  He shares a beautiful example of love between the species. A Doberman, recently rescued, responded with instinctual love when he suddenly bounded toward an infant, picked it up by its diaper and threw it across the yard. Onlookers were horrified until they realized the dog was deathly ill. He had been bitten by one of the most poisonous snakes on the planet. This dog’s selfless courage saved the baby’s life. Fortunately, after much intensive care, the dog lived, too. This is an example of love in action.

Dogs are our guardian angels. Photo by Vitaliy Zalishchyker on Unsplash

Banner image: “Buddhist Monks Walking.” Photo by Tharum Bun on Flickr. Creative Commons

Recommended Reading

Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God …Including the Unnameable God

Too often, notions of God have been used as a means to control and to promote a narrow worldview. In Naming the Unnameable, renowned theologian and author Matthew Fox ignites our imaginations by offering a colorful range of Divine Names gathered from scientists and poets and mystics past and present, inviting us to always begin where true spirituality begins: from experience.
“This book is timely, important and admirably brief; it is also open ended—there are always more names to come, and none can exhaust God’s nature.” -Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, author of Science Set Free and The Presence of the Past

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.

A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice

In A Spirituality Named Compassion, Matthew Fox delivers a profound exploration of the meaning and practice of compassion. Establishing a spirituality for the future that promises personal, social, and global healing, Fox marries mysticism with social justice, leading the way toward a gentler and more ecological spirituality and an acceptance of our interdependence which is the substratum of all compassionate activity.
“Well worth our deepest consideration…Puts compassion into its proper focus after centuries of neglect.” –The Catholic Register

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4 thoughts on “Week of 3/20-25/2023: Holy Existence, the Ground of Being, Love & Compassion”

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Damian, You are referring to the DM entitled, “Being & Non-being Rising to Action, Passion & Compassion” where you speak of “channeling.” I too, would like to hear what Matthew has to say about this !

  1. Avatar

    One of the mysteries of existence is the mystery of time. Yet we kniw we are called to an eternal timeframe, an eternal existence with God. Such knowledge boggles the mind. Certainly time and space are realities we will partake of more completely in our future life with God. but it begins here in the eternal present!

  2. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    The glory of the existence of the Trinitarian Divine Love of God, expressed through the three natures of Agape, Eros, and Philia love… as one unified, whole love… is swelling up in this world of space/time/matter… through the transformative, creative process of evolution AND the rise of consciousness.

    This Trinitarian Divine Love, by its nature flows outward, continously incarnating… manifesting and expressing itself… to become and be… for the other… whom is itself. This Divine Trinitarian Love… is relational, personal, communal and unitive. God does, whom God is… this Trinitarian Love… in, with for and through the ALL AND THE EVEYTHING OF CREATION!

    Glory be to the Father/Mother, the Holy Spirit and the Sons and Daughters of this Divine Love… as the I AM… that is, was and ever shall be. Amen. Let this be so!

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