Week of 3/27-4/1/2023: Compassion, Truth & the “Unregarded”

March 27, 2023. God, the Holy Spirit as Fire & Compassion
Many mystics equate Divinity with fire and with compassion. Hildegard of Bingen said, “Who is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is a Burning Spirit. It kindles the hearts of humankind.” John of the Cross described how the soul united with the Beloved (God) becomes a “living flame.” Aquinas said, “Compassion is the fire that Jesus came to set on the earth.” Eckhart declared, “We can call God love, we can call God knowledge, but the best name for God is compassion.” Finally, Jesus encourages us:  “Be you compassionate as your Creator in heaven is compassionate.”

“Tara Talks: Remembering Compassion, with Tara Brach.” YouTube

March 28, 2023. God, Justice, and Concern for the “Unregarded”
Rabbi Heschel tells us that it is not enough to have a regard for the Ground of Being.  We must also have “concern for the unregarded.” Thus, as Matthew says, “God is not only the ground of being but the ground of conscience.” And compassion is intricately intertwined with the call for justice. Eckhart declares that “God and justice are completely one.” He also poetically says, “Compassion is where peace and justice kiss.” Lastly,  Julian of Norwich instructs us that “the working of compassion keeps us in love” and justice is integral to compassion for “God is Justice.” 

March 29, 2023. Today’s USA: Kids as “Unregarded,” Guns as Overly Regarded
Hearts break as yet another school shooting erupted, this time in Nashville. Political commentator Bryan Tyler Cohen, in an impassioned video, reminds us that while the United States is only 5% of the world’s population we possess 50% of the world’s guns. As Matthew tells us, guns are the new “golden calf,” an object of worship in contemporary America. The sad truth is, until we vote out those who kowtow to the gun lobby, kids will be among the “unregarded,” while guns are regarded with seeming impunity.

“Mother hijacks Fox News feed after Nashville tragedy” imploring us to enact gun safety laws. Bryan Tyler Cohen responds with an impassioned plea of his own to vote out anyone who supports guns over children. Bryan Tyler Cohen on YouTube.

March 30, 2023. Creation: Original Blessing, Original Goodness at Work
Matthew tells us: To speak of love as we have in our recent meditations on Divinity is to speak of goodness, original goodness, since God is understood as the origin of creation and the goodness of creation. Thomas Aquinas says, “God is sheer goodness” and “From love God makes all things, giving them being.” Then Matthew reminds us that the Bible itself begins with the Via Positiva.

March 31, 2023. Buddhism, Christianity and Fox News War on Truth
One of the principal teachings of Buddhism is the “Noble Eight-Fold Path,” and one of those paths is “Right Speech.” Meanwhile, Christian mystic Thomas Aquinas teaches that “truth is a way to justice and lies are a way to injustice.” And yet the most watched cable news station in our country is involved in a 1.6 billion dollar lawsuit for knowingly and blatantly promulgating lies. Even Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Fox, admitted that Trump “insisting on the election being stolen and convincing 25% of Americans was a huge disservice to the country.” Clearly this news giant is not committed to “right speech” or justice.

The Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism.
Image by Ian Alexander. Wikimedia Commons.

April 1, 2023. Finally! Vatican Repudiates Doctrine of Discovery
For centuries, the papal bull called the Doctrine of Discovery propelled the wanton theft of land, resources, and even human beings from indigenous people who were not Christian. Now, in the aftermath of Pope Francis’ historic visit with, and apology to, the First People of Canada last summer, this doctrine was finally repudiated. Matthew asks the question how different history would be had the Europeans arrived in the Americas and elsewhere preaching about the “goodness of creation” first, such as Julian of Norwich and Thomas Aquinas and other creation mystics lead with, instead of redemption first.

Banner image: Voice your dream: To inspire love and compassion in people. Photo by Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr

Recommended Reading

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

Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic–and Beyond

Julian of Norwich lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she ‘sheltered in place’ and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, Showings, which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature’s goodness. Fox shares her teachings in this powerful and timely and inspiring book.
“What an utterly magnificent book. The work of Julian of Norwich, lovingly supported by the genius of Matthew Fox, is a roadmap into the heart of the eco-spiritual truth that all life breathes together.”  –Caroline Myss
Now also available as an audiobook HERE.

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

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