Aquinas connects joy to consciousness when he says, “God is supremely joyful and therefore supremely conscious.”
Is that your experience too, that consciousness and joy go together? That joy expands your consciousness and ignites it and sustains it when times are hard? And when joy rises in you there is an expansion of awareness and consciousness?
And that being around people at joy, celebrating with them, brings consciousness and awareness alive? That joyful people make good friends?
Is this one more reason why effective ceremonies and rituals are so important for our survival? African ritualist Malidoma Some used to say that “there is no community without rituals.” Maybe that is another way of saying, “there is no community without the sharing of joy.” And “there is no community if we are not expanding our consciousness.” And “consciousness and joy expand when we celebrate in community.”
“Love is the cause of joy” says Aquinas. “Everyone takes joy in their beloved [for] love and joy constitute the basis of all attraction—love is the origin and joy is the end result.”
He maintains that “the only person who truly has joy is one who lives in love.” A call to love is a call to joy.
Joy and love go together. Where there is love, there is joy. Where there is joy, there is love. Joy flows from love. And joy wakens people to love.
In yesterday’s DM, I asked the question whether all beings are joyful. Thomas Merton says that “every non-two-legged creature is a saint.” If that is the case, and if joy is a certain sign of holiness, then it would seem that all creatures are joyful or seeking to be joyful.
Certainly other beings bestow joy on us if we let them into our lives and consciousness. Maybe a sparsity of joy is one of the biggest prices we paid when we cut ourselves off from other creatures in the modern era due to species narcissism and enlightenment superiority complexes.
Maybe that has contributed vastly to the degradation of Mother Earth and her creatures and habitats suffering so severely today.
This is not all bad news, however, for it points to the way out of our folly—and to greater joy and sharing with other creatures to the extent that we wake up and recognize their holiness among us.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, pp. 33-38.
And from Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality, pp. 118-120.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: Elephant caresses, La Palmyre, Les Mathes, France. Photo by Anaïs Buan on Unsplash.
Queries for Contemplation
Is it your experience that joy is “the end result of love”? What follows from that in making room for joy in our hearts and society?
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
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