We are meditating on Joy as a sign of holiness in our times. Yesterday we cited Hildegard and Julian on how Joy assists us to bring energy and vigor to our lives and vocations, and that love of the whole—the universe—is integral to that joy.
In our times we are receiving awesome and beautiful news and pictures of our universe and how amazing it is that the universe has been birthing us and our special planet full of astonishing creatures over the past 13.8 billion years.
This news from science can assist us in recovering from our “narcissism” as a species and imbibe joy. It can awaken us and call us to our bigger selves. It can stop sadness and acedia and coldness of heart in its tracks.
A good example of this excitement and recovery can be found on almost every page of cosmologist Brian Swimme’s latest book, Cosmogenesis: An Unveiling of the Expanding Universe. In it, Brian tells the bumpy story of his vocation as a physicist and cosmologist, of his doubts and detours, but ultimately his fate to carry on and take on both materialistic scientism on the one hand and cold, indifferent, anthropocentrism on the other. The latter often represented in religion, education, politics and the media.
I am honored to have been a friend and co-worker of Brian’s for many decades and to have been part of his first encounter with his mentor, Thomas Berry, who mentored both of us over the years.
I said this about Brian’s most recent book: A love story beautifully told about the storyteller and his vocation, his wife, his mentor Thomas Berry, the universe and us. Wonderful snapshot moments enliven the soul and imagination and tell the valuable and vulnerable story of the price paid for coming to one’s vocation. At the same time the storyteller heralds a new direction for humanity freshly empowered by our role as cosmic beings in a sacred process of cosmogenesis, where our vocations, too, become love stories born of our sacred origins.
If it is true that the history of the universe is a “love story’, then it is a joy-story also. For joy is born of love. And the more we learn about the universe, the more we are learning about both love and joy and the wonder they bring. As Julian of Norwich put it, “We have been loved before the beginning.”
See Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic—and Beyond.
To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: The wonder of our universe. Photo by Arnaud Mariat on Unsplash
Queries for Contemplation
Do you see the history of the universe and of our planet as a love story? And therefore a Joy story? Does this fill your heart and work with Joy even and especially in dark times?
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.