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.
10 thoughts on “Joy and the Cosmos: Brian Swimme’s Invitation to Cosmogenesis”
Most of us are not willing to pay the price for coming to one’s vocation. If that one’s vocation is to bring us further into the fullness of love and joy, we are selling ourselves short. Here are some words written from another post regarding ‘paying the price’ above and beyond ‘lip service’. —-
We need to decide whether we are to be ‘enlisted soldiers’ in God’s realm or we just relegate God to lip service in some form of ‘passing thoughts’ in-between our more important work. This is not to say that we, not unlike monks, do not have family and work responsibilities to tend to – not at all.
Let’s not continue to fool ourselves. No one hears the voice of God without being attentive to the voice of God. To make oneself ready for this attentiveness takes time, discipline and continual practice and presence. There is a ‘training camp’ that we must go through before we are ready to ‘fight the battle’ on holy ground. And in-between battles, we practice, practice and practice. Let’s not talk about ‘holy pause’ unless we are committed, like a good soldier, to our training, practice and devotion to ‘the Way, the Truth and the Life’, daily, without pause. There is no other way except the futile way of our own making should we decide to continue on that path. — BB.
Your words to us are so clear.
I recall a woman who said to me once, ” I am jealous of your spiritual experiences.”
I shared with her that these aren’t only mine to experience. These moments are for all of us.
It is a matter of saying yes to the Holy’s invitation. She backed off saying, “I can’t do that.”
I told her, ” In order to experience the Divine, you need to be open to that possibility; spiritual experience isn’t for a select group.”
I saw the fear in her eyes.
She said, “What if I’m asked to do something I don’t want to do? What if I’m asked to give up my house, my life style?”
I realized she knew clearly, she made her choice and forfeiting a deep relationship with the Holy was her consequence.
I think there are many people who don’t understand what you have explained in your comment; we need to answer and be available to do the work for the invitation to manifest fruit.
I read something by Brian McLaren, in Richard Rhor’s DM the other day… which seems appropriate to share in response to todays query; which I’ve paraphrased and added my own thoughts to… my thoughts are in brackets.
“Perhaps you can look at the world in transition, (in the continuous process of evolution unfolding and emerging); and dare to echo God in Genesis: Behold it is good… it is very good. Perhaps you can see transition, (evolution or Cosmogenesis) as an essential part of that goodness; that is better than perfection. (What might this goodness be, that is better than perfection? Perhaps it is the continuous joy, of LOVE, being reborn again and again.)”
I don’t know about others, but for myself, that’s the kind of love story I desire to be apart of!
I sure like your comment “What might this goodness be, that is better than perfection?”
Also liked your answer to your question.
I am pondering also.
Matthew’s words about Brian Swimme’s new book, “Cosmogenesis,” — “… 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 of our sacred origins.”, inspires me to introduce three young explorers (with Master degrees) of our multidimensional Cosmos. The titles of their presentations at a recent international webinar, May1-5, 2023, “Cosmic Truth: Remembrance – Experiencing Our Galactic Self” (thecosmictruth.com), gives you a glimpse of their areas of study and personal experience —
1) Heather Linn, “Homo Luminous: Energetic Pathways for Cosmic Evolution” (emeraldwisdomschool.com).
2) Isaac Mars, “Our Universe Solved: The Physics of Unity and Heart Consciousness”
3) Elizabeth Wood, “Who Is Your Cosmic Self” (seerandscientist.com).
Thanks for sharing
I do see the evolution of the universe and our planet as a love story. Human beings loving Life so much that through time and evolution the Webb telescope is developed! How else do you explain this progress and Matthews (DM’s) work and a nurses work. I love the humility that is woven into our love story.
A mother rising in the middle of the night to feed her infant at her breast. It’s an image of love similar to the Webb that is reflected in the eyes of the mother. And the rest of the family witnesses it and learns from it. We are fortunate if we have someone in our life that loves us and teaches us how to love and live. The Bible is a love story. How else did so many human beings face and overcome evil…greed, if not out of a love for something truer and more just. If it were not for love,
I would not have overcome the darkness in my own life. It is because of the Joy and Love I received, that I am where I am at, able to work hard and make whatever sacrifices I need to. It is because of love that I have overcome my pain, my shadows and evolved into the person I am today. If not for Christ, and the Buddha, if not for my parents and many other varied teachers showing me something real and true in particular, if not for the Webb telescope, how would we evolve? We show the way, must be the way,
so love will grow. I want to run away often but I always come back because Love is pulling my heart strings. Yes I must choose. And right there in that choice I fall in love.
We are telescopes for each other that we look through to explore the world.
Just saw your second comment.
I like the thought of being a telescope for another.
I am imagining what that is for me, for the other?
Again, Thank you
Thank you, JoAnn,
Your comment touched me deeply.
Gratitude for your sharing.