Week of 5/15 – 5/20/2023: Joy, Courage & Holiness in the Fight against Evil

May 15, 2023. The First Daily Meditation, Mother’s Day 2019
We revisit the very first Daily Meditation four years ago, in which Matthew shares a dream he had in which it was stated that his mother was dying. As his human mother was in good health, he realized he was being given a warning about our Earth Mother. This dream became a springboard for his book The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, in which he explores various dimensions of matricide in our world. Meanwhile, Hildegard of Bingen was way ahead of her time when she wrote: “The earth is at the same time mother, she is mother of all that is natural, mother of all that is human.  She is the mother of all, for contained in her are the seeds of all.” The fact that the dream said “your Mother is dying” (and not “dead,”) extends a challenge to our generation that we might still turn things around.

The monarch butterfly is one of many species whose populations have seen a precipitous decline, indicative of a great lack of balance on our Earth. Photo by rod m on Unsplash

May 16, 2023. The Thirst for Holiness and Joy and Combating Evil
In our continuing efforts to seek ways to combat evil, we go to Rabbi Heschel who said that “the Biblical answer to evil is not the good but the holy” and that “holiness is the most precious word in religion.” However, what is considered holy may differ according to the culture and the time in history. Frederick Turner, author of the book Beyond Geography tells us: As the doctrines of materialism triumphed first among intellectuals, then among the population at large, so did the use of opium, cocaine, mescalin, and cannabis.  Matthew poses the following: “Much of the quest for drugs is to numb pain.  But how much of the quest for drugs is a quest for transcendence and therefore holiness?”

Susannah Heschel, James Lawson and Andrew Young discuss the relationship between Rabbi Heschel and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Excerpt from Steve Brand‘s documentary on Heschel, “Praying With My Legs”

May 17, 2023. What Does Holiness Mean in Our Time? continued
Matthew tells us: One sign of holiness is Joy.  Joy is not the opposite of suffering, it is something so big that it is bigger than suffering and even deeper.  It rides into our lives on the back of love, it is a fruit of the spirit, a fruit of all that has brought us here, the Holy Spirit of creativity and birth and re-birth.  It is resurrection in the fullest sense of that term.  It does not banish suffering or evil but is bigger than both and bigger than us. Another sign of holiness is Courage, which comes from the French for “large heart.” Joy, awe, wonder, gratitude, and love all expand the heart.

May 18, 2023. Courage, Holiness, and a Love that Conquers Fear of Death
Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us that we “must love something more than the fear of death” if we are to live. We explore some of the many people who were so courageous that they put their love for justice ahead of their fear of death. MLK and Sister Dorothy Stang are among the ones we know, but Matthew reminds us of the many, many “ordinary” (extraordinary) people who were tortured and killed for defending the Amazon and the people who lived there, as well as the many who filled jails and marched to end segregation.

The third Selma Civil Rights March frontline. From far left: John Lewis, an unidentified nun; Rev. Ralph Abernathy; Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Nobel laureate Ralph Bunche; Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel; Rev. Frederick Douglas Reese. Second row: Rev. Joseph Ellwanger; between Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Bunche is Rabbi Maurice Davis. Wikimedia Commons.

May 19, 2023. Courage = Trust: The Testimony of Fred Shuttlesworth
We reflect on the extraordinary courage of Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, a man who was beaten mercilessly many times, and whose home was bombed–with him in–all because he dared to fight for civil rights for all people. When asked by Matthew where he got his courage, he replied: You can call it courage if you want, but I don’t.  I call it trust. When they blew the roof off my house and I walked out alive I said to myself, ‘they cannot kill me. Oh, some day they might kill my body; but they cannot kill my soul and they cannot kill the movement.‘ What an extraordinary man.

Brief bio-documentary on civil rights leader Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, who worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., co-founded the SCLC and refused to waver even after he was brutally attacked. HISTORY

May 20, 2023. More Wisdom on Trust from Fred Shuttlesworth & Others
We explore more about the wisdom of Rev. Shuttlesworth who, after repeated threats on his life, said, “You can kill the individual but not the movement.” Shuttleworth preferred the word “trust” to “courage.” He exemplifies what the psalmist says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” Matthew shares some other quotations about trust, gleaned from his book Original Blessing: Hildegard says that “trust shows the way.” Eckhart says, “You can never trust God too much. Why is it that some people do not bear fruit? It is because they have no trust either in God or in themselves.” Finally Biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann says, “What God does first and best and most is to trust his people with their moment in history.  He trusts them to do what must be done for the sake of his whole community.” 

Banner image: Holiness in the face of horror. Service after the bombing of a Birmingham church in which four young black girls were killed. Martin Luther King officiates. September 18, 1963. Wikimedia Commons.

Recommended Reading

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

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4 thoughts on “Week of 5/15 – 5/20/2023: Joy, Courage & Holiness in the Fight against Evil”

  1. Avatar

    “May God’s Spirit of Love, Wisdom, Truth, Peace, Justice, Healing, Strength, Creativity, Compassion… Present in our bodies/hearts/minds/Souls of All our sisters & brothers around the world grow in Awareness, with one another and with our sacred, beautiful Mother Earth and all Her creatures and graceful abundance within Our co-Creator~Source’s Loving Diverse Oneness in our sacred multidimensional-multiverse evolving Cosmos…. “
    – Amen

    1. Avatar
      Carol Vaccariello

      Thank you for the reminder, Barbara.
      To be holy is to be whole, healthy, blessed and sacred – hmmm – a healer: healing and healed.

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