In his treatise on the nobility of all, Eckhart tells the peasants that “no one is nobler that you.” We are equal, not ranked.
What our Lord calls a nobleman, the prophet calls a great eagle. Who then is nobler than one who is born, on the one hand of the highest and the best that the creature has, and on the other hand from the inmost ground of the Divine nature and of His desert?
In employing the image of the eagle, Eckhart is playing on the German words Edler (noble) and Adler (eagle). “What our Lord calls a royal person is named by the prophet a large eagle (Ezk 17:3f).”
Eckhart relates our nobility to our being part of the “kingdom of God.” If the kingdom of God is everywhere, we are all royalty, all part of it, no matter our status in society.
We all hold the divine nature in us.
God has sowed His image and His likeness, and…sows the good seed, the root of all wisdom, all knowledge, all virtue, and all goodness, the seed of divine nature. The seed of divine nature is the Son of God, the Word of God.
Who then is the royal person?
Anyone who lives a life from the core of his or her inner self, where the divine image or seed of God is found is a royal person. All who desire goodness and choose goodness therefore.
The inner person is the one of whom our Lord says that ‘a man of royal birth went to a distant country to be appointed king.’ This is the good tree of which our Lord says that it always bears good fruit and never evil fruit. For it desires goodness and is included to goodness.
Biblical scholar Dr. Helen Kenik tells us that throughout the Hebrew Bible the Yahwist tradition “presents human being as kings.”
Eckhart draws from this tradition reminding us that “Christ’s whole nobility belongs equally to all.” Because kings are responsible for justice, he urges us to “practice the same equality in human society.”
Moreover, we are to remember that since “the seed of a pear tree grows into a pear tree, a hazel seed into a hazel tree, the seed of God into God.”
Our divinization is underscored.
When we receive “the word of God with a noble and generous heart,” it yields a good harvest.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Passion For Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart, pp. 518-525.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: The Beloved Community: a silviculture orchard, interdependent ecosystem, bearing good fruit. St Ann’s Community Orchard, Nottingham, is part of the St Ann’s allotments. Photograph by Clem Rutter, Rochester, Kent, on Wikimedia Commons.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you recognize the seed of God growing in you? What makes it grow? How do we practice the same equality in human society?
Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart
Matthew Fox’s comprehensive translation of Meister Eckhart’s sermons is a meeting of true prophets across centuries, resulting in a spirituality for the new millennium. The holiness of creation, the divine life in each person and the divine power of our creativity, our call to do justice and practice compassion–these are among Eckhart’s themes, brilliantly interpreted and explained for today’s reader.
“The most important book on mysticism in 500 years.” — Madonna Kolbenschlag, author of Kissing Sleeping Beauty Goodbye.