Week of 7/10-15/2023: Exploring Justice, Compassion, & Incarnational Meditation

July 10, 2023. Remedies For a Sick and Diseased and Dangerous Supreme Court
In this DM, we explore some of the many conflicts of interest on display with the current SCOTUS as well as some ideas on how to remediate the situation. These include: voting and getting out the vote; pressuring the Senate to establish new legal guidelines for the court, as well as appointing a third party to ensure compliance; expand the number of justices in the Supreme Court; and urge the press to be diligent in reporting abuses of power and privilege in the court.

“All In With Chris Hayes” reports on Leonard Leo’s influence upon key conservative figures. Video by MSNBC.

July 11, 2023. Coming up for Air: Spirituality and Justice from Thomas Aquinas
In our continuing despair over the lack of ethics in our Supreme Court, we may need to bolster ourselves with some spiritual practices. The Four Paths provide one framework: Nature and contemplative practices (Vias Positiva and Negativa), creativity (Via Creativa), and working for justice (Via Transformativa). Regarding the latter, Aquinas tells us that “God is Justice” and that “the vision of God is arrived at through justice.” Justice is also intrinsic to holiness for “the saints have a heart full of justice.”

July 12, 2023. More from Aquinas on Justice, Holiness and Compassion
Aquinas teaches that justice, truth and compassion are essentially the same. He says, We find these two things, compassion and justice, in all the works of God…. He says that justice is the “greatest” of the moral virtues for it holds society together and concerns our relationship with others. He urges those fighting for justice, “to take pleasure in doing just deeds.”

Silver Tzedakah box, from tzedek, meaning justice; charity was seen as a form of justice. Money is set aside to be donated to a just cause according to Maimonides’ 8 levels of giving. Wikiwand. Public Domain.

July 13, 2023. Justice & Compassion as Visions of God that Melt Hearts
Matthews tells us while Aquinas is happy to talk about contemplation and to practice it, for him contemplation is not the culmination of the spiritual journey. Contemplation and action, compassion, are to go together. Compassion bears witness to the Divine: “Of all the virtues that relate to our neighbor, compassion is the greatest.” For “the sum total of the Christian religion consists of compassion as regards external works.” 

For 14 years, David Breaux sat at a bench in Davis, CA, studying and sharing about compassion. When his life ended violently this spring, his sister and members of the community were challenged to practice his message of forgiveness. CBS Mornings interviews community members on Breaux’s legacy.

July 14, 2023. M. C. Richards, Centering, and Fusion of the Opposites
Père Chenu, a great historian and theologian, points out that when societies evolve, their ideas of holiness also evolve. We have been exploring the concept of holiness in today’s world, and the four related elements of Joy, Courage, Generosity and Justice. Today we celebrate M. C. Richards.  M. C. was a potter, poet, painter, philosopher, critic of education, and a faculty member of the University of Creation Spirituality. Her book Centering: In Pottery, Poetry, and the Person is a classic on art as meditation. Matthew lauds her as a champion of Joy and Courage, Generosity and Justice.

July 15, 2023. M. C. on Art as Meditation as Incarnational Meditation
M. C. Richards talks about “bodying forth.” Matthew tells us that “Love is bodily. That is why proper justice means proper food and clothing and shelter and a living and healthy earth which bears healthy food….” And that is how we connect with one another and with all of creation—by way of our shared bodiliness. 

Banner image: Together. Photo by Marlis Trio Akbar on Unsplash

Recommended Reading

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

Wrestling with the Prophets: Essays on Creation Spirituality and Everyday Life

In one of his foundational works, Fox engages with some of history’s greatest mystics, philosophers, and prophets in profound and hard-hitting essays on such varied topics as Eco-Spirituality, AIDS, homosexuality, spiritual feminism, environmental revolution, Native American spirituality, Christian mysticism, Art and Spirituality, Art as Meditation, Interfaith or Deep Ecumenism and more.

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3 thoughts on “Week of 7/10-15/2023: Exploring Justice, Compassion, & Incarnational Meditation”

  1. Avatar

    I wanted to recommend a book (Matthew wrote one of the forewords) — “Radical Regeneration: Sacred Activism and the Renewal of the world” (2022) by Andrew Harvey and Carolyn Baker. This is a review from the back cover:

    “Presenting a manual for navigating humanity’s collective dark night, Harvey and Baker explore potential antidotes, drawn from mystical traditions and Social Activism, to help us find inspiration and take action in the face of the daunting challenges to our world.
    Offering a deep discussion of our global dark night in terms of the Kali Yuga, the authors examine the dangers of a growing constellation of intractable crises — authoritarianism both in America and abroad, climate change, economic inequality, social upheaval, and spiritual malaise. They then explore the antidotes to these crises: Sacred Activism — specifically, creative, wise, sacred inspired action — and a profound understanding of our evolutionary ordeal and its potentialities… to help enact personal and planetary transformation.
    Drawing on the visionary teachings of mystics such as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Sri Aurobindo, the authors show how the global dark night is part of an evolutionary mutation process and how its very intensity makes it the potential seedbed of a new embodied divine humanity…. “

  2. Avatar

    Compassion is a great vitue maybe closer to love than justice.
    I recently made a friend in Costa Rica who told me that his wife cheated on him and he doesn’t want to take her back. They have a son. I am reminded of the story of the OT minor prophet Hosea and his unfaithful wife Gomer. God tells Hosea to take her back even though Gomer has become a whore. Their relationship mirrors the story of God’s relationship with Israel who are constantly worshipping false gods. God has compassiin on his people and always foegives their infidelity.
    I will tell my friend about Hosea and Gomer. Maybe he can try to limitate the compassion of God in his situation tbough it would take constant firguveness.

  3. Avatar

    Thank you, Matthew, for your wisdom. Compassion–suffering with–I think incorporates justice and holiness and is an embodied way of being with, of presence.

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