Week of 7/17-22/2023: More Wisdom from M. C. Richards & Matthew Fox’s Early Years

July 17, 2023. M. C. on “Moral Imagination,” a Pathway to Justice & Compassion
In this meditation we explore the importance of imagination in faith, in education, and in the artistic process. There is also something that artist/author M. C. Richards calls “moral imagination.” We are not always able to feel the love we would like to feel. But we may behave imaginatively—envisioning and eventually creating what is not yet present. This is what I call Moral Imagination.    

Examples of hand positions used during wheel-throwing. The images were extracted from a video recording of an Indian Multani potter throwing a 2.25 kg sphere. Photos by Enora Gandon, Reinoud J. Bootsma, John A. Endler, Leore Grosman. Wikimedia Commons.

July 18, 2023. Art, Healing, Learning Discipline for Freedom, Play & Loving of Enemies
M. C. Richards talks about the dynamics of polarity and centering. She says: Life is bipolar. Everything contains its opposite…. Because of the law of polarity, if we devote ourselves too exclusively to one pole, our world will tend to go flat. It is not a formula we are involved in, but a mystery.  She speaks also of freedom: Pottery has helped my poetry because I was less instructed in the handicraft and therefore less inhibited. I permitted myself a kind of freedom in the use of clay which I would not have known how to find in the verbal world.

July 19, 2023. A Special Note from Matthew Fox
Matthew shares with us that he will be taking a one-month-long sabbatical in order to work on his next book about his mentor, Père Chenu. During this time, Rick Reich, a student of creation spirituality with a D.Min. from the University of Creation Spirituality, will step in to write meditations about Matthew and about Creation Spirituality. Rick has been a part of the Daily Meditation team for several years. The meditations will be shorter and will not include a video. Matthew may step in from time to time if he feels called to, but requires focus in order to complete this upcoming book in a good way.

“Marie-Dominique Chenu,” from biography in Backward View blog, 2/12/2012; photographer unknown

July 20, 2023. Encountering Creation Spirituality and Matthew Fox
Richard Reich-Kuykendall writes that he first heard Matthew speak shortly after his own ordination. He says, Though the renegade Dominican priest was seen as a radical within the framework of the Catholic Church, his presentations rang true to my heart. Matthew’s theology became known as Creation Spirituality and was influenced not only by the Bible but by many Christian mystics. This tradition moves through four paths: the Via Positiva, the Via Negativa, the Via Creativa, and the Via Transformativa.

Matthew Fox, author photo from the original edition of Original Blessing, 1983.

July 21, 2023. Matthew Fox as a Young Man: the Turning Points
We learn about Matthew’s years as a young boy and how his experience with polio changed him, making him a bit more serious, sensitive, conscious—and grateful when he could eventuallywalk again. When he was in high school, he chose to join the Dominican Order. There, his name was changed from Timothy to Matthew. In his book Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest, he related that wrote to Thomas Merton to ask where he could study to learn about “spirituality and the mystics.” Merton suggested he would find that in Paris. The Dominicans subsequently gave approval for him to get his Ph.D. there.

July 22, 2023. Matthew Meets His Mentor
Matthew Fox began studying at the Institut Catholique de Paris, where he met his mentor, Père Chenu. It was there that the term “Creation Spirituality” was born, as well as the concept of “Original Blessing.” After receiving his Ph.D., Matthew taught religion at several colleges. Then, in 1976, he founded the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality at Mundelein College in Illinois. Eight years later, ICCS moved to Holy Names College in Oakland, California, where it boasted an eclectic faculty. And later it became the University of Creation Spirituality.

Banner image: Institut Catholique de Paris,” where Matthew earned his Ph.D. and met Père Chenu. Wikimedia Commons

Recommended Reading

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.

Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest (Revised/Updated Edition)

Matthew Fox’s stirring autobiography, Confessions, reveals his personal, intellectual, and spiritual journey from altar boy, to Dominican priest, to his eventual break with the Vatican. Five new chapters in this revised and updated edition bring added perspective in light of the author’s continued journey, and his reflections on the current changes taking place in church, society and the environment.
“The unfolding story of this irrepressible spiritual revolutionary enlivens the mind and emboldens the heart — must reading for anyone interested in courage, creativity, and the future of religion.”
—Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self

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