Week of 7/31-8/5/2023: The Via Negativa, Fear, Sin & Blessings

July 31, 2023. “Thou Shalt Dare the Dark” (Via Negativa)
In the book Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality, Matthew refers to the Four Paths as the Four Commandments. The commandment for the Via Negativa is “Thou Shalt Dare the Dark.” He further says: The divine is to be met in the depths of darkness as well as in the light. We call this the apophatic divinity. “Daring the dark” means entering nothingness and letting it be nothingness while it works its mystery on us. “Daring the dark” also means allowing pain to be pain and learning from it.

The Grand Canyon at night. Photo by Sharma 1195. Wikimedia Commons.

August 1, 2023. “Thou Shalt Dare the Dark” (Via Negativa)–part 2
We continue to explore the deeper meaning of the Via Negativa. Matthew writes: In the pathway that is the Via Negativa, we enter the shadow, the hidden or covered-up parts of ourselves and our society. In doing so, we confront the cover-up that often accompanies evil in self or society. He also teaches: Creation Spirituality addresses the compulsion to control directly by teaching the mystical path of letting go and letting be, the Via Negativa. 

August 2, 2023. Some Thoughts on Evil
Matthew doesn’t shy away from converstions about Evil. He encourages us: We ought to be teaching about humanity’s capacity for evil so that we can consciously move beyond it.  He also tells us: Pain is a teacher. The darkness is a teacher. The shadow is a teacher. Those who awaken our shadows are teachers. Even evil is a teacher. 

Official trailer of the classic documentary, Koyaanisqatsi, which powerfully shows how out of balance our planet is. Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers.

August 3, 2023. Some of the Ways We and the Earth Experience the Via Negativa
We learn about a big dream that Matthew once had in which he heard the refrain “your mother is dying.” As his own earthly mother was fine, he soon realized his dream was about our EarthMother. Matthew then equates Jesus Christ with our ailing Earth and, in The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, writes: If Jesus Christ is Mother Earth crucified, then eating and drinking at the Eucharist is the eating and drinking of the wounded earth. The ingesting of the sacrificial victim brings about an awakening of consciousness to the sufferings of Mother Earth and all her children. 

August 4, 2023. There is No Fear in Love, For Perfect Love Casts Out Fear
We explore fear and pain. Matthew tells us that the word “fear” is used 365 times in the Christian scriptures. About pain, Matthew tells us:  There is no way to let go of pain without first embracing it and loving it—not as pain but as a sister and brother in our dialectical living of both pleasure and pain. Eros does not come without a price. Every rose has its thorns. 

One rose with many thorns. Photo by Peter Goldberg, National Museum of American History. Wikimedia Commons.

August 5, 2023.  Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh
Matthew tells us that The classical teaching about sin in the Garden of Eden is that we must resist the trinity of lust, pride, and disobedience. But, he says, What about the need for desire, for passion, for knowing what calls us and allures us, sirenlike, from our slumber? He teaches that fire is not the problem, but rather its opposite, acedia.

Banner image: Entering “nothingness” and letting it work its mystery on us. Photo by Margit Bantowsky on Unsplash

Recommended Reading

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

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.

Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology): the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
Original Blessing makes available to the Christian world and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated.” –Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story

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

Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality
Selected with an Introduction by Charles Burack

To encapsulate the life and work of Matthew Fox would be a daunting task for any save his colleague Dr. Charles Burack, who had the full cooperation of his subject. Fox has devoted 50 years to developing and teaching the tradition of Creation Spirituality and in doing so has reinvented forms of education and worship.  His more than 40 books, translated into 78 languages, are inclusive of today’s science and world spiritual traditions and have awakened millions to the much neglected earth-based mystical tradition of the West. Essential Writings begins by exploring the influences on Fox’s life and spirituality, then presents selections from all Fox’s major works in 10 sections.
“The critical insights, the creative connections, the centrality of Matthew Fox’s writings and teaching are second to none for the radical renewal of Christianity.” ~~ Richard Rohr, OFM.

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2 thoughts on “Week of 7/31-8/5/2023: The Via Negativa, Fear, Sin & Blessings”

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    Blessings of “Love~Wisdom~Peace~Justice~Healing~ONENESS… “ to all our sisters and brothers, our beautiful Sacred Mother Earth and all her living creatures & graceful abundance, and to all spirit beings in the subtle spiritual realms of our multidimensional-multiverse EVOLVING LOVING COSMOS ….

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