Another reason why the Cosmos is on my mind lately is that, as I shared in my class with Brian Swimme recently, Rabbi Heschel makes clear that the wonder that lies at the heart of an awakened spiritual consciousness, comes from an encounter with the universe and its grandeur.
Another reason is that Père Chenu, who is a great historian of the Middle Ages in particular, tells us that it was the rediscovery of nature that birthed the great 12th century renaissance that was a “spiritual revolution” as well as a cultural awakening. It gave us the “joy of St. Francis” that birthed a “new civilization” thanks also to St. Dominic and Thomas Aquinas.*
In our time, a new rediscovery of nature is at hand, thanks to the new cosmology. India’s recent successful landing on the Moon is one more example of this noospheric reality.
This is why science awakening spirituality, and spirituality grounding in science, is so vital to our survival at this time. Homo sapiens has become a “force” on this plane—as Brian Swimme puts it—and humanity must come of age. Finally.
We can choose to be a force for knowledge and praise and celebration of the universe. And of wisdom and love for future generations.
Or we can choose to be a force for destroying ourselves, millions of other species, and the earth as we know it. Clearly, climate change is instructing us that we are currently on the latter path (last night a billionaire presidential candidate shouted that “climate change is a hoax”).
We can move from adolescent rebellion (war and “defense” budgets aimed at one another as starters) to co-operation and the inner work that will defend the planet from ourselves, including from our own powers of self-hatred and projection manifested in racism, sexism, colonialism, fascism, perverted versions of masculinity, rationalistic education in flight from intuition, mysticism, wisdom and the divine feminine.
*This is laid out in Chenu’s iconic book, Nature, Man and Society in the 12th Century published in French in 1957 and in English by the University of Chicago Press in 1968.
See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society.
And Fox, The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human.
Banner Image: A Renaissance conception of the “Macrocosm and Microcosm”, as shown in an engraving attached to Basilica Philosophica, third volume of Johann Daniel Mylius’ Opus Medico-Chymicum. Engraving by Matthäus Merian, 1618. Wikimedia Commons.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you agree that inner work is required to defend the planet from ourselves? And that modern education is in flight from intuition, mysticism, wisdom and the divine feminine?
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
The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human
The A.W.E. Project reminds us that awe is the appropriate response to the unfathomable wonder that is creation… A.W.E. is also the acronym for Fox’s proposed style of learning – an approach to balance the three R’s. This approach to learning, eldering, and mentoring is intelligent enough to honor the teachings of the Ancestors, to nurture Wisdom in addition to imparting knowledge, and to Educate through Fox’s 10 C’s. The 10 C’s are the core of the A.W.E. philosophy and process of education, and include: compassion, contemplation, and creativity. The A.W.E. Project does for the vast subject of “learning” what Fox’s Reinvention of Work did for vocation and Original Blessing did for theology. Included in the book is a dvd of the 10 C’s put to 10 video raps created and performed by Professor Pitt.
“An awe-based vision of educational renewal.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.