Aquinas’s Invite to Get Drunk on Cosmic Awareness & Beauty

In yesterday’s DM we spoke of reintroducing a sense of the cosmos.  To say that we need to “reintroduce” is to say that we have lost the cosmos.  And we have. 

A redwood in the National Redwood Forest: an awe-inspiring elder being, a living ecosystem, a climate-saving carbon sink — or ~$700K in lumber? Photo by Michael Bryant on Unsplash

The modern era, the industrial mind, so preoccupied with ourselves (Descartes: “I think therefore I am”), so narcissistic (Pope Francis’s words), is learning the hard way—from climate change and all the threats that come with it—that we have been ignoring the larger picture, the universe that made us and makes us daily.

Thomas Aquinas, a premodern thinker who has much in common with indigenous wisdom, knew this because he celebrates, first and foremost, our relationship to the cosmos.  This in turn elicits joy and ecstasy, as he says, citing the psalmist: “’They shall be drunk with the beauty of thy house’ — that is, the Universe.”

The universe elicits love and ecstasy, wonder and drunkenness. Isn’t that what the Webb Telescope is feeding us with today?

The Pillars of Creation, where young stars are forming, set off in NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s near-infrared-light view. Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI; Joseph DePasquale (STScI), Anton M. Koekemoer (STScI), Alyssa Pagan (STScI).

Indeed, Aquinas reminds us that the cosmos is more excellent than human beings:

God has produced a work in which the likeness of God is clearly reflected—that is, the world itself.

We, hopefully, reflect the likeness of God—but the world itself has been doing it for 13.8 billion years. 

Our greatness as a species, he declares, is that we are capax universi, “capable of the universe.”

What an eye-opener and game-changer this is!  Aquinas is urging humans to get beyond our own hurts and wounds and petty agendas and look at the big picture.

Our bigness of mind, our vastness of intellect and imagination, all urge us to look out into a world so much larger than ourselves.  It is not enough to live in the worlds we make.  We need to consider the world that makes us.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, pp. 21, 9. 

Also see Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality, pp. 21, 158, 124.

Banner Image: The glittering, glitzy contents of the globular cluster NGC 6652 sparkle in our own Milky Way galaxy in the constellation Sagittarius, just under 30,000 light-years from Earth and only 6,500 light-years from the galactic center. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Sarajedini, G. Piotto.

Queries for Contemplation

Have you gotten drunk on the beauty of the universe?  When was that?  What difference did it make?

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

Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox renders Thomas Aquinas accessible by interviewing him and thus descholasticizing him.  He also translated many of his works such as Biblical commentaries never before in English (or Italian or German of French).  He  gives Aquinas a forum so that he can be heard in our own time. He presents Thomas Aquinas entirely in his own words, but in a form designed to allow late 20th-century minds and hearts to hear him in a fresh way. 
“The teaching of Aquinas comes through will a fullness and an insight that has never been present in English before and [with] a vital message for the world today.” ~ Fr. Bede Griffiths (Afterword).
Foreword by Rupert Sheldrake

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

Share this meditation


Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox is made possible through the generosity of donors. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation

Search Meditations





Receive our daily meditations

7 thoughts on “Aquinas’s Invite to Get Drunk on Cosmic Awareness & Beauty”

  1. Avatar

    Yes! Drunk on the cosmos and reeling from the beauty of it again and again. Through the sight and scent of a rose, the sound of birdsong, the feeling of dew on the grass on my feet, gazing upon the moon, the clouds and the stars. And next year visiting a tree the other side of the world because hearing his name made me weep. Tane Mahuta is teaching me so many things as I approach him and his people – human and arboreal. God is great ????????

  2. Avatar

    Awareness in and by itself is limitless and has no exacting physical measure other than one’s own consciousness and unconsciousness. When we are aware, we just experience ‘what be’ as we ‘just be’. ‘What be’ and ‘just be’ are always in harmony no matter how chaotic and how erratic our response to ‘the moment’ might be. Our journey to soul consciousness takes us on a path to enrich our ‘what be’ and its counterpart ‘just be’. We don’t perceive the Divine realm when we only care to see ‘Royalty’ and all of its trappings, in the physical realm. We are only choosing to live in one realm of our existence, are we not?
    If we are to experience ‘the present moment’ then with any degree of depth, we must see with the ‘immortal eye’, do we not?
    Our present journey then is to train us, to take us into a deeper experience of the Divine flow where the expressions of love, truth, joy, peace are unabated by our picking, choosing, judging and regretting. “What be’ and ‘just be’, in all their wholeness and holiness, reside fully and completely in the Divine flow, the Divine realm. The depth then of our ‘present moment’ resides in letting the Creator fully resolve, absolve, our past and have complete faith and trust in the future. And the future does not reside in the physical realm. Are we not listening? Heaven is the field that we are ‘cultivating’ today and not a future reward for good behaviour, in some faraway place. — BB.

  3. Avatar

    When did I last get drunk on the beauty of the Universe? Right now in reading your reflections Matthew on Thomas Aquinas, and the Webb Telescope.
    “What an eye-opener and game-changer this is! Aquinas is urging humans to get beyond our own hurts and wounds and petty agendas and look at the big picture.”

    Our bigness of mind, our vastness of intellect and imagination, all urge us to look out into a world so much larger than ourselves. It is not enough to live in the worlds we make. We need to consider the world that makes us.”

    My heart is dancing. What a beautiful message! You brought me home once again to the place I can create and be in love with the Universe. I am loved and I want to share my love. I’m so tired of petty agendas.
    Last night under the Full moon I was laughing with the Moon. She had such a big smile on her face and was radiating joy not worry or obsession. Using Matthew’s words,
    The Moon was “an eye opener and game changer!!” She reminded me to do this…
    in the words of Thomas Merton to
    “forget myself on purpose and join in the general dance.”
    This morning Matthew is in encouraging us to do exactly the same thing.
    I am dancing with you in the cosmic dance. We are dancing with the Lord of the Universe in all the beauty that surrounds us. Let us offer Her peace and joy and hope to others remembering even when evil or sin pervades there is only one way up!

    1. Avatar

      JoAnn… I too, in the wee hours of the indigo night… drank in the beauty of the Blue Moon, something we won’t see for another 60 years. I was also awe struck, by the brightness of the radiant light of the Venus Morning Star, arising on the horizon.

      These are two sacred reflections, that have for centuries, mirrored the Divine Feminine. Opening my heart, I thought of all the women throughout the ages… who have ceremonially celebrated this relationship with the Cosmos… dancing, singing, and drumming… to the sacred cyclic rhythms of the moon… and whose hearts were opened to the light of love arising from within, at the dawning of each new day… ritually embodying the essence and presence of the Spirit of the Goddess Venus.

      I sensed the threads of these ancient bonds, that throughout all time have continously woven women together into circles of wise womens ways. I sensed the mystery of the Cosmos, calling us all home… unto the beauty of our true Sacred and Divine Soul Self.

  4. Avatar

    With the Grace of our Beloved Mother~Father Creator~Source I am still awakening in Consciousness to the Beauty, Joy, Sacredness and LOVE of Our Unique Eternal Souls within, through, and among Us in our Hearts, our Compassionate relationships with one another, with Sacred Mother Nature and all her creatures & graceful abundance, and with-in All Sacred physical-nonphysical spiritual multidimensions-multiverse diverse WHOLENESS~ONENESS COSMOS in the LOVING Sacredness of the ETERNAL PRESENT MOMENT….

  5. Avatar

    Thank you Matthew for a soul stirring meditation today.
    A small verse from this stirring soul —Ocean Remembered. I still can see the shoreline, and hear the seagulls cry. Far off where blue meets blue, I see the ships go by.
    I still can see the rocks and sand, and smell the foamy brine. I can feel the blue cold spray, and I’m drunk with Ocean wine…
    Blessings and gratitude to all,

Leave a Comment

To help moderate the volume of responses, the Comment field is limited to 1500 characters (roughly 300 words), with one comment per person per day.

Please keep your comments focused on the topic of the day's Meditation.

As always, we look forward to your comments!!
The Daily Meditation Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join us in meditation that supports your compassionate action

Receive Matthew Fox's Daily Meditation by subscribing below: