Week of 10/29-11/04/2023: All Saints, All Souls, & Compassion

October 29, 2023: Good News in Times of War: We Are Capable of Compassion (Aquinas)
Matthew reviews Thomas Aquinas’s definition of compassion, “To be compassionate is to have a heart that suffers from the misfortune of others because we think of it as our own,” and how “through compassion, human beings imitate God” who is “rich in compassion.” Obstacles to compassion named by Aquinas are “contempt for the wretched” or “assurance of one’s own power.” In the midst of today’s wars, one must not fall into those traps.

Imam Muhamed Herbert, resident scholar at the Islamic Center of Johnson County, Kansas.

October 30, 2023: An Imam and a Rabbi Speak Out Together on the War in Gaza
On a recent episode of NPR’s All Things Considered, two guests — Imam Mohamed Herbert of the Islamic Center of Johnson County, Kansas and Sharon Brous, a senior rabbi and founder of IKAR in Los Angeles — emphasized the need for understanding that there is pain on both sides of the war, and that there is no justification for crimes against humanity.

October 31, 2023: An Imam and Rabbi Teaching & Demonstrating Compassion, continued
Imam Mohammed Herbert and Rabbi Sharon Brous, on live radio, demonstrate compassion for each others’ peoples. Brous: I know that there is a better way for humanity that we can walk together toward peace, dignity and justice for all people. And Herbert: The real enemies of this are not the Jews or the Israelis or the Palestinians. It’s those people who have decided that violence is the only answer.

November 1, 2023: Thoughts on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day
Matthew reminds us of the importance of remembering those who have gone before, when the veil is thin between the realms of the living and the dead. He celebrates the completion of his manuscript on Père Chenu, one of his mentors and a “spiritual ancestor” who, among other things, helped re-define the concept of holiness for the 21st century.

Ancestors honored with undying love: “All Saints’ Day at a cemetery in Gniezno, Poland – flowers and candles placed to honor deceased relatives (2017)” Wikimedia Commons.

November 2, 2023: More from Chenu on Matter, Time, Space, the Cosmos
Matthew calls upon Père Chenu’s bigger-picture perspective: “The history of spirit is the history of nature. The human person is situated at the junction of these two worlds.” “The human person is entirely one with the cosmos. Human nature lives in nature; it is a microcosm of nature. The material world is not just a backdrop against which the history of peoples in their cultures as well as in their salvation and domination is played out.”

November 3, 2023: Our Nobility
Matthew asks: “Can humanity grow up and outgrow war?” and proposes that compassion is central to the next stage of human evolution. By practicing compassion, our “true nobility” emerges. Nobility is not exclusive to royalty or the “landed gentry” of a bygone era, but a dignity and worth that is inherent in each of us, and must be watered and nurtured in order to grow, beginning with children and the young, but not stopping there.


Adapted from Matthew Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice.

And Fox, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths.

Banner Image: A parade of saints looks upon “the least of these.” Photo by Viktor Talashuk on Unsplash.


Recommended Reading

A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice

In A Spirituality Named Compassion, Matthew Fox delivers a profound exploration of the meaning and practice of compassion. Establishing a spirituality for the future that promises personal, social, and global healing, Fox marries mysticism with social justice, leading the way toward a gentler and more ecological spirituality and an acceptance of our interdependence which is the substratum of all compassionate activity.
“Well worth our deepest consideration…Puts compassion into its proper focus after centuries of neglect.” –The Catholic Register

One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths

Matthew Fox calls on all the world traditions for their wisdom and their inspiration in a work that is far more than a list of theological position papers but a new way to pray—to meditate in a global spiritual context on the wisdom all our traditions share. Fox chooses 18 themes that are foundational to any spirituality and demonstrates how all the world spiritual traditions offer wisdom about each.“Reading One River, Many Wells is like entering the rich silence of a masterfully directed retreat. As you read this text, you reflect, you pray, you embrace Divinity. Truly no words can fully express my respect and awe for this magnificent contribution to contemporary spirituality.” –Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit


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2 thoughts on “Week of 10/29-11/04/2023: All Saints, All Souls, & Compassion”

  1. Avatar

    We pray for Love~Wisdom~Peace~Justice~Healing~Compassion~Joy… to increase in the hearts and lives of All our sisters and brothers around the world, especially those who are suffering and most in need…
    — Amen

    1. Avatar

      Amen. I pray for all those who are suffering, especially that they know they are not alone, and many are praying for them.

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