Week of 11/13-18/2023: Coming Together in Compassion for Our Common Survival

November 13, 2023: A Big Lesson from Iceland on Moving Beyond War
Matthew’s brother is married to an Icelandic artist. As the entire town of Grindavik was evacuated, his brother wrote one thing that especially moved Matthew: The one thing that is absolutely sure is that at a time like this, all Icelanders get together and open themselves to each other, offering places to stay and food for collection sites. As Anna says, the normal bickering of all about anything is stopped at a time like this, and all are pulling for all. How can we stop the bickering and the wars on this planet? Could climate change be the emergency that brings us all together?

An explanation of the sudden acceleration of geologic activity under Iceland. Video by GeologyHub. 

November 14, 2023: From Bickering and War to Common Work and Common Survival
What gets humans to put aside our agendas, and the bickering that goes with them, and to work together on a common project?  TThe word “community” comes from cum-munio in Latin.  Can humanity become a single community? Matthew recalls when he was in his first semester of college in Iowa and a huge storm caused the river to rise quickly. All other projects and any perceived differences were put aside as people from various seminaries and all ages worked together to fill sandbags and save the town. Survival trumps all.

November 15, 2023: Cataclysms and Rediscovering Life, Nature, and Creation
As we explore how we can come together over a common cause and cease our constant fighting, we recall the words of French playwright Antonin Artaud, who said: “It is right that from time to time cataclysms occur which compel us to return to nature, i.e., to rediscover life.” Creation spirituality is all about rediscovering life. Nature. Cosmos. Will extinction staring us in the face cause us to pull together and remember the importance of Life?

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow.” Poppies growing in the WWI battlefields of Flanders, Belgium, where a million soldiers from more than 50 different countries were wounded, missing or killed in action. Photo by Tijl Vercaemer from Gent, Flanders, on Wikimedia Commons.

November 16, 2023: Keeping–and Not Keeping–the People Informed about Mother Earth
Matthew reminds us that to rediscover life means to not take it for granted. Not the Earth.  Not our relations with all other creatures with whom we are utterly interdependent and all other humans with whom, whether we agree with them or not, we need to co-survive. Expert geologists are doing a great job of keeping Icelanders informed of the status of the potential volcanic explosion. But is the media in America keeping us informed of what is coming next to Mother Earth with regard to climate change? It seems creation spirituality is demanded of all citizens today–including all journalists, news broadcasters and hosts of presidential debates.  

November 17, 2023: Replacing Dualism & War with Non-dualism, Interdependence, Compassion
Dualism is the basis of all war. Subject/object and either/or thinking are necessary for carrying on wars. On the other hand, non-dualism is evident in mysticism and interdependence. Julian of Norwich coined the term “one-ing.” How keen is our awareness of the interdependence of all beings? Isn’t that at the heart of ecological awareness? Hildegard of Bingen said: Everything that is in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth is penetrated with connectedness, penetrated with relatedness. How can we nourish this beautiful non-dualistic approach to life?

“Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Dove of the Holy Spirit (alabaster stained glass,
Chair of Saint Peter, Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City), ca. 1660.” Wikimedia Commons

November 18, 2023: The Mystics on Justice, the Holy Spirit, & Compassion
In the prophetic tradition of Israel, justice and compassion go together. “Compassion means justice,” Eckhart reminds us. And Mechtild of Magdeburg said: Justice demands that we seek and find the stranger, the broken, the prisoner and comfort them and offer them our help. Here lies the holy compassion of God. Compassion is also the work of the Holy Spirit. Mechtild also said: The Holy Spirit is a compassionate outpouring of the Creator and the Son. This is why when we on earth pour out compassion and mercy from the depths of our hearts and give to the poor and dedicate our bodies to the service of the broken, to that extent do we resemble the Holy Spirit.


Banner image: The image, taken from a vantage point one million miles from Earth, was one of the first taken by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC). NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Flickr.


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

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4 thoughts on “Week of 11/13-18/2023: Coming Together in Compassion for Our Common Survival”

  1. Avatar

    May God’s Spirit of Love, Wisdom, Peace, Justice, Healing, Transformation, Joy, Compassion,…
    continue growing in the hearts and lives of All our sisters & brothers around the world in LOVING DIVERSE WHOLENESS~ONENESS in the Sacred Process of the ETERNAL PRESENT MOMENT….
    — Amen

    1. Avatar

      The world it is observable is coming together in its dualistic injustices. The Russian, Ukraine War, The Israeli War and the global injustice of the environment. We all are in need of a common enemy that is overwhelming in our concern. The environment is just that. We have the ability to feed everyone and because we all participate, without exception in the injustices of the Cosmos we need unconditional forgiveness for ourselves and others. This is required as Food and Forgiveness and the invisible Spirit of global consciousness of interdependence to Renew the Face of the Earth.

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