In our last DM, we celebrated Aquinas’s teaching that joy is born of love, and that “the only person who truly has joy is one who lives in love.” And how such joy and love is deeper than even our suffering and sorrow. It keeps us going when times are difficult, and injustice seems to be prevailing.
We also celebrated the teaching of Terry Tempest Williams that the birds sing at dawn and at dusk to remind us of “that the world is meant to be celebrated.”
This affirms Rabbi Heschel’s teaching that “when we sing, we sing for all things,” and that “joy lies at the very heart of worship.”
And that God is not only the Creator of earth and heaven but is also the One ‘who created delight and Joy’…Even lowly merriment has its ultimate origin in holiness. The fire of evil can be better fought with flames of ecstasy, than through fasting and mortification.
Is it true or even possible that lowly merriment has its ultimate origin in holiness? Is joy a sign of holiness therefore?
Is it also true that “the fire of evil” is best fought “with flames of ecstasy”?
Joy, Justice, and justice-making go together. Justice and the struggle against injustice, whether that be eco, racial, gender, gender preference, social or economic injustice—all of it is to bring balance back, so that joy flows more freely.
The poet Rilke says we “do justice only where we praise.” In this way he is linking justice and joy.
Eckhart does the same when he says “what happens to another, whether it be joy or sorrow, happens to me.” Interdependence, and therefore compassion, are being named here.
We do justice in order to render joy possible and more present. And the joy we undergo empowers us in the struggle for justice, and keeps us going as source and goal.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality, pp. 118, 433, 116.
And Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom For Hard Times, pp. 36-38.
And Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth, pp. 18-26.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE
Banner Image: Birds await the dawn. Photo by Alek Newton on Unsplash.
Queries for Contemplation
What examples can you give of the fire of evil being best fought with flames of ecstasy? Do you agree with Rilke that “we do justice only where we praise?” What examples can you give of that?
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
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
Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth
Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.