Speaking of Grace, So Many Gifts, So Many Graces

I am writing this DM on the winter solstice, 2023, which is also my 83rd birthday.  Yesterday we introduced the topic of “grace” responding to a request by a reader. 

The glory of everyday beauty: golden sunsets and a happy dog. Photo by Cynthia Greb, used with permission.

I feel deeply, as an elder, human being, and a priest for 56 years, that life is a grace. A gift. Gratuitous. Glorious, that is filled with glory or doxa which is also a sign of the Cosmic Christ in our midst and in our minds, hearts, actions and in the universe at large. All two trillion galaxies of it, each with hundreds of billions of stars.

The Earth is a grace. And all its wonders and beauties, from coral reefs to wondrous fishes, from stunning mountains pointing to the stars, to bees and dragonflies, soaring eagles and flying hawks, multiple colors and shapes, sunlight and shade, dogs and bears, horses, giraffes, lions, tigers, elephants, whales and rainforests. So many gifts, so many graces.

“Nature is grace” said Meister Eckhart and he is right. To be, and to be alive, and to join this 13.8-billion-year caravan of history is a grace. “It has been a privilege” Rabbi Zalman Schachter said shortly before he died just short of his 90th birthday.

Koh Lipe in Thailand is full of corals like this, reports the photographer. Photo by Milos Prelevic on Unsplash

And the people—so many gifts and so many graces. My teachers from grade school to graduate school, with a special shout-out to Père Chenu, who named the creation spirituality tradition for me in Spring 1968, and about whom I am finishing a book. 

Family, friends, fellow teachers–including indigenous teachers and leaders of ceremonies–and those I have worked with to make liturgy happen with Cosmic Masses in new, fresh, bodily, ancient and post-modern ways. Students and co-workers who rendered programs, schools, workshops to happen.

The wondrous exchange between teachers and students. A grace. And between mystic-prophets of old and seekers today.

So many gifts, so many graces. 

See Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings & Meditations

And Fox, Original Blessing.And Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth.

Banner image: Matthew Fox joins ministers across traditions to celebrate the Eucharist at a Cosmic Mass. Photo by Katy Gaughan, National Cathedral. Published with permission.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you feel, with all its pain and sufferings, life is a grace and a privilege?  How do you share that conviction with others?  How do you see that mirrored in others’ lives?

Recommended Reading

Christian Mystics: 365 Readings & Meditations

As Matthew Fox notes, when an aging Albert Einstein was asked if he had any regrets, he replied, “I wish I had read more of the mystics earlier in my life.” The 365 writings in Christian Mystics represent a wide-ranging sampling of these readings for modern-day seekers of all faiths — or no faith. The visionaries quoted range from Julian of Norwich to Martin Luther King, Jr., from Thomas Merton to Dorothee Soelle and Thomas Berry.
“Our world is in crisis, and we need road maps that can ground us in wisdom, inspire us to action, and help us gather our talents in service of compassion and justice.  This revolutionary book does just that.  Matthew Fox takes some of the most profound spiritual teachings of the West and translates them into practical daily mediations.  Study and practice these teachings.  Take what’s in this book and teach it to the youth because the new generation cannot afford to suffer the spirit and ethical illiteracy of the past.” — Adam Bucko, spiritual activist and co-founder of the Reciprocity Foundation for Homeless Youth.

Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology): the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
Original Blessing makes available to the Christian world and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated.” –Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story

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18 thoughts on “Speaking of Grace, So Many Gifts, So Many Graces”

  1. Avatar

    I consider grace to be the most beautiful word in the English language, together with gratitude and graciousness. I have have just had my life story published, drawing on memories and journals written over close to 50 years . I entitled the book, ‘Graced Beyond Telling: A Soul’s Dark Journey’. Writing this has been one of the most rewarding things I have done, harvesting a lifetime of graced moments and the wisdom arising from them.
    Thank you, Matthew, for taking up this theme in your Daily Meditations.
    I am looking forward to your book on Pere Chenu. More rich soul food!
    Many blessing as we celebrate anew the birth of the Word-become-Flesh 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, and in every human being born into this world.

  2. Avatar

    Inbetween The Notes Of Grace

    Inbetween the notes of grace
    breathing becomes shallow
    prayer a whispered sigh
    with words unspoken.

    Inbetween the notes of grace
    awaiting a touch of light
    I try to remember how to
    unclench my aching heart.

    Inbetween the notes of grace
    I cannot turn away from the sacred
    that is being violently terrorized
    the innocent one’s victimized.

    Inbetween the notes of grace
    knowing suffering is unfolding for many
    celebration becomes moments of reprieve
    searching for ways to ease the heartbreak.

    Inbetween the notes of grace
    embracing the sacred silence
    held in the stillness of the wintery night
    Mother Earth offers a moment of peace.

  3. Avatar

    I was let out of the hospital this week after a 9 week stay. I had Covid and Pneumonia of a serious sort. There was pain and suffering of body and mind. Through the Grace of God and a strong unrelenting faith, my eternal spirit remained strong as my faith was tested. It was especially difficult when intubated (oxygen tubes down throat) for 8 days. This was life support as I could not breathe suffiently on my own. I never once thought of dying. Grace was by my bedside in the form of the medical team and staff, family, friends and prayer groups. I had to surrender and let “Grace” take control. Grace will never fail us. — BB.

  4. Avatar

    Happiest birthday dear teacher! How very much I’ve learned from you even though we’ve never met! So grateful for all the grace and glory of this amazing world!

  5. Avatar

    Happy Birthday, Matthew, and thank you for the grace you bring into the world with your writing, your presence, the Cosmic Masses (I attended one at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco — an experience that I will never forget), and the joy and strength that you have brought into my life.

    Yes, I do believe that life is a grace and privilege. ????

  6. Avatar

    Birthday blessings of Grace and Peace to you Matthew. I return to you the picture of “everyday beauty” in today’s Meditations as a beautiful gift to all of us – especially the “happy dog”……
    Thank you for all the graciousness.
    Margaret Nuccio

  7. Avatar

    Dear Matthew
    I wish you every grace and blessing on your birthday. You have graciously channeled wisdom and light across time and space for many decades. The biblical promise that ‘darkness won’t overcome the light’ is consoling in these dystopian days. People like you remind us that we are all made of stardust, born to shine the light of love, truth and justice.

  8. Avatar

    Happy Birthday Matthew and thank you for renewing my spiritual journey. I experience grace every time I read your meditations. Your books have opened a wonderful path for me to follow. Blessings.

  9. Avatar

    Your book “Whee, Wee, We All the Way Home” was very future focused in the late 1970s. I don’t have a copy anymore! Can you comment on it?
    I first met you, Matthew, when yo conducted a retreat for religious educators in Minneapolis St Paul.

    1. Avatar

      I agree with you Bill. Happily, I still have my copy of Wee, Wee, All the Way Home. I remember how impressed I was by the theme and its spirited presentation.

  10. Avatar

    When my sister died at the age of 36, I truly realized that every year I lived past that was a privilege, a gift of something extra, a bonus year. This realization didn’t always remain in focus, of course. Many harsh difficulties challenged me since then, not least of which was losing my hearing due to menieres spectrum/cochlear hydrops. This is a devastation, but several people close to me have also suffered tremendously and faced their troubles with amazing courage.
    But they, too, sometimes feel overwhelmed. We give each other love and encouragement, be with each other in our pain and sorrow, help lift each other on our down days, and share humor and hugs — all freely given, grace. This isn’t a “work” or an effort: it’s a privilege to be a part of a living network of caring and love.
    And we are all privileged to be within God’s circle of grace.

  11. Avatar

    Happy Birthday,Matthew. I am so blessed to be in your circle of light. I am so graced to know you as teacher,mystic and prophet. May your years be blessed in the light, love and light of Spirit.n

  12. Avatar

    This glorious life has given itself to us from the beginning of the time. I pray with all my heart that I may give in my lifetime the biggest portion of my self back to this life,
    to others, for all the love and goodness I have received. Please Life teach me how to do it. Teach me how to be like you. Teach me how to give. Teach me how to live. Teach me how to love. Let me take nothing for granted.
    Happy Birthday Dear Matthew. I hope you have many many more!!! You have been a blessing and a grace in my life and in the lives of so many. You have given us so much of yourself. Thank you so very much.
    God be with you and may God show you how much you are loved.
    Merry Christmas everyone!
    Hope you have a full recovery Bill Barlett. And for all who read your Daily Meditation may grace fill your heart with goodness. Marcus Aurelius said the task of our life is to be good. May goodness flow through all of us into our world.

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