December 25, 2023: The Grace & Heart of Christmas, 2023
A story of Grace and Good News lies at the heart of Christmas, and it is this: The Creator chose to visit our tiny planet in human form. St. Irenaeus said: “God became a human being in order that human beings might become God.” This Great Mystery we call God had humble beginnings on Earth, but he grew into a parable-teller who spoke directly to the hearts of ordinary and oppressed peoples under the yoke of an occupying empire. And he took on that empire, proposing that a “kingdom/queendom of God” displace it, beginning in the hearts of humans. Within our hearts reign humanity’s capacity for love and compassion, justice and forgiveness.
December 26, 2023: Christmas, Grace & the Divine Life Inside Us & Our Actions
Thomas Aquinas said, “The Son of God became human in order that humans might become gods and become the children of God.” And in 2 Peter: 1-4, we read: The Incarnation accomplished the following: That God became human and that humans became God and shared in the divine nature. Matthew teaches that “this kind of grace means we carry the divine life within ourselves.” God became human in order that humans might learn compassion. Jesus taught us: “Be you compassionate as your Father in Heaven is compassionate.” (Lk 6:36)
December 27, 2023: Further Meditations on Grace, Christmas & Divinity Visiting Earth
The Creator God is not distant or impersonal, but very eager to dwell among humans. We are curious about UFOs and other forms of intelligent life visiting planet Earth, as well we should be. But what about the Maker of the Cosmos and the Great Mystery visiting Earth as well? Is there evidence that God truly visits the Earth? The Christmas story is still happening. As Père Chenu puts it, the incarnation is a “continuous incarnation” just as creation is a “continuous creation.”
December 28, 2023: Evidence of Divinity Visiting the Earth: Humans at Work
In yesterday’s DM we asked the questions: Is there evidence that God truly visits the Earth? And, do you sense that the essence, power and activity of humans have become divinized? We are aware of what is wrong on the planet, but when we look closer we also find examples of holiness. And wherever there is holiness, there is God at work. We can find this holiness wherever human beings care for their loved ones, for the Earth, or for any of our planet’s residents. Humans engaged in good work are humans engaged in the sharing of grace.
December 29, 2023: Grace & the Reinvention of Work, continued
The beauty of the human spirit is showing up in Iran, where the owner of a fish market began dancing and singing a folk song outside his place of business—in direct violation of a 45-year-old Iranian law. So, why did he do it? He wanted to spread happiness. Two things resulted in his act of joyous rebellion: 1) His Instagram went viral and people all over the country began dancing and singing–in parks and gyms, malls and streets and classrooms. 2) The government cracked down, arresting and beating the men who were singing and clapping with him, and shutting down his Instagram account. But the people rebeled and the “happiness campaign” was born. The government, miraculously, backed down. Sadegh “Booghy” Bough now has 1.2 million followers.
December 30, 2023: Kurt Vonnegut to Teenagers: How to Grow the Soul via Art as Meditation
An English teacher asked her students to write to a famous author, asking for advice. Only one author responded: Kurt Vonnegut. Matthew shares his beautiful response in which he encourages the students to Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow. He continues: Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. He also encourages them to write a six-line rhyming poem, and to “make it as good as you possibly can,” but not to show it to anyone. He tells them that as a result of this, they will discover “a lot more about what’s inside” and they will have “made their soul grow.”
Banner image: Both Divinity and Creativity come in many forms. “Kwegu Mother” in Ethiopia. Photo by Rod Waddington on Flickr.
Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet
Because creativity is the key to both our genius and beauty as a species but also to our capacity for evil, we need to teach creativity and to teach ways of steering this God-like power in directions that promote love of life (biophilia) and not love of death (necrophilia). Pushing well beyond the bounds of conventional Christian doctrine, Fox’s focus on creativity attempts nothing less than to shape a new ethic.
“Matt Fox is a pilgrim who seeks a path into the church of tomorrow. Countless numbers will be happy to follow his lead.” –Bishop John Shelby Spong, author, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Living in Sin
The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood For Our Time
Thomas Aquinas said, “To live well is to work well,” and in this bold call for the revitalization of daily work, Fox shares his vision of a world where our personal and professional lives are celebrated in harmony–a world where the self is not sacrificed for a job but is sanctified by authentic “soul work.”
“Fox approaches the level of poetry in describing the reciprocity that must be present between one’s inner and outer work…[A]n important road map to social change.” ~~ National Catholic Reporter