We have been meditating on Grace lately. Such meditations are very worthwhile, especially when ongoing wars in the Ukraine, Middle East, Sudan—display not our “better angels” but our darkest ones. 

Another Dance in Protest: A Russian ballerina dances a scene from Swan Lake on the frozen Gulf of Finland, to protest the planned construction of a port at a popular beach, hoping to protect the natural wildlife there — including real swans. Video by BBC News. 

We considered the grace of a 70-year-old fish seller in a market in Iran who invited people to sing and dance, and initially paid a price for it (along with young men who sang and danced in response to him). The fish seller was eventually released from police custody, because so many of his countrymen and women joined in the dance and joyful protest.

We have shared a letter from Kurt Vonnegut encouraging young people to practice art as meditation, in order to get to know themselves more deeply. We all have creativity and powers of self-expression within us—and art allows us to get in touch with and share grace that way.

Karl Rahner in 1974. Photo by Jesromtel. Wikimedia Commons.

We heard Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner equate grace and Christmas, the Incarnation story being a story of pure Grace. And we heard Dominican theologian M. D. Chenu celebrate a “continuous creation” and a “continuous incarnation”, all of it filled with grace. 

Rahner reminds us that Grace “divinizes the essence, powers and activity of humans.” Is that a possibility—still—for our species, as we enter a New Year fraught with many challenges, including the ongoing wars alluded to above; the ultimate war against Mother Earth; and so much else?

Maybe as a New Year resolution we can all commit to calling in Grace, and awakening one another to the divinity lurking in all of us. 

Stars in the Sagittarius constellation, as captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. The color of a star can reveal many of its secrets. Photo by ESA/Hubble & NASA. Wikimedia Commons.

In the midst of many troubles, our species is also achieving a new understanding of creation and this unique planet that has birthed us into this graced universe of two trillion galaxies, all of which we learn more about daily.   

Let us begin this New Year with that perspective and move forward from it. The universe is a blessing and bestower of grace. An Original Blessing, an Original Grace. It is a privilege to be here.

See Matthew Fox, Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality.

 For the video, see: Oversized Ancient Galaxy Isn’t What Astronomers First Thought

Banner Image: Art as Meditation, as depicted in the “Kingdom of the Shades” scene from Marius Petipa’s La Bayadère. A hypnotic vision of a peaceful nirvana, dance critics have written, “it seems to go on forever, and very nearly does.” Photo of the Polish National Ballet by Ewa Krasucka. Wikimedia Commons. 

Te read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s Monday video teaching above, click HERE.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you recognize your existence and the universe and  Earth as an Original Blessing and an Original Grace? What follows from that? How can that perspective alter the way we humans interact with one another and Mother Earth and future generations?

Recommended Reading

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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13 thoughts on “Can Grace Mark this New Year, 2024?”

  1. Avatar

    When we interpret the word Grace and use Life we better understand what Mary was full of. Life is a Cosmic inclusion of all matter as interdependent. Its complexity is evolving towards the Omega point of the fullness of life, we all yearn for.

  2. Avatar

    Yes Matthew, Our Existence as Eternal Souls, Our Sacred Mother Earth with all Her creatures and graceful abundance, and ALL Our Beloved SOURCE~CO-CREATOR’S Sacred multidimensional-multiverse EVOLVING LOVING COSMOS are Beautiful Mysterious Ongoing Graces~Blessings within and among Us in Loving Diverse ONENESS in the Sacred Process of the ETERNAL PRESENT MOMENT… COSMIC CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS….

  3. Avatar

    Grace, to me, is the unexpected -love – that cannot be destroyed – whether by human wars or galaxy collisions (which I don’t perceive as peaceful). So of course 2024 CAN be marked by grace!

    I do recognize the universe and Earth as blessings beyond words. My existence CAN be a grace – if I choose so and try to act accordingly.

    What follows is hope, and a need for encouragement. Thank you for reminding us with Julian of Norwich that “we’ve been loved from before the beginning”. Have a blessed year!

    1. Avatar

      “we have been loved from the beginning”
      Reminds me of my poem WAITING

      In the fullness of time
      she waits
      watching for signs
      knowing it is time
      Her eyes scan the strange
      stomach stretched large
      into life
      Her fingers gently trace
      limbs straining their
      tight swaddling of flesh
      World noises mingle then
      wither away
      She turns inward
      she spins her own
      cavernous space
      it echoes with sounds of
      the whole human race
      In stillness she waits
      a handmaid of time
      The whole cosmos waits
      Who is it this time?
      I love you small stranger
      I love you my Self
      this whole swollen body
      is broken for you
      Life stirs within while
      Death holds her hand

  4. Avatar

    I love the image of “the empty chair.” I am here. You who are reading this, are here. We are able to “sit in a chair” while so many thousands of spirits have not been blessed with existence. My existence is a blessing not afforded to thousands, perhaps billions, of spirits. So whatever happens in my life, I have been blessed with an incarnation many have not been blessed with. If I approach the new year remembering that, every moment becomes an incredible blessing. A parallel image that some have offered is that the angels themselves covet our existence. They are unable to feel the chill of a bare foot in snow, taste the sweetness of a summer peach, experience the grief that comes when a friend dies. These we can do and feel. Again, if we reflect on the grace of these experiences, every incident becomes a wonder.

  5. Avatar

    “Maybe as a New Year resolution we can all commit to calling in Grace, and awakening one another to the divinity lurking in all of us” – love it

  6. Avatar
    Bertina Povenmire

    Thank you Mathew Fox. Now there is a preacher after my own heart: start the year with a ballet. Forget about all the talking. Dance and sing, make music! I’ve never believed in god, but for the first time, I see that maybe we can finally make one, and do it right this time.

    I’m looking for the place to donate. Happy New Year Mathew and all your followers and non-followers too! We can’t be happy unless everyone is happy!

  7. Avatar

    We carry the instinct for spiritual wonder enfolded within us, as well as a deep gut-level certainty of our home, our source and sustenance, in the transcendent non-dualistic One that shimmers on the edges of our awareness. We hear its call beckoning to our attention from every plant, rock, star and ocean, from every tree and bug and infant giggle, from every voice lifted in praise and prayer to God, and even tucked within every lament and groan of sorrow. We hear it all the way down to the core of our human awareness.

    This Divine-Spirit cradles our souls and whispers its wisdom into every moment of human life, regardless of whether we pay attention or turn away to fight against it. We are born of this Spirit, knitted from it, intertwined with everyone and everything else within it, all created and sustained by it.
    Our souls carry the imprint of that which mystics give voice to, the knowledge hidden deep but never entirely forgotten because every-one and every-thing shimmers with it. We sense it happily, if imperfectly. Like a seedling turning to the sun, we turn laser-focused to whispers of the mystical transcendent message, yearning for more of the sacred waters that nourish and sustain our souls. We hear the song of our deep God- graced Unity, and we respond, recognizing with joy the Truth we were created to resonate with.

    1. Avatar

      Melinda, thank you for your most beautiful words of wisdom that you have graced us with in today’s DM!

      Today as I closed my eyes listening to Mathew deliver his words; I saw the image of a Circle transforming into the image of an Infinity Loop. Then I heard the words… at that sacred moment when the egg within the Divine Feminine was imploded with the seed of the Divine Masculine… and the inhale met the exhale… and the Great Spirit embraced the Great Mystery… there was an orgasmic explosion that birthed forth the Divine Union of this Sacred Dream into reality.

      This consisted of the manifestation of the Mystery of Spirit into Matter within the tonal/natural dream, the personal dream of each created being that exists, all a part of the collective dream, the universal dream and the cosmic dream… all One dream reality carrying forth the expansion of unlimited, infinite potential.

      This Divine Mystery continously unfolds, evolves and emerges within the Great Webb of Life, as the living essence and presence of Spirit converges with the sacredness, beauty and goodness inherent within all matter… all interconnected, interreliant and interdependently unified… all that exists, choreographed and designly weaved together into intricate patterns of harmonious balance and wholeness.

  8. Avatar

    After reading through the comments I was uplifted to new insights and images that are truly those that should be included in the Eucharistic liturgy voiced aloud by women and men in unison. Beautiful! Beautiful! Thank you!

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