A Revised “Hail Mary” & A New Cosmology Banish Despair

We have proposed a new Hail Mary prayer that is also a more ancient one:

“Blessed is the fruit of your womb! – Virgin Mary and St. Elizabeth.” Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew on Flickr.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with you, untroubled maiden.
You are blessed among women,
you who brought forth peace to people
and glory to the angels.
Blessed too is the fruit of your womb,
who by grace made it possible for us to be his heirs.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us heirs
and co-workers of God at the hour of our creativity.  

Also in yesterday’s DM, I alluded to the important study by Jean Delumeau on the emergence of a Guilt Culture in the West that culminated in the 16th century.  He believes Protestantism upped the ante on despair:  

In its sixteenth-century form, the doctrine of justification by faith thus represents the logical (although extreme) end of the long and desolate road through pessimism.  Incessantly repeated for more than a thousand years, the affirmation of the world’s fragility, of its vice and its vanity, reached a vast audience.  Man was but ‘dung’ and ‘filth’—no wonder the result was despair.

“Virgin Mary.” Statue by Claus Berg, ca. 1520. Photo by Jens Cederskjold on Flickr.

John Calvin says, “Life in this world is…. totally wretched. Nowhere is happiness to be found.”  An “infinite misery” abounds.  Instead of blessing in the cosmos, Calvin sees only curse.  

No matter where we look, high or low, we can see only a curse that, spreading over all creatures and embracing the earth and the sky, ought to burden our souls with horrible despair. 

Creation Spirituality resists that despair and cautions against it.

“The energy coursing through our bodies right now is literally the energy of the universe.” Brian Swimme clip uploaded by Kern Beare

A new cosmology can liberate us from this guilt culture—even John Calvin confessed to that, “if God had formed us of the stuff of the sun or the stars…then we might have said that our beginning was honorable.”

Yes, today’s science with its new cosmology can lift our souls, open our hearts, return us to the primal message homo sapiens needs to learn before it is too late: The goodness of creation.  (See Gen 1.)

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

And Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. 163-173.

And Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-denominational Priest, p. 206.

Banner Image: “Queen of the May.” Photo of Our Lady of Cana in the Rosary Garden at the Rosary Shrine in London. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, OP, on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you see the new cosmology and the wonder and awe it evokes including the Webb Telescope banishing despair and awakening humanity like the revised “Hail Mary” prayer can do?

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

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest (Revised/Updated Edition)

Matthew Fox’s stirring autobiography, Confessions, reveals his personal, intellectual, and spiritual journey from altar boy, to Dominican priest, to his eventual break with the Vatican. Five new chapters in this revised and updated edition bring added perspective in light of the author’s continued journey, and his reflections on the current changes taking place in church, society and the environment.
“The unfolding story of this irrepressible spiritual revolutionary enlivens the mind and emboldens the heart — must reading for anyone interested in courage, creativity, and the future of religion.”
—Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self

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8 thoughts on “A Revised “Hail Mary” & A New Cosmology Banish Despair”

  1. Avatar
    Susan Michelfelder

    It is well to remember that John Calvin had major health issues that surely affected the way he perceived life. When he advertised for a wife he included a stipulation that she should know that because of his poor health much of her “wifely” time would be consumed taking care of him. I have had long covid for three years now. I can relate.

  2. Avatar

    What is new under the sun? The ‘Glory of God’ has been since time eternal. It is up to us to just ‘live it’, embrace it and love it to the fullest. How has a 16th century doctrine of so called ‘christians’ affected the prophets and sages throughout the ages including those of the many other God serving and honouring faiths. — BB.

  3. Avatar

    The simple answer is “No”. Beauty, wonder and awe are all around us in every manifestation of Nature. It’s an inner realization within the individual that allows us to see and appreciate it; and so the JWST images will be equally disregarded, sadly, by the majority. Beauty is, indeed, in the eye of the beholder.

  4. Avatar

    Creativity, does indeed lift up my soul, opens my heart and returns me to seeing the goodness and beauty of creation; which includes myself. As of late, I’ve been reclaiming this truth-telling reality through the creative processes of painting, allowing the spiritual artist within to emerge.

    As I surrender to the fluid movements of the colorful pigments of the inks blending and converging with one another on the paper, I find myself engaging with the mystery of light and colour, the living Spirit within the creation of the all and the everything; present in all that surrounds me.

    Painting, I find myself caught up in sacred moments of really being present to the diverse spectrum of colors, the movements of light reflecting, radiating and pulsating all around me and the beauty and goodness of these blessed gifts do indeed lift up my soul, open my heart and return me to seeing everything, including myself in new ways that I have not experienced before.

    These hours of creativity, of what I call spiritual painting, have become a pathway of prayer for me; awakening me to the awe and splendour of colour and light and it’s ever changing playful movements. As I surrender to these sacred, creative, prayerful moments I find myself surprisingly being lifted up into the Spirit of sheer joy, dancing in a world full of colour and light.

  5. Avatar

    I loved the enclosed video by Brian Swimme called “Being Present”: “The energy coursing through our bodies is literally the energy of the universe.” It’s beautiful that modern cosmology and the spiritual wisdom of our mystical traditions are coming together. The Beautiful Sacred mysteries of our unique human Souls and consciousness are intimately related in Divine Loving Diverse Wholeness~Oneness within Our ongoing CO-CREATION~SOURCE of our physical and non physical multidimensional~multiverse LIVING LOVING EVOLVING COSMOS in the Sacred Process of the ETERNAL PRESENT MOMENT….

  6. Avatar
    Daniel P McFadden

    My wife’s passing in 2007 and my journal since, set me on a spiritual journey that changed my life. It opened me to an awareness of the presence of those deceased and Non deceased souls who have loved me and continue to love me into the person God calls me to be. I was born and raised Catholic in a family with great devotion to the rosary.
    Several months ago, I was inspired to revise the “Hail Mary” and “Holy Mary” salutation to Hail (deceased person or couple) such as Hail Mom & Dad, or Hail Tom & Dolores or Holy Grandmom & Granddad. (we are all called to “birth Christ in the world). “Sinners” have been replaced by “Beloved sons & daughters of God”, and death by “final blessing” (reminiscent of the sermon on the mount). Have a blessed day!

  7. Avatar

    I really appreciate the comment above from Daniel.

    I didn’t realize that about Calvin, that he believed humans to be so vile, the rubbish bin, the toilet, so to speak. But it makes sense to me now, considering everything…if Calvin who had espoused such an upward path…would at the same time, in his heart, be full of despair and punishment. Man was but “dung” and “filth”…why at church some would be so full of “love” and lighthearted “goodness” but then at home, create ongoing nightmares of hell. Heaven and Hell are opposing states of existence that are disconnected from each other…not being reconciled at all. One cannot transform a lie into the Truth no matter how much one tries to control the reality.

    I was wondering about how agriculture gave rise to patriarchy. I wonder what Hildegard of Bingen had to say about the dangers of “agriculture” when we’re greening the land and bearing fruit?

  8. Avatar

    The “new cosmology” is not new. It’s what mystics have been telling people for over 2,500 years. It’s a Truth, a Divine-Truth, that was whittled down, re-shaped and then smothered under a projection of guilt onto humans and even the entire universe by the Church.

    There are many cascading events that led to the sin-obsession of the 1500’s and beyond, but I personally fault Martin Luther for a big share of the problem. He arrogantly condemned mysticism even though he had limited access to varied mystical teachings and even less understanding of the theology and intense spirituality that the original Mysticism involved. He thought the existence of any heresy trial (such as Eckhart’s) somehow proved ALL mysticism, in any form, was “too dangerous” for ANYONE (conveniently forgetting about John’s very obvious mystical lessons…), so he casually condemned mysticism in general and demanded that everyone stay locked into an extremely dualistic, passionately distant-from-God humility and sin-based shaming. Reformation zealots then embarked on an extremist, iconoclastic purge of mysticism. Humans were required to feel and stay distant from God and cut off from the universe. The Bible’s Mysticism was denied to them.

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