Week of 1/29-2/3/2024: Mother Mary, “Hail Mary,” St. Brigid

January 29, 2024: A Revised Hail Mary Prayer For Our Post-Modern Times
We are meditating on the original 12th century version of “Hail Mary:” 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. The message that humans bring “glory to the angels” and are “heirs” to Christ, along with the emphasis on “grace” and “peace,” stand out as integral to the creation spirituality tradition. In one of his sermons, Meister Eckhart challenges us to be “full of grace” like Mary was. Matthew proposes updating the prayer for our post-modern times by adding to the original Hail Mary the following ending: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us heirs and co-workers of God at the hour of our creativity. Amen.

“The Annunciation” (1914) by John William Waterhouse. Public domain from WikiArt.org.

January 30, 2024: A Revised “Hail Mary” & A New Cosmology Banish Despair
Unlike the original “Hail Mary” prayer (see DM above), the one recited by many people the world over since the 16th century is full of reference to sin and death. During that same century, Swiss reformer John Calvin, declared that life in this world is…. totally wretched. Nowhere is happiness to be found.  An “infinite misery” abounds.  Clearly Calvin doesn’t resonate with the principles of Creation Spirituality! A new cosmology can liberate us from this guilt culture. Even Calvin said 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. The new cosmology, which teaches exactly that, can lift our souls, open our hearts, and remind us that creation is good!

January 31, 2024: The Magnificat, Mary and Ourselves as Mystic-Prophets
In addition to the “Hail Mary” that is built on the Annunciation scene in the gospels, we can meditate on the prayer attributed to Mary and called the “Magnificat.” (Luke 1.46-55) My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exults in God my savior; Because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid. Yes, from that day forward all generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name, and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him. He has shown the power of his arm, He has routed the proud of heart. He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away. He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercyaccording to the promise he made to our ancestors—of his mercy to Abraham and his descendants forever. Mary lifts up feminine wisdom and strength. Prayers that call up the strength and wisdom of our ancestral mothers and healthy fathers are needed more than ever today.

“Shlom Lech Maryam,” the Hail Mary in Aramaic. Sung by Ana Otero.

February 1, 2024: The Aramaic “Hail Mary” & Eckhart’s Call to Birth the Christ
Apropos of the call for new versions of the “Hail Mary” prayer, Matthew received a video teaching* from Aramaic scholar Neil Douglas Klotz. Neil was on the faculty for years at ICCS in Oakland where he led body prayer every morning and taught courses on the Aramaic Jesus and on the Dances of Universal Peace. The Aramaic version of Hail Mary, said Neil, has much to do with us being “mothers of God,” as per Eckhart. He is referring to passages in Eckhart like this: What help is it to me that Mary is full of grace, if I am not also full of grace? And what help is it to me that the Father gives birth to his Son unless I too give birth to him? 

February 2, 2024: The Divine Feminine and St. Brigid
We are honoring St. Brigid’s feast day (February 1st.) The mystics Eckhart, Hildegard, Aquinas, and St. Francis were all deeply steeped in Celtic spirituality. And Brigid is, of course, greatly revered among the Celts. In his excellent book on Celtic spirituality, Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul: Celtic Wisdom for Reawakening to What Our Souls Know and Healing the World, John Philip Newell says, “Celtic wisdom remembers the sacredness of the feminine.” He adds: She loves the earth…models female leadership, inspires poets and musicians, midwifes at new beginnings, and extravagantly embodies compassion and boundless generosity toward the poor and those who seek refuge. 

Mural depicting Brigid as both goddess and saint, Dundalk, County Louth. Wikimedia Commons

February 3, 2024: St. Brigid, Druidic Ecumenism, and the Divine Feminine 
Brigid straddles two worlds—the Christian and the pre-Christian. Legend tells us that Brigid’s mother was a Christian and her father a Druid. She is “a symbol of continuity in the Celtic world between one age of wisdom and the next.” In the centuries following her death, St. Brigid “took on many of the characteristic of the goddess” and was remembered through the ritual of the perpetual fire, a ritual that lasted a thousand years right up to the Protestant reformation when it was extinguished. Newell says: This marked a tragic shift in Ireland’s dominant form of Christianity away from the divine as immanent and feminine toward regarding it solely as masculine and transcendent.

Banner image: Altar window of St. Joseph’s Church in Letterfrack, Ireland, depicting Saints Brigid, Mary with Child, and Joseph. Wikimedia Commons.

Recommended Reading

Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart

Matthew Fox’s comprehensive translation of Meister Eckhart’s sermons is a meeting of true prophets across centuries, resulting in a spirituality for the new millennium. The holiness of creation, the divine life in each person and the divine power of our creativity, our call to do justice and practice compassion–these are among Eckhart’s themes, brilliantly interpreted and explained for today’s reader.
“The most important book on mysticism in 500 years.”  — Madonna Kolbenschlag, author of Kissing Sleeping Beauty Goodbye.  

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4 thoughts on “Week of 1/29-2/3/2024: Mother Mary, “Hail Mary,” St. Brigid”

  1. Avatar

    CREATIVITY~BEAUTY~JOY~COMPASSION… continue growing/evolving in the hearts/lives/Souls
    of All our Sisters & Brothers around the world in our Beautiful Sacred Mother Earth and all Her creatures & graceful abundance, and with All Spiritual Beings in our multidimensional-multiverse LOVING Evolving Diverse ONENESS COSMOS in the Sacred Process of the ETERNAL PRESENT MOMENT….
    — Amen

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