We continue our meditations on the return of the Divine Feminine by way of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as both Andrew Harvey and Leonardo Boff speak of it.

Andrew Harvey discusses “the way through” to a quantum leap in consciousness, introducing “the return of the sacred feminine” and its meaning at this critical time in history.

Andrew applies Boff’s call for liberation that we saw in yesterday’s DM to saving creation:

and it is not only Christianity that has to make this effort to actualize justice, but every religion.  We all have to hear the voice of the Mother in Mary’s pleas for transformation in this world.

Harvey believes that if Christianity were to receive the sacred call of the Divine Mother in Mary it could also at long last open itself to the force of Christ.  Because they are the same force, Mary’s and Christ’s.  

13th-century icon of Mary as the Great Panagia (Our Lady of the Sign), bearing Christ as infant and eternal God. From Yaroslavl, Russia. Wikimedia Commons

Andrew was with his mentor, Benedictine monk Father Bede Griffith, who lived in a Christian ashram for 50 years in southern India, during his final illness.  Bede kept saying, “Serve the growing Christ!  Serve the growing Christ!” 

Harvey suggests that the best way to serve Christ is to birth him as Mary did.  

This insight parallels that of Meister Eckhart who exclaimed, What good is it to me if Mary gave birth to Christ fourteen centuries ago and I don’t do the same in my time and place and culture?

Harvey recognizes the kingdom that Christ called for as a place where there are no more poor, where there is no more cruelty and exploitation and injustice, where the forests are safe and the seas clean and the world protected, and human life and human love recognized as utterly sacred and holy.

Painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe holding St Juan Diego. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, OP on Flickr.

The catastrophes our generation is undergoing put us face to face with Mary and her Son to transform everything in the name of divine love and to see justice done in every area of life. 

Harvey talks of personally having encountered Christ by way of Mary–the Christ who is as much the son of the Mother as of the Father.  

He discovered for the first time, with awe and amazement, the overwhelming presence of the sacred feminine in Christ himself, discovered intuitively and mystically, in the core of my mind and heart and body.*


Andrew Harvey, The Return of the Mother, pp. 378f, 381f.

See Matthew Fox, “Sermon Twenty-Three: We are Children of God and Mothers of God,” in Fox, Passion For Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart, pp, 325-337.

See also Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth.

Banner Image: Radiant creation: Sunset with a rainbow in a field of poppies in El Suspiro del Moro. Villa de Otura, Granada – Spain. Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash


Queries for Contemplation

What does “serve the growing Christ” mean to you?  What does Eckhart’s teaching that we “birth the Christ” like Mary did mean to you and to our world today?


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.  

Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.


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10 thoughts on “Harvey, Boff, and the Call of the Mother, continued”

  1. Avatar

    We Are The New Born Kings & Queens”

    ‘Glory‘ surrounds the ruler, the lover, creator of all existence. All existence is created to ‘glorify’ its Founder. We ourselves can only truly be ‘found’ within the ‘Founder’. Glory will ring out when we find ourselves in ‘the lap’ of the Founder, the Founder of all creation. For us the ‘Glory’ is revealed in a newly birthed realization of ‘who we are’, is it not? And is that not the story and life of Jesus? To remind ourselves of ‘who we are’ and lead us back to that ‘reality’, that ‘Glorious’ reality? And that the birth of Jesus has metaphorical and metaphysical meaning of our ‘new birth’ into a magnificent realm? We are to be the new-born Kings, are we not? The Angels and Christmas are shouting out this message from the rooftops for all of us to hear.

    Shall we consider that we too, all of us are destined to ‘reside in Glory’? Elsewise, what is the message all about? Elsewise, what is the Christmas and the birth of Jesus all about? If not about us, and us personally, each and every one of us, what else? Let us listen, ponder and let slowly sink in. The ‘Glory to the new-born King’ is our story, our life to live, our destiny, is it not? What greater Christmas present than that can there be? The ‘gift’ need only be fully accepted in our hearts and consciousness. — BB 12 23 22.

  2. Avatar

    To serve the growing Christ for me means choosing to respond to the invitation of a covenant relationship with the living spiritual essence and presence of the light, the truth, the life and the pathways of LOVE. It’s about learning to be present to this spiritual reality; consciously awakening to and claiming, cultivating, nurturing and birthing this from within oneself.

    All of creation is bound as One, each with a soul vine chord to this living, present spiritual essence, this Great Webb of Light, intricately woven together; which preserves, protects and strengthens, offering to lead all on the pathways of the truth and the life of LOVE.

    To give birth to this, like Mary, is to be receptive to, accepting of and intuitively and contemplatively responsive to trusting in, relying upon and depending on the continous unfolding, evolving, emerging convergence with this living spiritual essence and presence.

    It’s about choosing again and again, to give life to this, in response to whatever one encounters and experiences; for it is these very moments that become the sacred pathways for this spiritual essence and presence of the light and truth of LOVE to blossom and release its fragrance, within our relationships with self, others and the all and the everything of creation.

    Like the image of the rose, there are at times thorns of suffering, pain and sorrow in this; but this too LOVE makes use of in ways we do not always comprehend or foresee.

  3. Avatar

    The Andrew Harvey video is an “On The Spirit” beatific vision that we are living as we move further and further into this vision of our future. It goes back to the “freeing” of the Spirit for both or all parties in the Lord’s Prayer – Apology and Forgiveness free the Spirit. Questions arise like, “What is in your heart?” What are you honestly trying to say? We are not conscious of everything that is happening. Language is limited in conveying reality, and we misunderstand each other. WORDS ARE TRAPS, said the koan. I am certainly not perfect so I ask those who I have hurt and those who have hurt me to forgive me because I forgive you. We come to realize that we cannot help what we do to “the other” so we apologize and forgive as we expand our awareness of our interconnectedness. “I am sorry for what I did to you when we were in the “smokey old pool room” if you are reading this meditation.

  4. Avatar
    Brigid Cannon, OP

    To serve and birth the Christ means “right relationship” with everyone. It is to follow Christ wherever he leads us to further his mission of the “kingdom of God” on earth as did Mary. How? To love God with all your mind, heart and soul, and Your Neighbor as yourself. This entails peace making as well as speaking the truth in love. To be persevering in striving to live the Beatitudes in our personal and communal lives. It means to know when and how to speak out for the injustices of our world for example in working conditions, the sick and elderly, children’s safety and education, respecting women, freeing the prisoner who is innocent, respect for all of creation and stop exploiting earth for wealth and greed. We belong to one human family and are sisters’ and brothers’ keeper wherever we live. It is not easy to give birth, it painful, exhausting, yet it all does not rely only on our efforts. Like Mary we trust in God however we understand a power greater than ourselves. Mary became the “handmaid” of the Lord so too are we called to serve one another in Love and birth new life in our world today. We can do it because we have hope in a future Christ promised because Mary and he Son showed us the way. To live is to die and to die is truly to live and bring new LIFE.

  5. Avatar

    I think it also exists on an intimate level. Serve the growing Christ means to me to surrender to the physical encounter with unconditional love, with the Beloved, as the physical encounter with the Beloved is also intensely emotional, spiritual and cosmic. If I consider all the different ways patriarchy has tried to control the body, to control love and desire…to control freedom and power…all the ways that “patriarchal forces” use confusion, brute force, guilt/shame, fear and terror…all to harness the innocence of pure desire, pure love for the amoral emperor’s own strange loveless gain…then I can see why this whole world is in pain. What a terrible situation to be in your body but unable to love who you love or to be loved as you are, out in the open. What a nightmare to be alive and yet so afraid of love. For one’s greatest desire to also be one’s greatest fear. I think that’s what “patriarchy” has done to the world. Mary transcends this situation, as does her child. This is the miracle, and the miracle is alive at every moment, every day, without ceasing. So we are in awe, we marvel, without words. Out on the edge, without words, just in awe. That’s what it means to me: serve the growing Christ. Where our words end, and then the miracle of God’s words.

  6. Avatar

    Serving “the growing Christ” within means to me having Faith that Our DIVINE MOTHER & FATHER/SOURCE~CREATOR IS ALWAYS PRESENT within, through, and among Us – our unique Hearts/ETERNAL SOULS – giving birth to COSMIC CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS with the DIVINE SPIRIT of LOVE~Wisdom~Truth~Peace~Justice~Healing~Transformation~Freedom~Creativity~Beauty Joy~Compassion~DIVERSE ONENESS… in the Sacred Process of the ETERNAL PRESENT MOMENT to help Us Co-Create and bring about GOD’S QUEENDOM~KINGDOM on Earth as It Is in HEAVEN….

  7. Avatar

    Dear Matthew,
    I am working with catechumens preparing them for the sacraments on the Easter vigil. I have been teaching creation centered spiritually for years after reading Original Blessing. The person I’m working with keeps bringing up original sin and I am beside myself. She says we must teach original sin because that’s what the church teaches and I don’t think we have to. Please help me know what to say.
    Thank you,
    Debra

    1. Avatar

      She may not feel comfortable changing away from her beliefs, and her choice must be respected.
      But if she’s open to listening, I would recommend she check out Richard Rohr’s “Center for Action and Contemplation” website for a deeply Christian understanding of this issue. He also specifically teaches the various implications of the core mystical Revelation as expressed in Christianity.

      To the issue of today’s topic, I express my “mystical birthing” by sharing nuances, insights and lessons I’ve learned after my direct mystical experience (an original “birthing”) and after decades of unpacking its myriad facets of intuitive Truths, along with things I’ve learned from my gradual exploration and deepening understanding of mystical texts, from many traditions, of this complex, ancient form of Mysticism. I also attempt to clear up what I personally believe are pervasive misunderstandings about this Mysticism. There’s a LOT of garbage about mysticism out there.

      I offer this for any readers who are open to exploring the mysticism they’re being given glimpses of in Eckhart and the Gospel of John. If they like these tastes of mysticism, they can dig deeper into the subject.

    2. Avatar

      Hi Debra, I don’t know if you can convince your co-teacher of your viewpoint, but these sources might help strengthen your case. Growing up with the doctrine of original sin, it took me time and scholarly guidance to consider an alternate viewpoint. After all, some verses so clearly appear to teach “original sin” and “substitutionary atonement.” Your co-teacher, like a younger me, probably can’t imagine another way to read many of the Bible verses about “salvation.” As you already know, Matthew’s books are really helpful in understanding another way, but there are other sources too. One helpful book is Marcus Borg’s book “The First Paul,” especially Chapter 5 “Christ Crucified.” Another is “Sacred Earth Sacred Soul” by John Philip Newell, Chapter 1 “Pelagius.”

      Both Borg and Newell explain that the doctrine of original sin did not become a part of church doctrine until the 3rd and 4th Century C.E., which means that it has not always been a part of Christian teachings. Your co-teacher might not be open to these ideas, but these sources might strengthen your own interpretation of scripture. Perhaps you’ve read this article in Wikipedia. I find it helpful, but it’s probably much better to hear directly from Christian theologians like Borg and Newell. I hope this helps.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_sin

    3. Avatar

      I would say that the term was invented by St. Augustine in the 4th century. It is not in the Bible; Jews, who wrote the Bible, and Jesus who was Jewish never heard of it. No Jew has. Original Blessing applies to all of creation and to all beings in it. Yes, we come into the world wounded, Otto Rank (who was Jewish) talks about the “original wound.” That is a far better term than “original sin.” Obviously (just look at the news) humans and humanity are very wounded. It is this wound that Jesus helps to heal and instructs us to heal self and others by way of grace and compassion. Genesis one, the first page of the Bible, offers a cosmology where all creation is good, each being is good, and altogether (even after humans arrived) the community of being is “very good.”

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