Week of 2/19-24/2024: Navalny & Sr. Dot, Creativity & the Holy Spirit as a River

February 19, 2024: Greater Love than This: Navalny, Sister Dorothy, MLK, Jesus
We are reflecting on the tremendous courage of people like Alexei Navalny, Sister Dorothy Stang, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jesus, each of whom stood up against the forces of evil and were killed because of it. Both Sr. Dorothy and Navalny were urged not to return to Brazil and Russia, respectively–and each made the decision to return. Navalny said that one must make sacrifices if one believes in one’s values strongly enough. Jesus said: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. The U.S. Congress recently voted to not fund Ukraine, which has been valiantly fighting Putin’s war against them for two years now. Will Navalny’s death wake us up?

Pressure builds on the White House in the wake of Navalny’s death. Video by Good Morning America. 

February 20, 2024: Courage, Joy, Generosity: Lessons from Sr. Dot & Navalny
Matthew tells us that it is not enough to honor the courageous lives of Sr. Dot and Alexei Navalny; we must be inspired by them to stand up against the evil forces of the world. We must pick up the torch that they carried for so long. In addition to courage, both of these beings exemplified joy, even in the midst of very trying circumstances. Indeed, in the last video we have of Navalny, taken the day before he died in the notorious prison near the north pole, he was joking, smiling and even laughing with the judge in the courtroom. If joy, courage and generosity are integral to what holiness means, then we have two more holy ones now on the other side.

February 21. 2024: Meister Eckhart’s “Rapid River that Divinizes Us”
Meister Eckhart once gave an amazing sermon on “The Holy Spirit, Like a Rapid River, Divinizes Us.” He cites Psalm 46:4: “There is a river whose streams refresh the city of God, and it sanctifies the dwelling of the Most High.” What is this “city of God?” It is the soul. Eckhart tells us that the soul is to receive the divine river that fills it and causes it to rejoice.

Rafting the White Salmon River. Photo by Justin Kent on Flickr

February 22, 2024: Creativity as Bestowing Divine Gifts & Bliss on One Another
We are further reflecting on Eckhart’s sermon based on Psalm 46:4: “The rapid or quick-flowing river has caused the city of God to rejoice.” Have you ever thought of God as a “rapid river that flows?” Matthew loves this image of creativity: a moment when we are not in charge and are being carried along by a force and power bigger than ourselves. The journey can be tumultuous and unexpected but it is a ride to remember. It can be joyous when we are not in charge. Says Eckhart:  People are not to receive and keep them for themselves alone, but they should share themselves and pour forth everything they possess in their bodies and souls as far as possible….

February 23, 2024: How Our Creativity, Morality, & Divinity Flow Side by Side
Every moral decision we make belongs in the Via Creativa section of our spiritual journey. Leonard Bernstein speaks of creativity that way. Says he: I can sit long nights all by myself and don’t have a thought in my head. I’m dry. I’m blocked, or so it seems…but every once in a while, there is something like a short circuit (in the mind)….A spark will fly, and I’ll be off, sailing: my ego gone. I won’t know my name.  I won’t know what time it is.  Then, I’m a composer. Meister Eckhart says that when we have a gift, it is our responsibility to create. He says: If human beings have something that they do not bestow on othersthey are not good. Creativity bespeaks the Divinity within us. 

Followers of Alexei Navalny reflect on his legacy, the succession of his widow Yulia, and next steps in opposition to Putin. Reuters.

February 24, 2024: Further Lessons from Navalny, Sister Dorothy Stang, Putin & Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, an amazing observer of human nature, teaches that a tyrant is more afraid of good people than of bad people. This appears to be the case with Putin, who is withholding the body of Alexei Navalny from his family, and threatening to desecrate it, unless they agree to a “secret funeral.” Aquinas made another insightful observation about politicans.. He said that a politician must know more about the human soul than a doctor knows about the human body. What a profound insight! And something to bear in mind in the coming election!

Banner image: White water at the Menominee River. Photo by Estes Bob on Flickr.

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.  

The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times

A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book!  Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox renders Thomas Aquinas accessible by interviewing him and thus descholasticizing him.  He also translated many of his works such as Biblical commentaries never before in English (or Italian or German of French).  He  gives Aquinas a forum so that he can be heard in our own time. He presents Thomas Aquinas entirely in his own words, but in a form designed to allow late 20th-century minds and hearts to hear him in a fresh way. 
“The teaching of Aquinas comes through will a fullness and an insight that has never been present in English before and [with] a vital message for the world today.” ~ Fr. Bede Griffiths (Afterword).
Foreword by Rupert Sheldrake

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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1 thought on “Week of 2/19-24/2024: Navalny & Sr. Dot, Creativity & the Holy Spirit as a River”

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    Recommended book: “The New Human: Awakening to our Cosmic Heritage” (2016), by Mary
    Two reviews:
    1) “World renowned researcher and lecturer on UFOs and encounters with non-human intelligences, Mary Rodwell has an intellectual analysis of a real phenomenon. She presents some of the most fascinating individual cases ever published on this topic, which should give second thoughts to even the most hardened skeptic. Her scholarly examination of the evidence provides a thought-provoking and required foundation to help better understand the nature of our reality within a multidimensional universe. Highly recommended!
    — Robert Davis, Ph.D. Neuroscience.
    2) “ “The New Human” is all about our evolution. We are evolving and we need to evolve for the survival of the human species and the planet. This evolution is also necessary for our planet to maintain its position in the universe… I would recommend this book to anyone who sees a world in need of change. To any person who wants to understand what is actually taking place on the planet and to humanity. To anyone who is feeling the effects of our planet’s current state and to anyone who has sensed something big is going on… “The New Human” is a book that will help heal and us towards a better future. This information is leading edge.”
    — Dr. Maree Batchelor

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