In yesterday’s DM, we posed a question triggered by the teachings of Teilhard de Chardin–Should we not only recognize that “God is Love”, but also that “the World is Love”?

The Millennial Gaia Earth Mother.” Statue by Oberon Zell, 1998. Photo by Amber Avalona on Pixabay. Wikimedia Commons.

Again, by “world” Teilhard is not talking about the world that humanity makes so much as the bigger picture—the world that makes us.  The world that is the universe, the cosmos, our Earth that has welcomed us as guests.

Thomas Aquinas calls the universe the being that is “most like God”—the universe itself.  If the world is “most like God” then it is Love. Aquinas says, citing the psalmist, the universe is “God’s home” and its splendor and grandeur render us “drunk” when we meditate on it.

We are learning more and more about this home daily—facts such as its age (13.8 billion years old), and its size (2 trillion galaxies and expanding and hundreds of billions of stars in each galaxy), and how it began smaller than a zygote, and how it has birthed us, our solar system, our sun, moon and Earth and all of life and consciousness.  Evolution therefore.

Why does Aquinas talk about getting drunk while meditating on the universe?  Because of love.  

“Be Drunk in Love.” Verses of Jalaluddin Rumi. Meditation video by Nomadic Voyager

He tells us he borrows the “getting drunk” motif from the Song of Songs, the book in the Bible that celebrates human love and human lovemaking as a theophany, a mystical experience. 

For Aquinas, to be drunk means our desires will be filled beyond all measurement of merit.  For intoxication is a kind of excess, as the Song of Songs says, ‘my beloved, you are drunk with love.”   

Love of the universe renders us drunk, drunk with love.  All love renders us drunk.  The many new discoveries of the universe by science in our time increase the occasions for such drunkenness.

“Love as the force that moves the stars.” Pope Francis communicates with the astronauts of the International Space Station. NASA

“Ecstasy” is another term for being drunk insofar as “those who are drunk are not inside of themselves but outside of themselves.” Ekstasis in Greek means to stand outside of oneself. 

But the universe is not at all an “object”—it is a relation, we are embedded in it—it is our father and our mother and our home and we are in it and it is in us and we depend 100% on it until the day we die.  We are in relationship to it and Aquinas proposes that that relationship is one of “friendship.”

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, pp.  8-15.

And Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality, pp. 109f., 124.

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

Banner Image: Trees and mountains cradle the setting sun. Photo by UnKknown Traveller on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

Are you drunk on the universe?  Why or why not?  Is that what a cosmology accomplishes, getting us drunk with love?  And drunk from the love that the universe bestows on us by welcoming us here?

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

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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4 thoughts on “Aquinas & Teilhard Envisioning the World as Love”

  1. Avatar

    “I want to be inspired and see and experience the awe and wonder of God’s creation.” Is this our willingness to be open and receptive to that which we have not experienced in any meaningful depth in the past. Or meaning that our depth of experience has not been satisfying to us.

    Many of us ‘flit’ about taking ‘bite after bite’ of unsatisfying ‘life experiences. We need to stop and savour the experiences and the moments we do have, and many don’t. We live in ‘a distracted world of high anxiety’ with income insecurity, relationship insecurity, safety from elemental crime and guns insecurity, ‘fake news’ insecurity.

    How do we discern and appreciate the truth and beauty of God’s created existence? Do we as an anxiety ridden society continue to take many or few ‘small bites’ of reality? Is it the transformative path that ultimately brings security (everlasting Life after death) and a receptivity to everything between and beyond?

    Ecstasy knows no bounds and lives in the present moment. All of time, evolution, and existence ‘lives fully’ in the present and interrelational moment. Have we known any other moment? The past is not a moment. The future is not a moment. Let’s ‘bite on that’, savour it through contemplation and determine if it is digestible before we swallow. Some things need to ‘grow on us’, ‘grow in us’, so let’s not pass by ‘the moment’ to do so too quickly. — BB.

  2. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    Both life and death can be seen and experienced as the evolution of LOVE.
    Beingness is constantly changing, transforming from one expression of love into another, sometimes manifesting in the forms within the natural world, other times expressing itself in the formlessness of the the spiritual world… yet all are apart of the ONE LOVE. In scripture we are told that the one thing that remains… is LOVE. Therefore there is nothing to fear in either life or death.

    Recently I encountered this rememberance. This subtle glimpse brought a smile to my lips, tears to my eyes, words of song to my voice, dancing with joy to my body, peace to my mind and a sense of freedom to my soul. It was a but a taste from the cup of LOVE offered from Lady Death, in a sacred moment of life… bitter but yet sweet at the same time.

  3. Avatar

    Yes! It’s Truly a LOVE~JOY~BEAUTY~ECSTASY… Mystery and humbling experience beyond words to Truly be Aware~Conscious that GOD Our SOURCE~CREATOR Is With-In and Among US and ALL LIVING and Ongoing CREATION of OUR COSMOS, LOVING DIVERSE ONENESS, even With-In the Uniqueness of the ‘smallest’ Living Creatures….

  4. Avatar
    Martina Nicholson

    I bow to you! This is a beautiful and true meditation on what is! I think we can continue to ask “What is?” And being aware of it, and dealing as well as we can with what it seems to need from us or ask us to be, lets us off the hook of “what if?” All the anxiety of the what ifs… are left to be dealt with by Divine Mystery if we can just stay focused on WHAT IS. To accept that “the world” is the cosmos, is the universe, IS interdependent coherence and the mystical Body of Christ, is to bring it all into the harmony and trust that “God’s in His Heaven and all’s right with the world.” We belong! Thank you!

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