DEEPEN YOUR OWN SPIRITUAL JOURNEY AS MYSTIC AND PROPHET
A 5-Day Retreat with Matthew Fox, Claudia Picardi, Meschi Chavez, and Gianluigi Gugliermetto
Featuring a Special Visit by Rupert Sheldrake
Study the spiritual teachings of one of the greatest minds of Western civilization--Thomas Aquinas-- with a preeminent scholar of Christian spirituality, Matthew Fox, and a special visit by British scientist Rupert Sheldrake, who joins us one night to dialog with Fox on "Aquinas' Wisdom for Our Times."
Orvieto is located two hours from where Aquinas was born in Roccasecca--where his family locked him in their diminished castle dungeon for daring to join the upstart Dominican Order as a young man--and where he died at Fossanova Abbey. It is also 90 minutes from Rome or Assisi!
Early Bird Registration Closes October 31, 2019
For Information, email Dennis Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 510-835-0655. If you are interested in staying in the convent, please let Dennis know to add your name to the list.
WHO IS THOMAS AQUINAS?
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was a mystic and prophet and one of the greatest geniuses in Western history. Though he died at only 49 years of age and in his final year was struck dumb by a stroke that precipitated a breakdown and mystical experience, his 44 books bespeak a profound effort to bring nondualism alive. Courageous and controversial in his day, he brought science (from Aristotle) into the Christian West which was a dangerous enterprise that got him condemned shortly after he died. Later he was canonized a saint and declared a “Doctor of the Church.” His books include commentaries on many Biblical works as well as many by Aristotle, and together his writings including his best known Summa Theologica reveal an amazing mind and mystical heart. He directly influenced Dante (whose primary teacher studied with Aquinas) and the Beguine mystic Mechtild of Magdeburg as well as Meister Eckhart who, like Aquinas, was a Dominican and was 17 years old when Aquinas died.
Does he speak to us today in our quest for a working prophetic and mystical spirituality? We shall explore that question together.
Following are a few of Aquinas’ rich teachings that are even more real for us today than for the people of Aquinas’ day:
“Joy is the human’s noblest act.”
“The experience of God must not be restricted to the few or to the old.”
“Sheer Joy is God’s and this demands companionship.” (Thus the title of Matthew Fox’s book)
“Every creature participates in some way in the likeness of the Divine essence. All creatures are images of God, who is the first agent….In all creatures there is a footprint of the Trinity.”
“Revelation comes in two volumes: Nature and the Bible.”
“Every truth without exception—and whoever may utter it—is from the Holy Spirit….The old pagan virtues were from God….Revelation has been made to many pagans.” (Powerful for a time of Interfaith, Deep Ecumenism and science like our times, isn’t it?)
Encounter one of the greatest minds (and souls) of the West: Ahead of his time, Aquinas wove the best science of his time (Aristotle) into Christian theology.
WHO IS MATTHEW FOX?
Matthew Fox has brought alive Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart and Thomas Aquinas for millions of people today. About his first work on Hildegard, Dr. Mary Ford Grabowsky writes: “If one person deserves credit for the great Hildegard renaissance in our time, it is Matthew Fox.” Sister Joan Chittister in her Foreword to Fox’s latest book on Hildegard writes: “This is a truly marvelous, useful, profound, and creative book.” About his most recent work on Eckhart, Jungian analyst and author Steve Herrmann writes: “Matthew Fox is perhaps the greatest writer on Meister Eckhart that has ever existed. No one paints as broad a portrait of the master as Fox does in this book.”
FOX AND AQUINAS
Fox, who was a Dominican friar for thirty-three years until he was expelled by the Vatican for teaching creation spirituality, the divine feminine, liberation theology, and original blessing in preference to original sin recognizes himself as a brother to Aquinas who was a Dominican for thirty years and was condemned by three bishops shortly after he died at the age of forty nine.
In his book Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality, Fox set out to find a way for today’s spiritual seekers to understand Aquinas whose works, set in a scholastic mode of learning, often prove difficult for contemporary minds to cipher.
Fox chose to interview Aquinas and thus descholasticize him. He poses contemporary questions to Aquinas and every answer Aquinas offers is drawn straight from his writings. A genuine conversation takes place.
Fox places Aquinas squarely within the lineage of Hildegard, Francis, Eckhart, and other champions of Creation Spirituality tradition and brings into the dialogs many of Aquinas’ works that had never before been translated into English, German, French or even Italian. This includes his very first and most mystical work, his Commentary on Pseudo Denis’ “Divine Names” and many of his Biblical commentaries such as those on the Psalms, Isaiah, Job, John’s Gospel and more.
Whole new dimensions of Aquinas come through that appear fresh, new and very relevant to today’s spiritual search. Fox discovers for example many Buddhist dimensions to Aquinas’ teachings on contemplation as well as a very rich development of prophetic spirituality including his Environmental teachings
Come and interact with one of the greatest minds (and souls) of Western culture. Aquinas insisted on taking the best (and very controversial) scientist of his day, Aristotle, who was being translated in Islamic centers in Baghdad, into the heart of Christian theology and paid a heavy price for doing so.
 See Matthew Fox, “Thomas Aquinas: Mystic and Prophet of the Environment,” in Fox, Wrestling with the Prophets: Essays on Creation Spirituality and Everyday Life, 105-114. Fox and scientist Rupert Sheldrake address Aquinas’ teachings on angels in The Physics of Angels, pp. 77-136.
PRAISE FOR SHEER JOY: CONVERSATIONS WITH THOMAS AQUINAS ON CREATION SPIRITUALITY
British scientist Rupert Sheldrake writes in his Foreword to Sheer Joy: Aquinas “was what we would now call a holistic thinker, but he went much further than most modern holists in recognizing the all-pervasive influence of the spiritual realm….Until now, Aquinas’s insights have bene hidden behind a fog of scholastic and neoschoalstic commentary and interpretation. This book changes all that. Matthew Fox allows Aquinas to speak for himself, and at the same time the dialogue enables the relevance of what he says to come across with great clarity. After more than seven centuries, we can meet Aquinas again and hear what he has to say to us.”
Father Bede Griffiths writes in the Afterword: “Sheer Joy is a work of major importance not only for the church and the Dominican order but also for the wider world, which is looking for a philosophy that can act as a guide in the moral, social, and political problems of the world today…..The teaching of Aquinas comes through with a fullness and an insight that has never been represented in English before, and that moreover is shown to have a vital message for the world today.”
National Catholic Reporter writes: “The sheer joy of the shared commitment of Aquinas and Fox to creation spirituality is contagious and pervades almost every page of this big volume Fox is doing us a great service by presenting us the best of Aquinas and doing brother Thomas a service by making him live again”
IN THIS COURSE, YOU WILL…..
Encounter Aquinas, one of the greatest human minds ever, in his own words discoursing on wisdom and spirituality
Learn how to apply Aquinas’ teachings to your daily life and sacred action through the teaching of Matthew Fox
Share and deepen your spiritual journey
Meet Rupert Sheldrake, one of the most forward thinking scientists of our day, as he and Fox dialog one evening on “The Wisdom of Aquinas for Today.”
Delight in the beauty and history of Orvieto
You can also visit Assisi or the town where Aquinas lived and where he died if you care to make those trips before or after the course.
Mornings begin with body prayer led by Meschi Chavez and then move into Fox teaching from Aquinas’ texts.
Afternoons will offer a choice of two Art as Meditation practices.
“Integrating Aquinas’ wisdom into Movement” with Meschi Chavez
“Painting, Color, Word in Response to Aquinas” with Claudia Picardi
An optional Integration Seminar of small group sharing will follow, led by Gianluigi Gugliermetto
Matthew Fox is a spiritual theologian and author of 36 books on Spirituality and Culture that have been translated into 74 languages. A Dominican for 34 years, he is now an Episcopal priest. Among his books are three on Hildegard of Bingen, three on Meister Eckhart and a major work on Thomas Aquinas.
Claudia Picardi is vice president of the Creation Spirituality Organization in Italy and leads workshops on re-activating the imagination through fairy tales, myths and sacred texts. She holds a master’s in Transpersonal Psychology and a Doctorate in Computer Science.
Meshi Chavez is a choreographer and movement teacher based in Portland, OR and a student of Natsu Nakajima and Denise Fujiwara in the dance form called Butoh. A co-founder of Momentum Conscious Movement, his spirituality is greatly influenced by his 20 years of working with Native Spiritual leaders and ceremonies.
Gianluigi Gugliermetto holds a doctorate in theology from the Claremont School of Theology, and is an Episcopal priest presiding over a parish in Los Angeles. He has translated many of Matthew Fox’s books into Italian.
Special Guest Instructor
Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist best known for his hypothesis of morphic resonance. He is the author of more than 85 scientific papers and 9 books, including Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home, The Science Delusion, Science and Spiritual Practices, and Ways to Go Beyond And Why They Work.
Register by October 31, 2019 for early bird price of $995.
$1100 Before December 31, 2019
$1200 Before MARCH 31, 2020
$1400 AFTER MARCH 31, 202