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Fearing I had said too much, I stopped and waited as she chopped.It’s just one year, I added.I’ll make it up to you.I knew enough to remain quiet.After an extended silence, she scraped the celery pieces into the brown wooden bowl her mother had given us as a wedding present.I felt a softening, but this might be wishful thinking on my part.She seemed disappointed and angry.But when she looked at me, there was both exasperation and warmth in her eyes.Thank you, Honey! I said.She leaned back and addressed the ceiling.Matthew Fox in ChicagoThe 1981–82 winter in Chicago proved to be the coldest on historic record.When the winds whipped between the skyscrapers, the temperature dropped to eighty degrees below zero.Children were not allowed to go outside for anything longer than a trip from the front door to the bus or car.Television newscasters warned their listeners not to wear earrings because earlobes were freezing as solid as ice before the innocent victim noticed anything unusual taking place.When our landlady, Mrs.McDennebick, saw that Denise was pregnant, she took her coat off and insisted Denise have it to protect the baby.The extreme cold froze the mounds of snow already piled up on both sides of every avenue and in the parking lots of grocery stores and government buildings.Hatchets, pickaxes, and blow torches could not cut through the ice quickly enough to liberate imprisoned cars.It was going to be a long, cold, dark winter.It was an immense change.Suddenly I was in a small Catholic college in conversation not with scientists or philosophers but a Dominican theologian, Matthew Fox.Twice a week we would work over our current draft.When the edits filled up the margins, we’d type it up anew.This bold claim was not original to us but came from a stream of work following the thinking of Oswald Spengler earlier in the century.The assertion that science needed to reinvent itself in the wake of quantum physics and relativity theories was commonplace.Matt’s declaration was both more radical and more controversial.He maintained that the religions of the Western world, especially Christianity, had been captured by the idea that a human’s ultimate purpose is to be redeemed out of a fallen world.This fixation on escape had resulted in modern theology’s slide into irrelevance, most notably among the highly educated and the young.We developed our own process for approaching these thinkers.I would follow by drawing parallels between their theological statements concerning the universe and the discoveries of contemporary science.Matt summarized our procedure by saying that by combining premodern spirituality with postmodern science, we were giving birth to a new world soul.I told him in a loud voice that he and I were giving birth to a new cosmological myth of the type Thomas Berry had called for.We were actually doing it.He would love knowing this! I said.We should tell him it’s happening right here on the banks of Lake Michigan!Matt smiled.So invite him over.Seriously? I said.The thought of actually meeting Thomas Berry had never once occurred to me.I imagined him in a realm beyond reach.Ask him.You’ve talked with him? I said.No, but he’s probably got a phone.Well, then again, maybe not.He’s a bit of a hermit.Hildegard of BingenOn February 11, 1982, Matt and I huddled together outside Mundelein College studying the evening traffic on Michigan Avenue.We were waiting for Thomas Berry to arrive by taxi from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.We stepped from side to side to keep our feet from freezing, both of us heavily bundled to ward off the chill.I wore a fleece vest under my fireman’s coat.Matt was wrapped up in a blue jacket with a hood lined in dark brown fur.I peered into every passing taxi to see if it carried Thomas Berry.Neither of us had met him or seen him in person, but I did manage to track down a picture of him on a conference brochure.His was the only photograph without a smile.He was looking off to the side with what seemed to be an irritated scowl.Irritation often includes resentment, but I saw none of that in his face.His negative feelings came from a deeper place.He was much gloomier.