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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Help From The Divine

As I turn the final page of Letters From My Friend Teilhard De Chardin, 1948 - 1955, I found myself mourning the loss of a friend I just found inside his essays written with passion, convinced that the evolutionary movement that presses us forward, just as surely drives us upward can only be truly understood in terms of a reach of union with the Divine. I found a beautifully convincing correlation between God and evolution. A Jesuit Priest and French philosopher, Teilhard was a trained paleontologist and geologist who took part in the discovery of Peking Man and Piltdown Man. In his final months before his death, he said to his biographer, friend and colleague as they traveled down familiar streets in NYC back to his residence after lunch, " I can tell you, that I am constantly living in the presence of God!"

Here was a man of science and theology, a lecturer, missionary, author and a decorated military man who traveled to Africa, China and Asia as a celebrated geologist and scientist. And yet, Rome forbade him to write or teach on philosophical subjects. In 1925, Teilhard was ordered by the Jesuit Superior General Wlodimir Ledochowski to leave his teaching position in France and to sign a statement withdrawing his controversial statements regarding the doctrine of original sin. Rather than leave the Jesuit order, Teilhard signed the statement and left for China.This was the first of a series of condemnations by certain ecclesiastical officials that would continue until long after Teilhard's death. The climax of these condemnations came in 1962, seven years after his death, a monitum (reprimand) of the Holy Office denouncing his works.

 Even though he was unrecognized, cast down and abandoned, Teilhard never lost his love for God. It appears only to have enriched his supreme devotion to God and the mystery of the Divine. I take courage from this blessed life. I can't even remember what brought me to his name. He is a mystery to me and yet I believe it would be helpful to try and understand his unreasonable attraction to the Divine that kept him focused. I may need a revelation!