Archives for posts with tag: Teilhard de Chardin

 

I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.

Jn 10:11-18

“If we are to remain faithful to the gospel, we have to adjust its spiritual code to the new shape of the universe. It has ceased to be the formal garden from which we are temporarily banished by a whim of the Creator. It has become the great work in process of completion which we have to save by saving ourselves.” The most fundamental task of our age is to forge a union between evolution and Christianity, if we are to go forward toward the fullness of God. It became increasingly evident to Teilhard that if Christ is to remain at the center of our faith in an evolutionary universe, then this cosmic Christ must begin to offer himself for our adoration as the “evolutive” Christ—Christ the Evolver. The one who is in evolution is himself the cause and center of evolution and its goal.

Delio, Ilia (2011-11-09). The Emergent Christ. Orbis Books. Kindle Edition (820-822). 

Teilhard’s quote from Christianity and Evolution, 91-92 and 181.

Jesus our shepherd became, after his resurrection, Christ our shepherd. He is with us always. John’s gospel, science and evolutionary Christianity all tell us and show us that Christ, the Word, was with us from the beginning of times and is accompanying us through times toward the Omega Point, lifting everyone of us up with Him.

Christ is also asking everyone of us to be a shepherd wherever we find ourselves. We all are sheep who are expected to become shepherds when needed. I realize that convention tells us that priests are our shepherds, which is partly true. By going along with this idea, however, I do not have to take responsibility for some of what I could do wherever I am. 

One of my beloved shepherds these days is a Sister of the Sacred Heart. Anyone who protects, guides, and inspires is a shepherd. Each one of you reading this post is a leader, in one domain or another. Any time we pour some of our love into the world, for instance, we follow into the footsteps of our Divine Shepherd and lead others to Him.

I remember Teilhard writing that we can choose to help the world evolve toward the Omega Point or we can slow it down and contribute to its devolution. I can help make the world a better place or I can maintain the status quo and add my shoulder to the structure of sin. Every small act, each innocuous thought, during the day adds to or subtracts from the good of order…

I can hear the call of our Cosmic Shepherd. How I want to follow Him…

Art: Salvador Dali, the Ascension of Christ, 1958

 

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I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that Godde showers on me, creating me in her image and likeness, making me her temple…. Sacred Space

I find difficult to read any further when Sacred Space’s prayer of the day starts with these words. It is not so much that I reflect upon the love and the grace that Godde showers upon me, even though I should: I have so much for which to be grateful. It is rather this idea that Godde creates me in her image and likeness, making me her temple. Me, and everyone else.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, wrote Teilhard de Chardin. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

I could spend my whole prayer time on this creation of Godde, me, this walking temple. I wonder how the world would behave if every morning, as everyone of us gets up, looking at ourselves in the mirror as we brush our teeth, we saw Godde’s hand in who we are. 

Would it be easier to love ourselves? Would we turn to Godde and ask her to shine through us? Would we be kinder to others who are also Godde’s works of art? Would we treat them with respect and awe, as they deserve? Could we still rape and kill, insult, beat up, exploit, use people as a commodity or a sex object? I wonder.

I just know that these words I encounter some mornings on the webpages of Sacred Space have a way of turning me still, teary, and feeling blessed. To see You in each one I meet, O Godde. To live as Yours, and Yours only.

Today, as millions of people are praying for peace in Syria where barbarism has taken over the land (but not forgetting Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, the Gaza Strip — Marseille or Puerto Rico –, wherever people are slain wantonly), I remember that each person living there is also made in the image and likeness of Godde, another one of her temples.

Today then I pray that Godde’s Spirit comes down on each one of us on this planet today and renew the face of the earth…

This quote from Diana L. Hayes which I found yesterday on Give Us This Day fits today’s theme and will close this post::

To be made in Godde’s image, to be, like Jesus, sons and daughters of Godde, is both burden and grace. We are called out of ourselves to live lives that are worthy and beneficial to all, yet we fall victim to fearing others simply because they are or seem different from us. We are to be as Jesus was with others, accepting them as they are, acknowledging but also affirming the many peoples, races, ethnicities, languages and cultures found in Godde’s creation. We are different, yes, but equally good.

Diana L. Hayes, Give Us This Day, 6 September 2013 (Excerpt)

Art: Françoise Gilot, Pablo Picasso

Yesterday, we were having lunch with two very good friends. One of them, a member in a book club, mentioned the two books she will read this fall, Hamlet’s Blackberry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age and The Shallows: What the Internet is doing to our Brains. I gather these two books are not really in favor of internet. My friend definitely is not, and spends hardly any time on line. 

I felt compelled to tell her about this book that I have just bought, but not read yet: The Social Media Gospel: Sharing the Good News in New Ways, which my friend Fran will present during a talk on “Faith and Facebook” at a retreat house. In response to this theme, another friend just wrote a post on the same topic, “The Theology of Social Media.”

These days, I am  reviewing notes I took during an e-retreat with the Abbey of the Arts, The Way of the Monk, the Path of the Artist. They reminded that the Benedictine rule recommends to treat everything as “a sacred vessel”.

“Now is the time to remember that all you do is sacred,” wrote Hafiz. Or again, Teilhard de Chardin, in one of my favorite quotes, said:

“God, at his most vitally active and most incarnate, is not remote from us, wholly apart from the sphere of the tangible; on the contrary, at every moment he awaits us in the activity, the work to be done, which every moment brings. He is, in a sense, at the point of my pen, my pick, my paint brush, my needle — and my heart and my thought. It is by carrying to its natural completion the stroke, the line, the stitch I am working on that I shall lay hold on that ultimate end toward which my will at its deepest levels ends.” Hymn of the Universe, 82-83.

So, my computer is a sacred tool and I often encounter Godde at the tip of my fingers as I type on its keyboard.

Years ago, in India, I learned that my mind takes the shape of what it thinks about. Whether it is Godde, those I love, politics, sports, TV, news… Well, my mind also takes the shape of what I google and read online.

Most days, I encounter Godde again and again as I read the blogs written by friends. On Facebook, the holy is there as I scan down the pages. Yes, of course, I come upon the odd joke, the crass cartoon, and the political placard. But it’s also online that I read the Daily mass, Give Us This DaySacred Space or Ignatian Spirituality

Strangely enough, few of my ‘real’ friends spend as much time online as my ‘virtual friends’.

True, I’ve come to the conclusion that I spend too much time on line. I have so many fabulous books I want to read: I have cut down on Facebook and Twitter. Writing down where I spend my time has helped change my behavior patterns.

I cannot, and don’t want to, convince those friends allergic to the internet that, in fact, it offers a lot. We each have a mind drawn to or repelled by computers,a mind which is intelligent, creative, deep, holy, gentle, compassionate, whether it likes to be on line or off.

Do you find Godde online? 

One with you in the Risen Christ.

Art: Computer Art, Art F City

 

How can we live our brokenness?  Jesus invites us to embrace our brokenness as he embraced the cross and live it as part of our mission.  He asks us not to reject our brokenness as a curse from God that reminds us of our sinfulness but to accept it and put it under God’s blessing for our purification and sanctification.  Thus our brokenness can become a gateway to new life. Henri Nouwen

I found this quote today in my inbox. Living my brokenness. I face it every day right now, a physical brokenness, from within, with a severe osteoporosis discovered these past weeks. Suddenly, life has changed, a new life which, strangely, I am welcoming.

As our weeks in Manresa came to an end, it dawned on me that the Christian path was for each one of us to become Christ-like, cruciform, Christic, i.e. to follow Jesus in his self-emptying, on a day-to-day basis. As St Paul said:

Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Phil. 2:7-8

As our immersion into Ignatius’ world came to a close, I sensed, from the Mystagogy (mystical understanding) of the Spiritual Exercises to the cosmic vision revealed at the end, that “I was called to a Christic [self-emptying] pilgrimage, in the company of Ignatius, my family and friends, and Ignatian companions — with the hope of helping some souls on the way.”

During the Course, as I followed Ignatius’ life and work, I started to comprehend how he saw, experienced, and followed Christ. It became obvious that to join Christ in his building of the Kingdom, I too needed to let myself be emptied, to die to myself [however one does this]. I was to accept kenosis, the ‘self-emptying’ of one’s own will and becoming entirely receptive to God’s divine will. (Wikipedia)

A call to kenosis… I have no idea of what this call entails. Is this madness?

‘The Spirit is the vulnerability of Godde; we too are invited to be vulnerable,’ our lecturer, George, told us. I had never thought of Godde as vulnerable, but in fact this is the way She is with us, ever hoping we will turn back to her; this is the way Jesus was, going to the end of his logic of compassion and self-giving…

This vulnerability, Godde’s or ours, comes in so many flavors,  colors, shapes, and ways. Challenges at work, heartbreaks with loved ones, health issues, sudden unexpected and unwanted changes and, finally, aging.

Hasn’t Ignatius taught us to say,

“Take, Lord, and receive my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my entire will. All that I am and possess. You gave it all to me. Now I return it all to you: Do with it as you wish. Just give me your grace and your love, that is enough for me.”

Godde’s grace and love is such an enormous gift. How can anyone say, ‘Just’ give me…

Vulnerability, or brokenness, has come to me this time with a physical illness, hidden in my spine. How fortunate I am to discover this now, when there are ways of taking care of it! Still, doctors have prescribed for me to do ‘nothing.’ I find and express so much of what I am in what I do…

With every challenge comes a grace. The grace which comes immediately to my mind is the ability to notice all those around me who are suffering, often much more than I do.

I like to remember that our vulnerability, our suffering, and our brokenness are scooped up in Teilhard de Chardin’s Mass on the World:

Over every living thing which is to spring up, to grow, to flower, to ripen during this day say again the words: This is my Body. And over every death-force which waits in readiness to corrode, to wither, to cut down, speak again your commanding words which express the supreme mystery of faith: This is my Blood.

Henri Nouwen, from his own experience, tells us that our brokenness, with its purifying and sanctifying impact, can become a gateway to new life. A new life, a new understanding, a new freedom.

May it be so.

Art: Mary Southard, It Takes A Universe

Image

You are no longer strangers and sojourners,but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Eph 2:19-22

This passage from Ephesians has long been a favorite of mine. Everything about it enchants me. That we are no longer strangers, but companions with the holy ones and part of Godde’s household; that the Risen Christ is the head of it all, that with him we all form a sacred temple and that in him we are made into a place where Godde in the Spirit does live.

I returned from Manresa understanding deep down that through the Risen Christ we all are interconnected, interrelated, and interdependent, not only with every human being on this planet, but with every bit of matter or Nature, on earth and in the Cosmos.

This is where St Paul, Teilhard, Richard Rohr, Sr. Ilia Delio, and so many other men and women who believe in Evolutionary Christianity, talk of the same Cosmic vision, led by the Risen One, the Cosmic Christ.

What I liked in this passage then makes so much more sense today. We are truly all brothers and sisters in the Risen Christ, working together for the coming of the Kingdom — or working against it if one cannot accept this deep connection between all of us.

The Christ project, so clearly explained by St Paul here, inspires me and invites me to get up every morning to work for it.

I found online a website created by Louis M. Savary, the author of The New Spiritual Exercises: In the Spirit of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and The Divine Milieu Explained: A Spirituality for the 21st Century. Below is a quote, from his website, Teilhard for Beginners, which adds to St Paul’s understanding:

For Teilhard, Christ today is not just Jesus of Nazareth risen from the dead, but rather a huge, continually evolving Being as big as the universe. In this colossal, almost unimaginable Being each of us lives and develops in consciousness, like living cells in a huge organism. At various times, theologians have described this great Being as the Total Christ, the Cosmic Christ, the Whole Christ, the Universal Christ or the Mystical Body of Christ. (Louis Savary, “The Divine Milieu Explained” )

I will close with another quote, this time from Sr. Ilia Delio, which reveals an angle that Ignatius himself experienced in a mystical vision by the river Cardoner in Manresa.

“God is the unbroken wholeness in movement, 
and creation is movement toward God-centered wholeness.”

We are no longer strangers and sojourners, but companions of Christ and all his saints, all evolving toward the completion of the Creation, the coming of the Kingdom. What an intoxicating reality.

Photo: Giuseppe Peppoloni, Confluence des Religions

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At this moment thousands of pilgrims are walking to Santiago de Compostela, having started from hundreds of different places, with as many reasons for walking as there are pilgrims. Their path is holy because they see it as holy, as millions have before, for hundreds of years.

It does not look like this year I will walk the Way again. But then these past two years, we started and both time had to stop earlier than we wanted, as if some part of us was saying, Enough already.

Nearly three months ago, when I reached Manresa and began reading Ignatius’ autobiography under the guidance of our lecturer, and in company of the other participants, I re-discovered that Ignatius called himself “the pilgrim.”

After his being wounded at the battle of Pamplona in 1521 and while recovering from his wound in his family’s home, he started dreaming of becoming a great saint, walking to and settling in Jerusalem, where he would help souls. The Franciscan authorities in the place did not allow him to stay in Jerusalem and sent him packing back home. His pilgrimage had him walk back and forth between Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, England even, Venice and finally Rome. He walked thousands of miles, limping and begging. When he finally settled in Rome, he kept seeing himself as a pilgrim, even though by then he was the one sending others on mission, all over the planet.

Ignatius was a saintly pilgrim; I’m just a regular one. I can’t help being a pilgrim, possibly because of all the highs I experienced while walking. The highs and lows, ecstasy and dark moments of desolation…

In Manresa then, I felt that it might be time for me to become an Ignatian pilgrim, hanging my long-distance walking staff hanging on the side of a bookshelf, and walking with Ignatius. This felt good enough. I would walk in places where Godde wants me to be, at a pace my body allows, and will converse with whomever comes along and wants to talk.

I was settling down with this prospect, when along came a lecturer who presented side by side Ignatius’ mystical vision by the Cardoner river in Manresa and Teilhard’s cosmic vision in Manchuria and everywhere else he lived before and after. Both men being called to develop a ‘Christ-consciousness’, Sr. Ilia Delio would say.

Through Godde, with the Cosmic Christ, in the Holy Spirit, being called to be co-creators of the Kingdom, laboring alongside the Risen Christ to help make a better world. A world which now encompasses the whole Cosmos.

An invitation sent out two thousand years ago, by Paul, to live and die in Jesus;  to empty ourselves as Jesus did, followed soon after by Paul himself, and a multitude of others since then.

My life, like yours I suspect, is a holy walk through events and encounters where Godde every day is waiting for me to notice Her, not only in the e-mail or the phone call I receive, in the birds that keep chirping praises all day, in the green leaves glowing in the afternoon sun, but also in the persons I meet, my old neighbor, my grocer, the child next door. We  are walking our lives together, hoping to create more good than bad, to bring about more joy than sadness, to invite in more than to select out.

We all are cosmic Johnny-Appleseeds, cosmic pilgrims. And the sky’s the limit, with that brilliant Omega Point for all eyes to see, shimmering in the distance.

Hallelujah!

Art: Fr. McNichols, St Ignatius of Loyola

 If you have not read Phil Cousineau’s The Art of Pilgrimage: The Secret Guide to Making Travel Sacred,  do. It is an inspired book, about pilgrimage, of course, but also about how to mae one’s life sacred, whether one walks thousands of miles or just a few blocks to the local park. You won’t regret it.