Many / One

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Compiled by JoAnn Kite

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The Divine Milieu
Pierre Teilhard deChardin

1 "Grant, O God, that the light of your countenance may shine for me in the life of that 'other'….Grant that I may see you, even and above all, in the souls of my brothers, at their most personal, and most true, and most distant."

2 "The enrichment and ferment of religious thought in our time has undoubtedly been caused by the revelation of the size and the unity of the world all around us and within us. All around us the physical sciences are endlessly extending the abysses of time and space, and cleaselessly discerning new relationships between the elements of the universe. Within us a whole world of affinities and interrelated sympathies, as old as the human soul, is being awakened by the stimulus of these great discoveries, and what has hitherto been dreamed rather than experienced is at last taking shape and consistency. Scholarly and discriminating among serious thinkers, simple or didactic among the half-educated, the aspirations towards a vaster and more organic One, and the premonitions of unknown forces and their application in new fields, are the same, and are emerging simultaneously on all sides. It is almost a commonplace today to find people who, quote naturally and unaffectedly, live in the explicit consciousness of being an atom or a cititzen of the universe."

3 "Christ of glory, hidden power stirring in the heart of matter, glowing centre in which the unnumbered strands of the manifold are knit together; whose brow is of snow, whose eyes are of fire, whose feet are more dazzling than gold poured from the furnace; you whose hands hold captive the stars; you, the first and the last, the living, the dead, the re-born; you, who gather up in your superabundant oneness every delight, every taste, every energy, every phase of existence, to you my being cries out with a longing as vast as the universe: for you are indeed my Lord and my God." 'Mass Upon the Altar of the World'

4 "You must let the clear spring water of purity of intention flow into your work, as if it were its very substance. Cleanse your intention, and the least of your actions will be filled with God."

5 "Everything yields up the portion of positive energy contained within its nature so as to contribute to the richness of the divine milieu."

6 "The more I examine myself, the more I discover this psychological truth: that no one lifts his little finger to do the smallest task unless moved, however obscurely, by the conviction that he is contributing infinitesimally (at least indirectly) to the building of something definite – that is to say, to your work, my God."

7 "The world undergoes a sort of vast 'ontogenesis' (a vast becoming what it is) in which the development of each soul, assisted by the perceptible realities on which it depends, is but a diminished harmonic. Beneath our efforts to put spiritual form into our own lives, the world slowly accumulates, starting with the whole of matter, that which will make of it the Heavenly Jerusalem or the New Earth."

8 "We must try to penetrate our most secret self, and examine our being from all sides. Let us try, patiently, to perceive the ocean of forces to which we are subjected and in which our growth is, as it were, steeped. This is a salutary exercise."

9 "By virtue of the Creation, and still more, of the Incarnation, NOTHING here below is profane for those who know how to see."

10 "Every genesis presupposes inter-connections, mutual or reciprocal dependence, with no breach. It implies in the being that is forming itself a kinship between the composing elements; thus a static cosmos, fragmented in make-up, is unthinkable." Pierre Leroy, S.J., foreword

11 "Give me the strength to rise above the remaining illusions which tend to make me think of Your touch as circumscribed and momentary."

12 "God, in all that is most living and incarnate in him, is not far away from us, altogether apart from the world we see, touch, hear, smell and taste about us. Rather he awaits us every instant in our action, in the work of the moment. There is a sense in which he is at the tip of my pen, my spade, my brush, my needle – of my heart and of my thought. By pressing the stroke, the line, or the stitch, on which I am engaged, to its ultimate natural finish, I shall lay hold of that last end towards which my innermost will tends."

13 "In each one of us, through matter, the whole history of the world is in part reflected. And however autonomous our soul, it in indebted to an inheritance worked upon from all sides – before ever it came into being – by the totality of the energies of the earth."

14 "I am not speaking metaphorically when I say that it is throughout the length and breadth and depth of the world in movement that man can attain the experience and vision of his God."

15 "Yes, the human layer of the earth is wholly and continuously under the organising influx of the incarnate Christ."

16 "We always find ourselves at the exact point where the whole sum of the forces of the universe meet together to work in us the effect which God desires."

17 "Matter and spirit, as we know them in our universe, are not two separate substances, set side by side and differing in nature. They are two distinct aspects of one single cosmic stuff and there is between them no conflict to baffle our intelligence." Pierre Leroy, S.J., foreword

18 "All-embracing providence shows me at each moment, by the day's events, the next step to take and the next rung to climb."

19 "We find ourselves at every moment situated at the exact point at which the whole bundle of inward and outward forces of the world converge providentially upon us, that is to say at the one point where the divine milieu can, at a given moment, be made real for us."

20 "Everything can be taken up again and recast in God, even one's faults."

21 "Like a huge fire that is fed by what should normally extinguish it, or like a mighty torrent which is swelled by the very obstacles placed to stem it, so the tension engendered by the encounter between man and God dissolves, bears along and volatilises created things and makes them all, equally, serve the cause of union."

22 "In each soul, God loves and partly saves the whole world which that soul sums up in an incommunicable and particular way."

23 "To overcome every obstacle, to unite our beings without loss of individual personality, there is a single force which nothing can replace and nothing destroy, a force which urges us forwards and draws us upwards: this is the force of love."

24 "However vast the divine milieu may be, it is in reality a centre. It therefore has the properties of a centre, and above all the absolute and final power to unite (and consequently to complete) all beings within its breast."

25 "Will not the work itself of our minds, of our hearts, and of our hands – that is to say, our achievements, what we bring into being, our opus – will not this in some sense be 'eternalised' and saved? Indeed, Lord, it will be – by virtue of a claim which you yourself have implanted at the very centre of my will! I desire and need that it should be."

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite