Many / One

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Compiled by JoAnn Kite

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Writings in Time of War
Pierre Teilhard deChardin
Written at the front and in the trenches during World War I, these essays contain the core of Teilhard deChardin's thought. His central theme is the unity of all life.

1 "I believe that the world records everything good and useful that is done in it; it notes and assimilates to itself every movement and every impulse that is fitted to harmonize with its own becoming, of whose real goodness there can be no doubt."

2 "Like knots spaced out along a cord, or like the folds into which a single curtain falls, or the eddies forming on one and the same surface, everything that moves and lives in the universe represents, in one particular aspect, the modifications of one and the same thing."

3 "Blessings on the philosophy that shows us that the cohesion of things is destined to be completed!"

4 "In everything in me that has subsistence and resonance, in everything that enlarges me from within, that arouses me, attracts me, or wounds me from without, it is you, Lord, who are at work upon me – it is you who mould and spiritualize my formless clay – you that change me into yourself."

5 "The bosom of Mother Earth is in some way the bosom of God."

6 "After each new crisis, mankind has to yield to the evidence that it has changed for the better and has made progress; for life, and life alone, knows what is best for its children, and, what is more, reality always follows the most favourable line of development."

7 "The inter-personal contains the hopes of higher union on which evolution lives. It is the milieu of the monads' mutual attraction and confluence that sustains their final centre of coalescence."

8 "Through God, all bodies come together, exert influence upon one another and sustain one another in the unity of the all-embracing sphere."

9 "God is at work within life. He helps it, raises it up, gives it the impulse that drives it along, the appetite that attracts it, the growth that transforms it. I can feel God, touch Him, 'live' Him in the deep biological current that runs through my soul."

10 "This is the classic teaching: God, who is 'his own being' is at the same time 'the being of all'."

11 "Basically, the whole of the world's psychism [psyche] gravitates towards a single centre."

12 "In the domain of morality the Divine and the Terrestrial meet and are fused into one."

13 "The more we lose all foothold in the darkness and instability of the future, the more deeply we penetrate into God."

14 "Charity [love] safeguards the development of the universe and keeps it to the true path of its progress. Moral effort is the continuation in our souls of the same dynamic effort that gave us our bodies."

15 "From the pantheist point of view, everything in the universe is seen to be radically One, Absolute, and Divine."

16 "Of one thing, at least, we may be certain: we have all the strength necessary to complete the work of Spirit upon earth. Our future is in our own hands."

17 "We are the countless centres of one and the same sphere."

18 "Everything that is active, that moves or breathes, every physical, astral, or animate energy, every fragment of force, every spark of life, is equally sacred; for, in the humblest atom and the most brilliant star, in the lowest insect and the finest intelligence, there is the radiant smile and thrill of the same Absolute."

19 "Each monad is to some degree the centre of the entire Cosmos, resting upon and at the same time supporting its fabric."

20 "From time to time a great common aspiration comes to the surface from roots that lie deep down in mankind. At a given moment, the whole mass of souls thrills as it opens its eyes to a new light. Their multitude, for all its diversity, forms one whole in the unanimous and undisputed acceptance of a truth that is spontaneously taken as established; and, in one body, they set out together as though to find a new Holy Grail."

21 "Only a long and patient struggle can teach us the operative power of faith and show us what it can achieve."

22 "If the Will of God is seen with sufficient intensity and realism it positively transforms the universe. It animates and softens all that we suffer; it stimulates and directs all that we initiate; it abolishes chance. It makes it possible for us to live, physically and for ever, within the divine Unity."

23 "Evolution is holy. There we have the truth that makes us free."

24 "We can count upon creative energy awaiting us, ready to transform us in a way that goes beyond anything that the eye of man has seen or his ear has heard."

25 "I looked around and I saw, as though in an ecstasy, that through all nature I was immersed in God."

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite