Doing the general knowledge crossword in yesterday’s Financial Times (it is an indulgence on Saturdays) I was delighted to get see a clue that said French Jesuit theologian, palaeontologist and philosopher.“There’s a name from the past”, I thought as I rapidly filled in, “Teilhard de Chardin”.
He died around 1955, but I remember in college twenty years ago, some three decades after his death, there were still people excited by his writings. I have a copy of The Divine Milieu somewhere, but was too lazy to look for it. Running a Google search, I found this passage:
“All around us, to right and left, in front and behind, above and below, we have only to go a little beyond the frontier of sensible appearances in order to see the divine welling up and showing through. But it is not only close to us, in front of us, that the divine presence has revealed itself. It has sprung up universally, and we find ourselves so surrounded and transfixed by it, that there is no room left to fall down and adore it, even within ourselves.
By means of all created things, without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us and moulds us. We imagined it as distant and inaccessible, whereas in fact we live steeped in its burning layers”.
“What optimism!”, I thought, “what would he make of our times and the Church in full scale retreat?” But perhaps that is necessary.
In order for the full knowledge of God to be known, perhaps it is necessary for the faulty guardians of fragments of knowledge to be moved out of the way. Perhaps as the worldly representations of God fade away, his true divinity might be fully revealed.