The Feast of the Ascension was one of Teilhard de Chardin’s favorite feasts because, in addition to serving as a bookend to the Incarnation in the form of Jesus of Nazareth, it highlights the Cosmic nature of the Christ and the synthesis of matter and spirit. Several years ago, America Magazine’s then editor, Drew Christensen, S.J., did a reflection on how Teilhard de Chardin’s seminal work, The Divine Milieu, both influenced his thought and epitomizes the Ascension. Set forth below is an excerpt from Fr. Christensen’s article but I encourage you to read the entire article: “The Divine Milieu is a whole spirituality for the whole person from a Jesuit who found his identity at the heart of the church, even though as a paleontologist he worked at the farthest edges of its mission. “This little book,” he wrote, “does no more than recapitulate the eternal lesson of the church in the words of a man who, because he believes himself to feel deeply in tune with his own times, has sought to teach how to see God everywhere, to see him in all that is most hidden, most solid and most ultimate in the world.” Like St. Ignatius Loyola, the Jesuit founder, he sought “to find God in all things” and to teach others to do the same.
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Spirituality is highly incarnational. Its whole effort is to help us see Christ at work in all of life (and history). Seeing Christ’s action in matter was vital for him as a scientist, but perceiving him in our creative human activity was all the more important, both because we mistakenly tend to regard our creativity as a threat to God, but also because it is through human endeavor that creation comes to Christ and Christ brings it to the Father.”