This Sunday, parts of the Church celebrate the Feast of the Ascension. The readings can be found here.
Today’s reflection comes from Drew Christiansen, S.J., former editor of America Magazine. You can find the full reflection here but set forth below is an extended summary:
It was the Feast of the Ascension, and I was searching for a half-remembered quotation for my homily at the evening Mass. I remembered it appearing in Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s “The Divine Milieu“. . . . I had to list a handful of books that have influenced my life, “The Divine Milieu” would be at the top. I read it in the early 1960s, just as the Second Vatican Council was taking place. I inhaled its intoxicating this-worldly mysticism. I was strengthened by its explanation of the spiritualization of our activities, not a strong suit in the penitential spirituality of the post-Suppression (1773-1814) Jesuits.
“The Divine Milieu” offered a symphony of themes that echoed the masters of Western spirituality, the Bible—especially St. Paul—and the divine liturgy. As in monastic theology, phrases, mostly in Latin, dot the text, displaying a mind that has imbibed the Scripture in lectio divina, been formed by the recitation of the liturgy and is practiced in savoring the meaning of the simplest phrase. At the same time, there are passages that read like scholastic responsa, staking out Teilhard’s own orthodox mystical position against heretical alternatives sometimes ascribed to him. All the same, the book reads like a prose poem.
“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.
Sometimes I think of “The Divine Milieu” as the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius’ classic manual of the spiritual life, re-worked for modern times. The whole book is an extrapolation of Ignatius’ “Contemplation to Attain Divine Love.”
Other Resources (with many thanks to Louis Savary 🙂
Explanation of “The Divine Milieu”
Free Online Version of “The Divine Milieu”
“The Divine Milieu” explained website by Louis Savary
“The Divine Milieu Explained” Book by Louis Savary
“Spiritual Exercises for the 21st Century” by Louis Savary