Teilhard de Chardin Quote of the Week (June 9, 1014): The Primacy of Charity



“What the modern mind finds disconcerting in Christian charity is its negative or at least static aspect, and also the “detached” quality of this great virtue. “Love one another …” Hitherto the gospel precept has seemed simply to mean, “Do not harm one another,” or, “Seek with all possible care and devotion to diminish injustice, heal wounds and soften enmities in the world around you.” Hitherto, also, the “supernatural” gift of ourselves which we were required to make to God and to our neighbor appeared to be something opposed to and destructive of the bonds of feeling attaching us to the things of this world.

But if Charity is transplanted into the cone of Time nothing remains of these apparent limitations and restrictions. Within a Universe of convergent structure the only possible way in which an element can draw closer to its neighboring elements is by tightening the cone — that is to say, by causing the whole layer of the world of which it is a part to move toward the apex. In such an order of things no man can love his neighbor without drawing nearer to God — and, of course, reciprocally (but this we knew already). But it is also impossible (this is newer to us) to love either God or our neighbor without assisting the progress, in its physical entirety, of the terrestrial synthesis of the spirit: since it is precisely the progress of this synthesis which enables us to draw closer together among ourselves, while at the same time it raises us toward God.Because we love, and in order that we may love even more, we find ourselves happily and especially compelled to participate in all the endeavors, all the anxieties, all the aspirations and also all the affections of the earth — in so far as these embody a principle of ascension and synthesis.”

– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Future of Man, pp. 86-87

About William Ockham

I am a father of two with eclectic interests in theology, philosophy and sports. I chose the pseudonym William Ockham in honor of his contributions to philosophy, specifically Occam's Razor, and its contributions to modern scientific theory. My blog (www.teilhard.com) explores Ignatian Spirituality and the intersection of faith, science and reason through the life and writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (pictured above).
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3 Responses to Teilhard de Chardin Quote of the Week (June 9, 1014): The Primacy of Charity

  1. Lynda says:

    Teilhard always makes me think and when I reflect on his writing and sift through, he really puts what should be obvious to us in beautiful mystical prose. If I understand correctly, God is love and God is the centre of all that is and was and will be so love is certainly the driving force which draws the universe toward God. Teilhard paints an amazing picture when he writes – and draws me away from the ordinary into a heavenly realm. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Amyclae says:

    This quote seems popular… I can’t help giving this post a solid like because the incorporation of time, here more or less standing in for a euphemism for philosophical–capital H-Hegelian–History. A destructive force but one that tramples a facetious conception to clear a conceptual space rather than, say, a tone of “the lone and level sands stretch far away” ect.

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