Teilhard de Chardin Quote of the Week (July 28, 2014): Universe and Incarnation


“To make men see and make them feel — that is my first aim: to make an impassioned profession of my faith int he richness and value of the world and so vindicate myself against those who smile and shake their heads when they hear talk of an ill-defined nostalgia for something hidden within us which transcends and fulfills us — to win the day again them by showing them beyond all possible doubt that their self-sufficient individual personality is but a wisp of straw in the grip of forces they seek to shut their eyes to, forces that, when we speak of building up a temple to them, they dismiss as laughable. If a man is to come up to his full measure, he must become conscious of his infinite capacity for carrying himself still further; he must realize the duties it involves, and he must feel its intoxicating wonder. He must abandon all the illusions of narrow individualism and extend himself, intellectually and emotionally, to the dimensions of the universe. . . 

I am not directly concerned with science, nor philosophy, nor apologetics. Primarily, I am concerned to express an impassioned vision. I shall limelight — though I shall not go out of my way to condemn — the crisis (always the accompaniment of a new awakening) that is now becoming acute in men’s minds and hearts; simply as an observer in the first place. I shall watch the birth and development, in the depths of individual souls or in the turmoil of the masses, of the cosmic temptation; the homage paid to the golden calf, the incense rising up to the peak of human pride. . . I shall allow another picture to emerge — at first in apparent opposition to the dreams of the Earth, but in reality to complete and correct them — that of the inexpressible Cosmos of matter and of the new life, the Body of Christ, real and mystical, unity and multiplicity, monad and pleiad. And, like a man who surrenders himself to a succession of different melodies, I shall let the song of my life drift now here, now there — sink down to the depths, rise to the heights above us, turn back to the ether from which all things came, reach out to the more-than-man, and culminate in the incarnate God-man.”

— Teilhard de Chardin, Writings in Time of War, pp. 15-16


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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8 Responses to Teilhard de Chardin Quote of the Week (July 28, 2014): Universe and Incarnation

  1. I liked this piece very much. His own passions leaps from the page.

  2. A grand excerpt William and it reminds us of the importance of this book—written during one of the most intense periods of Teilhard’s (and the world’s) life—as quoted from the front cover page:
    “In these writings is contained the entire scheme of his later thought set down with a firmness and confidence that is totally unexpected in the light of the scanty writings that date from before the war.”

    • David:

      Thank you for the kind comments. I am re-reading his Writings in Time of War in light of the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. As you indicate, it was certainly one of the most intense periods in world history and had a profound effect on Teilhard.

      W. Ockham

    • David, thank you for the article reference. I will comment on your blog also but try as I might I find it hard to interpret Teilhard’s writing, taken as a whole, in the manner that many non-Christians such as Barbara Max Hubbard do (I dislike the term “New Age” as it is so amorphous and lacking in substance I do not know what it means). Teilhard’s writings are so Christocentric that I find it impossible to read him in any manner other than the manner that Pope Benedict reads him. Of course, that could just be my blinders 🙂

      [Edit: I realized the comments are turned off on your blog so I was not able to comment there]

      • William:
        Yes, I keep comments closed due to lack of time; and regarding the article, the author agrees with us as he says in the final line: “Pope Benedict’s Teilhard? I like it. The New Age Teilhard? Count me out.”

        New Agers have found it fairly easy to conflate Fr. Teilhard’s work with their perspective; and–having studied New Age material, one of the first things I read after becoming Catholic was the superb Vatican document: Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the “New Age”; still very relevant and a good resource for those of us who love Fr. Teilhard’s work but do not appreciate the New Age’s corruption of it.

        Take care.


  3. Agree entirely. A Document well worth reading……

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