“[I]f people try to be ‘pioneers’ not out of personal pride and ambition but from love of the Church and of truth, and with absolute trust in God and acceptance of His will before all else, can God allow them to cut themselves off from him? . . . We must pray for one another, then, that our Lord may keep us both humble and fearless, supremely united above all to His divinity, the source of every really fruitful activity . . . One could be heartbroken sometimes, don’t you find, to feel deep within one so many powers, so many sources of illumination, that remain buried, stifled in the impenetrable throng of people who surround us without knowing or understanding us . . . What peace it is then to know that there is a living center of all things, through whom our desires and our points of view can unerringly make their way and reverberate in the very depth of souls, of each individual soul — anonymously but divinely. ”
—– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Making of a Mind; Letters from a Soldier-Priest, 1914-1919 (pp. 127-128) (from letter to Marguerite Teilhard dated September 18, 1916)
It is a great consolation to know that while we may not be understood by those around us, our Lord understands us better than we do ourselves. Teilhard must have drawn on this understanding many times throughout his life.
Yes to what Lynda said. Also, this paragraph — especially the first line — is something that he could’ve said to Thomas Merton (or Thomas to him) and both would’ve drawn comfort from it, or at least it would validate their sometimes misunderstood hope.
I think back now, on what would be my mother’s 100 birthday. I’m looking at a picture of when my youngest brother was born, the youngest of eleven children. Dad looks tired in the picture and a few months later we are filing into church for his funeral. From the altar the bishop & assorted priests look at the young mother in the front pew; a young mother with all those children -the oldest being nineteen. There would be no money coming in but for a bit of social security and whatever the older children could earn.
In the living room, after the funeral Mom is holding her baby. Dad’s best friend has tears streaming down his face. “What are you going to do, Margaret? how will you survive?”
Margaret steps forward and with her free hand pats Barney on his back, “With God’s help. We will survive with God’s help, Barney.” In that moment we older children knew we would survive because we saw the love of God streaming through our Mother’s eyes. We saw before us absolute trust in God and acceptance of his will which radiated from her until her death at age ninety,
Jack, thank you for sharing this faith story with us. Your mother must have been a wonderful woman of faith.