Stone Circles and their spiritual significance

img469

The photo above is of the stone circle at Boscawen Un on the way to Land’s End. It’s four thousand years old and for me a holy place. The interpretation of these sites is in a continual state of flux, because no one knows for certainty what actually happened here.  They were most likely ceremonial centres connected with the winter and summer solstices, the seasons, as well as with birth and death. Here where I live in Cornwall, I’ve been surrounded by these ancient sites for  as long as I remember. There’s little doubt that they have left a profound influence on my life both as a lad and subsequently. Most of our Cornish Churches are built on old pagan sites where the ancient gods such as the Earth Mother were worshipped. Cornwall has many links with Ancient India.

img465

Seen against the sky the effect is impressive. The Celtic Tribes who erected these monoliths might have been pagan, but God is not without witness in any age. There are more stone circles and ancient sites in Cornwall than anywhere else in the British Isles, and that includes Wales and Ireland.

img467

Standing stones are another feature of our prehistoric past. Possibly these were to anchor the souls of the dead and stop them from bothering the living. There are large numbers of them around here. There is one just behind my bungalow.

img463

I visit Boscawen Un two or three times a year, and such visits always refresh and spiritually recharge me.  Boscawen Un, (pronounced noon), in common with other stone circles in Cornwall are “thin places,” where heaven and earth meet. That they may be pagan sites in no way diminishes their sacred nature. God, however he may be named, transcends all the concepts and ideas that we associate with the deity. It’s enlightening to realize that our Bronze Age ancestors buried their dead in Barrow Graves with articles such as pottery, implements and weapons for a future life. They certainly rejected the idea  that death was the end.

img464

Barrow Grave near St Buryan. (Penzance)

The photo below at Chun Quoit near Land’s End, has had the earth removed from around it. The cremated remains of several people would have been buried in these tombs.

DSCN0337

One of the major festivals of the Celtic year was Samhain, celebrated on 31st October and extending into the first week of November. All Hallows, Hallowe’en and All Saints are familiar to us because the Church in her wisdom baptized all the old pagan feasts and gave them new meaning as Christian Feasts. The rituals of Samhain were concerned with the dead and the spirits of the ancestors. All Saints and All Souls have ancient origins in our Pagan past.

img466

St Buryan Stone Circle and one of the easiest to find. Its just off the main road to Porthcurno and the Minack Theatre.

DSCN0160

It was up this estuary of the River Hayle that the Saints came with the Gospel to West Cornwall.  The little Church in the far distance is St Uny who came here from Ireland.

chi-rho-emblem

 

img461

All the photos are my own taken at various times over the years.

celtic-cross-1

The descendants of the Ancient Pagans who originally constructed the Circles gladly received the Gospel when the Monks from Asia Minor came to these shores with the GOOD News.

Original Sin

adam & eve

As an Anglican I accept what Article IX says concerning Original Sin. However the two Genesis accounts of creation are  Middle Eastern and  Semitic  approaches to understanding the world. Adam and Eve are representative of humankind as we find ourselves in God’s creation. In a sense we are all Adam and Eve and in need of redemption by Christ. In the words of St Paul –  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23.)

“Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk;) but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God’s wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek phronema sarkos (which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh), is not subject to the Law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized; yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.”

The language is somewhat quaint, but the thrust of it is clear. I’ve always assumed that the Roman Catholic Church more or less believes the same.

The word “infection” is especially relevant – “And this infection of nature doth remain.”

We are fallen creatures. Nature is red hot in tooth and claw and that includes us.” Paul’s Epistle to the Romans is as relevant for to-day as when it was written by him. Paul begins with Christ and what God has done for us in Christ.

In the Greek Orthodox Church’s  Faith, the term “original sin” refers to the “first” sin of Adam and Eve. As a result of this sin, humanity bears the “consequences” of sin, the chief of which is death. Here the word “original” may be seen as synonymous with “first.” Hence, the “original sin” refers to the “first sin” in much the same way as “original chair” refers to the “first chair.”

In the West, humanity likewise bears the “consequences” of the “original sin” of Adam and Eve. However, the West also understands that humanity is likewise “guilty” of the sin of Adam and Eve. The term “Original Sin” here refers to the condition into which humanity is born, a condition in which guilt as well as consequence is involved.

In the Orthodox Christian understanding, while humanity does bear the consequences of the original, or first, sin, humanity does not bear the personal guilt associated with this sin. Adam and Eve are guilty of their willful action; we bear the consequences, chief of which is death.

While the Orthodox Church does accord Augustine of Hippo the title “saint” and recognizes the vast number of theological works he produced, Augustine was not as well known in the Christian East. His works were not translated into Greek until the 14th century; as such, he had little or no influence on mainstream Orthodox thought until 17th century.

It would be interesting to know the views of Lutherans and Calvinists believe.

Baptists and many other Evangelical Churches do not believe in infant baptism.

baby baptism

Lenten tensions

I have been a trifle busy this last fortnight (two 6 day working weeks of about 14 hours a day, with only one day, Sunday last, off), so when I saw that the blog’s statistics were rising, my first thought was right – someone has said something which has prompted furious comments. I was a bit taken aback to discover yesterday’s pst had vanished, but there is nothing to stop people taking down their posts, and indeed, when they leave and delete their names, all their posts vanish into the dark with them. Then I remembered it is Lent, and usually, at this season, there is an outbreak of some sort – I do hope that the last 24 hours or so here are the end of it.

We are all Christians, and we all take our faith seriously, and that probably offers multiple reasons why this time of the year leads to tensions; fasting is not easy, and I doubt I’m the only one to get cranky when deprived of whatever it is I have given up for Lent (in my case biscuits and chocolate); but let’s take that into account shall we?  On the rights and the wrongs I am not commenting, not out of cowardice, but because I have not the time to read all the comments. I will say only that I respect all those involved in this blog, and am sorrowful when it goes the way it does from time to time; having fallen into that way of being here from time to time, I am in no position to throw even a small stone. I would ask that we let bygones be bygones and concentrate on what we are here for – to communicate our faith and our views on it.

I am unsure that America’s culture wars have added much to anything. In so far as they have led to the current polarised political situation in America, they may have had an adverse effect; we shall see. But I’d rather they remained a part of American exceptionalism – except of course, because America sets the world’s culture, they won’t and can’t. On the subject of Teilhard, I doubt anyone below a certain age would get heated over him – which is perhaps all that needs to be said. Whatever he contributed that is of value will survive, what wasn’t won’t. But this itch, this urge, this need to shut down any thinking which is not in accord with what an individual thinks is ‘Catholic’, worries me. Newman suffered from it, it led to the destruction of much of Origen’s writing, and it helped give the Church the reputation it has not quite shaken off of being too scared and narrow-minded to engage in serious debate. This is not the Anglican tradition, which, whatever its faults, has always encouraged debate, at least in the last 150 years.

At its best thins blog offers a unique space on the Internet – we all value it, so let’s show that by respecting the unwritten rules – as good Anglo-Saxons should 🙂

Assisi Pilgrimage.

img457.jpg

I have visited Assisi twice and each time been overwhelmed by the spirit of the little town. On both occasions I was the chaplain to an Anglican group and was able to celebrate the Eucharist in one of the many chapels of the Basilica. If you’ve never been, believe me, It is an experience you will never forget.

The walk down to the Church of San Damiano has a spiritual presence that is almost palpable. On several occasions I was able to be alone and meditate along the way.

img458.jpg

It was interesting talking to the other pilgrims who were in the group. On each time were were thirty of us. The joy of pilgrimage is being with others and sharing one another’s experience of  God’s grace in our lives. Initially we met up at Gatwick and our English reserve was much in evidence. Gradually it began to melt and we found ourselves blending into a corporate unit. We were not all committed believers. Three  came out of curiosity. One lovely man came up to me and expressed his scepticism about God. We had several quite long conversations and I sensed that he was undergoing a battle within himself. On one  occasion I found Jim  standing alone gazing up at this crucifix in the Church of San Damiano. He didn’t see me, and I quietly left leaving him to his thoughts. We didn’t get a chance to speak again,  but I’d hazard a guess that the Lord Jesus had embraced him. The grace of God has unexpected ways into the soul’s sanctuary that is beyond our comprehension.

img459

This is the crucifix and it radiated a healing power which remains with me to this day. Its not a good photograph because of the dim light in the chapel. But it is so life like and somehow penetrates one’s inner soul with grace. Crucifixes have always meant much to me but this one in particular. The photo below is of San Damiano.

img460

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

DSCN3316_517

Franciscan Chapel of the Anglican Friary in Hilfield Dorset.

Samson

samson

Samson is an interesting  character in the Old Testament. (Judges, chapters 13-16.) We can learn much about ourselves through it. The drama has many implications for us,  but the conclusion lies far beyond the Old Testament narrative.

Samson’s story is a powerful saga about a man who was NOT the brave leader commonly supposed by the average person. The book of Judges presents him as a man who was given to whoring and sexual exploits.  The Bible is littered with characters that are seriously flawed.   King Saul, King David and his son Solomon were far from perfect. Samson could be said to head the list.

“Samson the hero,” is what every Jewish child the first time he or she hears about him. Over the years that is how he has been portrayed in works of art, theatre and film. Saint Saens composed an impressive opera about him, the music of which captures the pathos of his lonely existence. Grand Opera is a wonderful media for portraying loss and tragedy. All the best operas end with a death. Think of Madame Butterfly in the opera by Puccini.

Verdi’s opera based on Shakespeare’s Othello adds considerably to the tragedy of the story. Othello you will remember kills Desdemona, his lover, out of rumour and misplaced jealousy.

Samson was a man whose calling was a never ending struggle to accommodate his life  to the powerful destiny thrust upon him. That is true of all Christians.  We are all flawed. How otherwise can we understand others?

Samson couldn’t grasp the tragic role into which he had been cast. He’s a very fragmented individual. He was born a stranger to his parents. Despite being the strongman of popular myth, he constantly yearned to win the affections of his father and mother and love in general. The whole of his existence was the quest for love that he was never to know.

There are few other Bible stories with so much passion, action, fireworks and raw emotion. The battle with the lion, the three hundred burning foxes, the women he bedded and the one woman that he loved, are intensely dramatic. His betrayal by the women in his life, from his mother to Delilah, and in the end his murderous suicide, when he brought the house down on himself and three thousand Philistines, are not calculated to give comfort or hope. The lesson of Samson’s story is what the Spirit communicates to us through it.

Beyond the untamed wildness, impulsiveness, the chaos and the din, we sense a life story that is at bottom the tortured journey of a single, lonely and turbulent soul who never found anywhere a true home in the world. His very body was a harsh place of exile.  This discovery, call it recognition, which like all tragic stories,  slips silently into the day to day existence of each of us, into our most private moments, and our buried secrets.  There’s a little bit of Samson in every one of us, hopefully without such drastic results.

Now the conclusion – Only the Lord Jesus can give us the love for which we have been created and only He can heal our conflicts and lead us into the present reality of his Kingdom.  Jesus is as much for Now as any future life that might exist beyond the grave.

I don’t say that Jesus solves all our problems. But he does help us live with them

Celtic-Spirituality

Free speech now revoked and recent history scrubbed for the sake of a cult hero

It is very interesting that Malcolm has taken it upon himself to push his cult hero Teilhard de Chardin whilst allowing no criticism of this man’s heretcal writings and views. Now if this is what Chalcedon is going to allow at AATW there is no longer any reason to express critiques or evaluations of views in the comment boxes; for it is obvious that Malcolm wants to scrub information that reflects poorly on Teilhard and equally on himself. The following 2 things are certain:

  1. That his cult leader Teilhard’s orthodoxy was roundly disputed in the comment boxes of his 3 posts by him and all have been summarily disposed.
  2. That his response to criticism of Teilhard’s new age works were met with ad hominems, insults and crude responses which is presummably another reason why they were deleted. As to which has more weight in his reason to do this would be speculation so I will give them both equal weight.

Today’s post as well, with my two comments and links was deleted and then reposted without the comments.

Progressive liberals are well known for the same tactics. For it seems that they cannot deal with anyone who does not agree with them, praise them or gush over their infallible right thinking. They wish to change history, rewrite history or burn history so that only their narrative remains.

Unless Chalcedon puts an end to this fascist reaction, all we will have left is a one-sided view that allows no dissent. If that is what is wanted I will not even read what is written here much less respond. This is worse than fake news it is contrived propaganda that is edited to raise the writer’s esteem and to diminish any opposition to the writer’s held belief.

I think Malcolm should rename this last entry: Breaking Wind instead of Breaking Shells. This is an insult to those who participate on this blog.

+++++++

So that it is not lost on those who think the Catholic Church is OK with Teilhard let me resurrect some links for those who missed them after Malcolm deleted them:

TEILHARD DE CHARDIN

http://absoluteprimacyofchrist.org/critique-of-fr-teilhard-de-chardin-by-dr-dietrich-von-hildebrand/

https://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDFTEILH.HTM

http://eponymousflower.blogspot.com.es/2014/01/false-obedience-and-rehabilitation-of.html

http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/modernism/Teilhard.pdf

To today’s post by Malcolm:

https://msgrfoy.com/2014/01/03/teilhard-de-chardin-arch-heretic-by-monsignor-vincent-foy/

Is your best defense of Teilhard the testimony of your housecat?

“Some of the traditions which flow into New Age are: ancient Egyptian occult practices, Cabbalism, early Christian gnosticism, Sufism, the lore of the Druids, Celtic Christianity, mediaeval alchemy, Renaissance hermeticism, Zen Buddhism, Yoga and so on.(15)”

FOOTNOTE

(15)In late 1977, Marilyn Ferguson sent a questionnaire to 210 “persons engaged in social transformation”, whom she also calls “Aquarian Conspirators”. The following is interesting: “When respondents were asked to name individuals whose ideas had influenced them, either through personal contact or through their writings, those most often named, in order of frequency, were Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, C.G. Jung, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Aldous Huxley, Robert Assagioli, and J. Krishnamurti. “Others frequently mentioned: Paul Tillich, Hermann Hesse, Alfred North Whitehead, Martin Buber, Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson, Tarthang Tulku, Alan Watts, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Muktananda, D.T. Suzuki, Thomas Merton, Willis Harman, Kenneth Boulding, Elise Boulding, Erich Fromm, Marshall McLuhan, Buckminster Fuller, Frederic Spiegelberg, Alfred Korzybski, Heinz von Foerster, John Lilly, Werner Erhard, Oscar Ichazo, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Joseph Chilton Pearce, Karl Pribram, Gardner Murphy, and Albert Einstein”: The Aquarian Conspiracy. Personal and Social Transformation in Our Time, Los Angeles (Tarcher) 1980, p. 50 (note 1) and p. 434. “ __ PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR CULTURE, PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE, JESUS CHRIST THE BEARER OF THE WATER OF LIFE A Christian reflection on the “New Age”

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/interelg/documents/rc_pc_interelg_doc_20030203_new-age_en.html

Note: the first and most mentioned person of the “Aquarian Conspiritors” among the most notable influences to this New Ageism is Teilhard. I’ll gladly stick to the teachings of the Catholic Faith and not jettison Her truths for an ‘outsider” which is code for one who is outside the teachings of the Church.

 

Breaking shells.

chick-emerging-from-egg

“And so I have often said , – The shell must be cracked apart, if what is in it is to come out; for if you want the kernel you must break the shell. (Meister Eckhart in his German Sermon “Hanc Dicit Dominus.” 

Many  thinkers such as Teilhard de Chardin were not fearful of breaking the shell to get at the kernel. In all probability what’s inside, if creative enough, will emerge by itself.

As Fr Teilhard has said a number of times. – “In all things there is a Within, coextensive with their Without.”

“Deep within ourselves we can discern, as through a rent an “interior” at the heart of things; and this glimpse is sufficient to force upon us the conviction that this “interior” exists and has always existed everywhere in nature…the stuff of the universe has an inner face that is in its very structure.” (Fr Teilhard.)

I find that very helpful in thinking about the immensity of the Cosmos in relation to ourselves.

Fr Teilhard de Chardin was an outsider, not a heretic as some posters on this forum would have us believe. Many of the most creative thinkers have been outsiders. One of the classic outsiders was Charles Darwin whose “Origin of Species” caused an uproar in Victorian Britain. Yet to-day we have learned not only to live with his researches but also to accommodate them within the wider Christian perspective.

With the advent of powerful radio telescopes and even more  complicated means such as the Hubble space craft we know that our universe is immense.

220px-Hubble_ultra_deep_field_high_rez_edit1

This high-resolution image of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field  includes galaxies of various ages, sizes, shapes, and colors. The smallest, reddest galaxies, are some of the most distant galaxies to have been imaged by an optical telescope.

It was upon the “Physics” of the Universe that Fr Teilhard built up his mysticism. He envisioned the whole of evolution being reduced to a process of union with God, becoming in its totality, loving and lovable in the innermost and most ultimate of its developments.

Fr Teilhard died long before the Hubble Telescope began to explore the deepest reaches of outerspace, but his vision is as real for to-day as it was in the last century.

He writes – “I give the name of cosmic sense to the more or less confused affinity that binds us psychologically to the ALL which envelops us. The existence of this feeling is indubitable, and apparently as old  as the beginning of thought. The Cosmic sense must have been born as soon as man found himself facing the forest, the sea and the stars. And since then we find evidence of it in all the experience of the great and unbounded: in art, in poetry, in religion. Though it we react to the world “as a whole” as with our eyes to light. “

dawn-haze

My cat likes to go out at night. I look out of my bedroom window and there he is sitting on the lawn looking up at the stars. I go out, and on  seeing me he springs up into my arms and cuddles up against me.

Pope Francis; Man of the People.

New pope greets crowds in Vatican City

Pope Francis is possibly the Catholic Church’s most valuable asset.

Pope Francis in 2015  visited the United States. This was a momentous and earth shaking  event that has left many lives changed.  This included the then current United States House of Representative Speaker John Boehner.

What is it about this man that is so contagious? Is it his genuineness? His beautiful selfless acts of compassion (like kissing the feet of Aid victims and allowing the children to come near him)? Is it his humour? It could be all of this and more. It is because of his God given Compassion and the action of the Holy Spirit in his life. Thank God for him.

The truth is that Pope Francis is one of the most interesting individuals on our planet  today. He could even be one of the most fascinating and attractive  Popes ever! Facts about Pope Francis may confirm this statement. For example, did you know that his Holiness studied philosophy at the Catholic University of Buenos Aires and also has a master’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires? It’s a fact. He has a brilliant brain and can speak the language of science.

How about the fact that Pope Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere and the first non-European pope since the Syrian Gregory III in 741. Probably one of  folk’s favourite facts is that  he worked as a bouncer in a Buenos Aries bar to help pay for his studies (in other words, don’t mess with this pope.)

Pope Francis is a people’s Pope and he slowly going to change the entire face of the Roman Catholic Church. He’s a people person. Things in the Catholic Church will never be the same again.

Pope Francis’ dialogue with Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was a momentous advance in ecumenical relationships.That they were both as Bishops of the Church to meet and share fellowship was wonderful. It was a real joy to see them standing together in this photo.

Pope with Archbishop

Now he’s going to visit Egypt. Whatever we may think of Islam, the Pope is prepared to hold out the hand of friendship to Muslims.

May the Lord protect him and bless his Papacy,  God’s Man for this 21st Century. He’s a Jesus Man. Alleluia.

jesus-healing-a-young-boy-goodsalt-lwjas0037

Inflexible attitudes do Jesus more harm than good.

jesus teaching

Theology which includes philosophy and dogma as well as a variety of other disciplines is akin to poetry. Neither poetry or theology are easy flowing rivers. Both are fountains from which meaning can be slowly drawn. No two individuals are the same and different ideas or ways of thinking suit different people. Psychology plays an important role in all this. poetry and theology require creative and sustained reading. There is rarely any quick clarity in any discipline that is worth effort and time to assimilate.

Get a group of people together talking about any subject and you’ll discover very quickly that there are no easy answers.

When I was an undergraduate I took the study of John’s Gospel in Koine Greek  as my special subject. It wasn’t too long before I had to cope with views and ideas that seemed to be totally at odds with each other. All seemed to be right and all seemed to be wrong. One had to pick and choose and come to a conclusion. I found Raymond E. Brown’s commentaries on St John to be the most intelligent and meaningful. I still do and his new introduction to the Gospel of John published after his death and completed by Fr Francis J.Moloney is superb. (Fr Raymond Brown died in 1998.) The new introduction was published in 2003.

The entire Bible is closer to poetry than newspaper speak. Theology is much the same. There is no one meaning in any theological debate among a group of Christians. We don’t live in a world to-day where we can claim infallible authority for anything. Every text is filtered through the eyes of the reader, ( the ears of the listener)

As Marilynne Robinson has written in her novel Gilead, “nothing  true can be said about God  from a posture of defence”. We all know how biblical and theological bullets can be fired in debates to score against the enemy. Such vaporized readings and dogmatic utterances will never win souls.

The ultra dogmatic approach to faith fails to recognize something else – that from its very beginnings the human intuition that the world is a gift, that it has a divine origin,  and that life and love come from this same source, was explored and shared poetically. No other language could possibly begin to do justice to the inspiring, daunting mysteries of reality itself. The Book of Genesis is the classic example of imaginative and poetic inspiration that says as much about its authors, (J.E.D&P) as of course “God.”

Ever since priests and peoples of the world’s religions have been aware of the numinous they have opened their arms to invoke the name of God and have done so in poetic scriptures pouring from their lips and dramatized into movement and liturgy. It is also striking that the Holy Texts of the world’s religions, believed by many to be revealed by God as holy wisdom from beyond the human mind,  are often found in poetic form. It is acknowledged by the world’s religious devotees that God is very clearly a poet.

christ-appears-on-the-road-to-emmaus-large

After the seas are all cross’d, (as they seem already cross’d,)
After the great captains and engineers have accomplish’d their work,
After the noble inventors, after the scientists, the chemist, the geologist, ethnologist,
Finally shall come the poet worthy that name,
The true son of God shall come singing his songs.

(Walt Whitman)

Quoted in Walter Brueggemann’s Finally comes the poet – Daring Speech for Proclomation. (Brueggmannn is Old Testament Professor at Columbia Theological Seminary, Atlanta.

 

 

 

Fr Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

220px-Teilhard_de_Chardin(1)

Whilst rummaging through some old note books earlier today I came across this beautiful quotation from Teilhard de Chardin’s Hymn of the Universe. Years ago he was recommended to me by the Anglican Chaplain to London  University.  At the time I was going through a period of doubt and uncertainty about God. I was seventeen when I went up to London  to read for a medical degree at Guy’s .  Here is the quotation.

” Since once again, Lord – though this time not in the forests of the Aisne but in the steppes of Asia – I have neither bread, nor wine, nor altar, I will raise myself beyond these symbols, up to the pure majesty of the Real itself; I, your priest, will make the whole earth my altar and on it will offer you all the labours and sufferings of the world.

Over there, on the horizon, the sun has just touched with light the outermost fringe of the eastern sky. Once again, beneath this moving sheet of fire, the living surface of the earth wakes and trembles, and once again begins its fearful travail. I will place on my paten, O God, the harvest to be won by this renewal of labour. Into my chalice I shall pour all the sap which is to be pressed out this day from the earth’s fruits.

My paten and my chalice are the depths of a soul laid widely open to all the forces which in a moment will rise up from every corner of the earth and converge upon the Spirit. Grant me the remembrance and the mystic presence of all those whom the light is now awakening to the new day.

(Page 19 of Hymn of the Universe.)

In the 60’s Fr Teilhard was much in vogue especially among Anglicans. A few years ago I made a pilgrimage to Clermont – Ferrand where he was born.

De Chardin was simultaneously a man of the earth and a man of God.  His entire life was a continual study of, alternatively and together, the one and the other;  geology and palaeontology on the on hand and, and philosophy and theology on the other.  On both sides he made a valuable contribution to knowledge.  However his unique and enduring achievement is to have brought earth and heaven together in a bold and imaginative and deeply realized synthesis. It was profoundly realized in the sense that it took account of all the facts and faced all the difficulties, theoretical and practical involved in his great enterprise.

At the time his views were largely rejected by his Church, but to-day there is further need to study them. His synthesis is very germane to the holistic, ecological, post- modern and global ideas of to-day.  Fr Teilhard’s strong life and earth affirming spirituality is only rarely and fully grasped and comprehended.  It is his spirituality above all, the strength and inspirational power of his spiritual vision that needs to be better known.  It can give so much to so many and answer many question that thinking people are asking to-day.

The following  is an excerpt from the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

“Teilhard’s attempts to combine Christian thought with modern science and traditional philosophy aroused widespread interest and controversy when his writings were published in the 1950s. Teilhard aimed at a metaphysic of evolution, holding that it was a process converging toward a final unity that he called the Omega point. He attempted to show that what is of permanent value in traditional philosophical thought can be maintained and even integrated with a modern scientific outlook if one accepts that the tendencies of material things are directed, either wholly or in part, beyond the things themselves toward the production of higher, more complex, more perfectly unified beings. Teilhard regarded basic trends in matter – gravitation, inertia, electromagnetism, and so on – as being ordered toward the production of progressively more complex types of aggregate. This process led to the increasingly complex entities of atoms, molecules, cells, and organisms, until finally the human body evolved, with a nervous system sufficiently sophisticated to permit rational reflection, self-awareness, and moral responsibility. While some evolutionists regard man simply as a prolongation of the Pliocene fauna – an animal more successful than the rat or the elephant – Teilhard argued that the appearance of man brought an added dimension into the world. This he defines as the birth of reflection: animals know, but man knows that he knows; he has “knowledge to the square.”

sunset Jaffa.jpg