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Some Favorite Teilhard Quotes (by Brie Stoner)

Gabrielle (Brie) Stoner shares some of her favorite quotes by scientist, priest, philosopher, and mystical visionary Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955):

On God and Creation

“Henceforth (and it is here without any doubt that we should look for the underlying source of the modern religious uneasiness of mind) nothing but a God of cosmogenesis—that is a creator of the ‘animating’ type—can come up to the full measure of our capacity for worship.

We must … at all costs retain the primordial transcendence of this new evolutive God, who rises up at the heart of the old maker-God; for, if he had not pre-emerged from the world, how could he be for the world an issue and a consummation lying ahead?…

In a system of convergent cosmogenesis, to create is for God is to unite. To unite, to form one with something, is to be immersed in it; but to be immersed (in the plural) is to become a particle within it. And to become a particle in a world whose arrangement statistically entails disorder (and mechanically calls for effort) is to plunge into error and suffering, in order to overcome them.

And thus it is that there gradually emerges a remarkable and fruitful connection between theology and Christology.” (Teilhard, Activation of Energy, 262-263)


The meaning of man’s consciousness and what it means for the future

“The universe in which we are involved displays indisputably a bias toward the spirit not of diffusion but of concentration. Through the the thousands of millions of years in which we can follow its course, cosmogenesis has continually developed in the form of noogenesis, in other words in the direction of an equilibrium that lies not this side, but the further side, of all organization and all thought.

Phenomen of Man book cover

In such a system there is no room for even a partial retrogression of the reflective toward s the unconscious. …

In planetary terms, the human forms but one. It is therefore as one body (that is, in a unanimous movement) that it must abandon the mirage of a mysticism of relaxation and conform to the particular type of spirit determined for it by the immutable axes of a convergent universe.” (Teilhard, Activation of Energy, p.224)
“Man is not the center of the universe as once we thought in our simplicity, but something much more wonderful-the arrow pointing the way to the final unification of the world in the terms of life.” (Teilhard, The Phenomenon of Man, 220-221)

“Evolution is now … gaining the psychic zones of the world and transferring to the spiritual constructions of life not only the cosmic stuff but also the cosmic “primacy” hitherto reserved by science to the tangled whirlwind of the ancient “ether.” ” (Teilhard, ed. King, Teilhard de Chardin, 87)


The Promise of Christ in Matter all along and into the future

“The endless aeons that preceded the first Christmas are not empty of Christ but impregnated by his potent influx. It is the ferment of his conception that sets the cosmic masses in motion and controls the first currents of the biosphere. It is the preparation for his birth that accelerates the progress of instinct and the full development of thought on earth.” (Teilhard, ed.King, Teilhard de Chardin, 99)

Activation of Energy book cover“God cannot appear as prime mover (ahead) without first becoming incarnate and without redeeming-in other words without our seeing that he becomes Christified*, and in which, by way of complement, Christ can no longer “justify” man except by that same act super-creating the entire universe.  {* From this point of view the ‘triune’ is now seen not as a higher continuation, but as the very heart of the ‘Christic.’} “ (Teihard, Activation of Energy, 263)

“If Christ is (in the words of St. Paul) to incorporate all things in himself and then to return to the bosom of the Father ‘with the world gathered up in himself’, it is not enough (as, maybe, we used to think it was that he supernaturally sanctify a harvest of souls-he must do more, and in that same movement, he must creatively carry the noogenesis of the cosmos to the natural term of its maturity.” (Teilhard, Activation of Energy, 264)


Evolution is a conscious choice, our participation matters to matter!

We ourselves are responsible and linked with the emergence of new possible psychic dimensions. It is our choice to participate in evolution. (Teilhard, ed. King, Teilhard de Chardin, 116)

“Evolution, by becoming conscious of itself in the depth of ourselves, only need to look at itself in the mirror to perceive itself in all its depths, and to decipher itself. In addition it becomes free to dispose of itself-it can give itself or refuse itself. Not only do we read in our slightest act the secret of its proceedings but for an elementary part we hold it in our hands, responsible for its past to its future.” (Teilhard, Phenomenon of Man, 226)

“The actual flow of evolution, which, against all probability, was assumed to have come to a halt on earth with the appearance of man, resumes its normal course. If the terrestrial grains of thought can still combine among themselves, man is no longer an inexplicable dead end in the cosmic process of noogenesis: in him, and through him, the rise of consciousness is continuing beyond man himself.” (Teilhard, Activation of Energy, 68)


The Incarnation: Cosmogenesis is Christogenesis

Ursula King’s stellar anthology, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin“Nothing can be absorbed into things except through the road of matter, by ascent from plurality. For Christ to make his way into the world by any side road would be incomprehensible. The redeemer could penetrate the stuff of the cosmos, could pour himself into the life-blood of the universe, only by first dissolving into matter, later to be reborn from it.” (Teilhard, ed.king, Teilhard de Chardin, 98)

Christ the redeemer is also Christ the Evolver. … “ To sum up, cosmogenesis reveals itself along the lines of its main axis, first as biogenesis and then noogenesis and finally culminates in the Christogenesis which every Christian venerates.” (Teilhard, ed.King, Teilhard de Chardin, 115)

“If it is true that it is through Christ-Omega that the universe in movement holds together, then it is from his concrete germ, the man of Nazareth, that Christ Omega derives his whole consistence. The two terms are intrinsically one whole and they cannot vary in a truly total Christ, except simultaneously.” (Teilhard, ed.King, Teilhard de Chardin, 98)

In the person of Jesus, Christ becomes inoculated in matter. (Teilhard, ed King, Teilhard de Chardin, 64)

“God cannot appear as prime mover (ahead) without first becoming incarnate and without redeeming—in other words without our seeing that he becomes Christified; and in which by way of complement Christ can no longer ‘justify’ man except by that same act super-creating the entire universe.” (Teilhard, The Activation of Energy, 264)


Cultivating the “Zest for Life” which animates evolution, ie, the role of religion!

“ In a world which has become conscious of its own self and provides its own motive force, what is most vitally necessary to the thinking earth is a faith—and a great faith—and ever more faith.

To know that we are not prisoners.
To know that there is a way out, that there is air, and light, and love, somewhere, beyond the reach of all death.
To know this, to know that it is neither an illusion nor a fairy story.
—That, if we are not to perish smothered in the very stuff of our being, is what we must at all costs secure.

And it is there that we find what I may be so bold as to call the evolutionary role of religions.” (Teilhard, Activation of Energy, 238)

“In us, evolution (in Julian Huxley’s phrase) has become conscious, dangerously and critically so—conscious and perfected to the point of being able to control its own driving forces and to rebound upon itself. But what good would this great cosmic event be to us if we were to lose the zest for evolution?” (Teilhard, Activation of Energy, 237)

Evolution will coincide in concrete terms with the crowning of the Incarnation awaited by all Christians. The two vectors , or components as they are better called, veer and draw together until they give a possible resultant. The supernaturalizing Christian Above is incorporated (not immersed) in the human Ahead! And at the same time Faith in God, in the very degree in which it assimilates and sublimates within its own spirit the spirit of Faith in the World, regains all its power to attract and convert! …

let there be revealed to us the possibility of believing at the same time and wholly in God and the World, the one through the other; let this belief burst forth, as it is ineluctably in process of doing under the pressure of these seemingly opposed forces, and then, we may be sure of it, a great flame will illumine all things: for a Faith will have been born (or reborn) containing and embracing all others—and, inevitably, it is the strongest Faith which sooner or later must possess the Earth.” (Teilhard, The Future of Man, 268)


The role of sin and suffering in an evolutionary framework

hymn_of_the_universe“Suffering holds hidden within it, in extreme intensity, the ascensional force of the world. The whole point is to set this force free by making it conscious of what it signifies and of what it is capable…If all those who suffer in the world were to unite their sufferings so that the pain of the world should become one single grand act of consciousness, of sublimation, of unification, would not this be one of the most exalted forms in which the mysterious work of creation could be manifested to our eyes?” (Teilhard, The Hymn of the Universe, 93-94)

“The forest and the big city—and nature herself—lose their horror and arouse love the moment we recognize around us a radiating system of paths, or roads, or lines of evolution, and so feel certain that, however thick the undergrowth may be, however inhospitable the district, however dark the life we are passing through, warmth and friendship and shelter are waiting for us at the center of the star—and we can no longer lose our way to them.” (Teilhard, Activation of Energy, 193)

“We are realizing that within the vast process of arrangement from which life emerges, every success is necessarily paid for by a large percentage of failures. One cannot progress in being without paying a mysterious tribute of tears , blood, and sin.” (Teilhard, Activation of Energy, 247)

“ In such a system, which advances by tentative gropings, the laws of large numbers make it absolutely inevitable that every step towards order is paid for by failures, by disintegrations, by discordances: the proportion of these depends upon certain cosmic constants which it is impossible to determine, but to which it would certainly be useless to claim to fix a priori an upper limit beyond which one could say that the world was corrupted or evil.

…Evil is thus a secondary effect, an inevitable by-product of the progress of a universe in evolution.” (Teilhard, Activation of Energy, 260)


On Christ Omega

A. The revealed Christ is identical with Omega
B. It is inasmuch as he is Omega, that he is seen to be attainable and inevitably present in all things.
C. Finally, it was in order that he might become Omega that it was necessary for him, through the travail of his incarnation, to conquer and animate the universe. (Teilhard, ed.King, Teilhard de Chardin, 99)

TdCImage“St. Paul’s boldest sayings readily take on a literal meaning as soon as the world is seen to be suspended, by its conscious side, from an Omega point of convergence, and Christ, in virtue of his incarnation, is recognized as carrying out precisely the functions of Omega.” (Teilhard, ed.King, Teilhard de Chardin, 94)

“Everywhere he (Christ) draws us to him and brings us closer to himself, in a universal movement of convergence toward spirit. It is he alone whom we seek and in whom we move. But if we are to hold him we must take all things to, and even beyond, the utmost limit of their nature and their capacity for progress. Of the cosmic Christ, we may say both that he is and that he is still growing.” (Teilhard, ed.King, Teilhard de Chardin, 274-278)

“After a million years of reflection, there is a dynamic meeting in the consciousness of man between heaven and earth at least endowed with motion, and from it there emerges not simply a world that manages to survive but a world that kindles into fire! “ (Teilhard, Activation of Energy, 280)



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