One story that really rang a bell for me in the new film on Teilhard was this: The original buzz saw he ran into with the Vatican happened from a modest article he wrote on Original Sin.  That was the match that first lit a fire against him, a fire that died down.

“Targeted by the Inquisition.” Matthew Fox speaks with Paul Jay of The Real News Network about the events leading up to his being silenced by the Vatican.

It rang a bell because my book, Original Blessing, treated the same topic, namely original sin, and it is what got me in so much trouble with orthodox hunters 65 years after Teilhard.  He stayed in the Jesuits but always on the edge and in exile (after China came the US).  I was expelled from my Order for refusing to walk away from my work in Creation Spirituality.

Teilhard reacted early in his life against the spirituality of Thomas a Kempis in his book, Imitation of Christ, because it espoused a “flight from the world” and proposed that the real world is heaven.  It proposed a “contempt for the world.”  Did this mean Teilhard had to give up his passion for studying rocks?  And choose between God or the earth? 

One with the All. Kheerganga Trek, Khir Ganga, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo by Kunal Goswami on Unsplash

Such concerns are basic to anyone embarking on a Creation Spirituality perspective.  I too read Kempis as a teenager, and I cite him disapprovingly in an early book for telling us that “every time I go into creation I withdraw from God.”

For Teilhard, “matter is energy and energy is spirit.  Therefore the universe is a spiritual universe.”  

That is Creation Spirituality.  He learned to move beyond dualism which, in his words, “disappeared like mist in a rising sun.”

Matter is not dead or inanimate “but infused with Spirit.”  Evolution is an unfinished creation that still continues.  

Christ is at work in the cosmos and creation.  One is to “love Christ and the universe.”  He dedicated his Divine Milieu, “for those who love the world.”  

“Introduction to the Noosphere: The Planetary Mind” Narrator Brian Swimme expands upon Teilhard’s concept of the noosphere as an emerging superorganism or planetary mind. Human Energy

It is easy to see Teilhard as a key figure in the Creation Spirituality movement and lineage.  He has come a long way from Thomas a Kempis.  And he beckons us to heed the future. 

As cosmologist Brian Swimme said recently in a gathering of CSC (Creation Spirituality Communities) where we each presented and dialogued with each other, Teilhard’s term “Omega” is a vocation, a calling, a final cause inviting us to the next stage of our evolution, the unification of our species.

See Matthew Fox, Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality.

And Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth.

And Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Postdenominational Priest.

Banner Image: The healing energies of nature. Photo by Patrick on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

Are you on board with Teilhard that our universe is a spiritual and sacred place infused with Spirit?

Recommended Reading

Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology): the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
Original Blessing makes available to the Christian world and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated.” –Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story

Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest (Revised/Updated Edition)

Matthew Fox’s stirring autobiography, Confessions, reveals his personal, intellectual, and spiritual journey from altar boy, to Dominican priest, to his eventual break with the Vatican. Five new chapters in this revised and updated edition bring added perspective in light of the author’s continued journey, and his reflections on the current changes taking place in church, society and the environment.
“The unfolding story of this irrepressible spiritual revolutionary enlivens the mind and emboldens the heart — must reading for anyone interested in courage, creativity, and the future of religion.”
—Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self

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5 thoughts on “More Stories and Teachings from Teilhard de Chardin”

  1. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    Yes I am daily learning to ride the wave of the sacredness of all matter infused with spirit that balances and harmonizes the all and the everything of creation. I’ve often sensed and glimpsed…. that heaven is here on earth, that the as above and the so below, the natural world and the spiritual realm are ONE… and that all of creation mirror reflects this reality… each one manifesting the beauty of its authentic expression of this ONENESS… all contributing to the WHOLENESS of this sacred union.

    It’s as if all matter is like a link… creating a bridge… that allows us to experience and encounter both the natural world and the spiritual realm simultaneously. Throughout this journey the chasim of seperation and duality is seen for what it is… nothing but an illusion of our own making… rooted in fear.

    A key to crossing the threshold of this illusionary gap is to… “Be not afraid”…to face what we fear… and to respond with compassionate and loving trust… to that living mysterious Spirit which is always present in its presence and essence… that is within, for and moving through all.

  2. Avatar

    Yes! Even in the Omniverse! Alfred Lambremont Weber’s book, “The Dimensional Ecology of the Omniverse” (2014) integrates empirical data from intelligent civilizations in the multiverse and from the intelligent civilizations of souls in the Interlife (non physical spiritual dimensions), demonstrating a functional ecology of intelligence in the multidimensions of the Omniverse.”

  3. Avatar
    Michael Dawkins

    I am in complete agreement with Teilhard about our universe. How can one not be. God created all, the oneness of which we all share. Thank you, Jeanette for your comment today.

  4. Avatar

    Thomas a Kempis wrote a how-to manual and advertisement for monastic contemplation. Many monks and meditators used a similar boilerplate set of ascetic techniques and teachings, inherited from Stoicism..

    Buddha, attempting to become an ascetic-Mystic, had the important insight that (some of ) the well-known assumptions on the Mystical Path, such as the IDEA of “worldly temptations” (indulgence in sex, food, etc.) were NOT “sacred Truths” or “essential elements” of the Mystical Path, but were vehicles of conceptual framing, useful but NOT always required, to help people wean themselves from habits and distractions toward a deeper, non-dualistic life. Buddha also noted that a fanatic focus on “temptations” such as eating, left people deathly sick and led many to spiritual pride and competition.

    Western Christianity chose to define ascetic practices as “sacred elements of Mysticism” and elevated asceticism’s most extremist, dualistic interpretation (“world-is-bad/”evil” temptation”) into a full-fledged “Sacred Truth.”

    It hid the authentically Biblical NON-dualistic (Neo-Platonic) Mystical Theology/Revelation.

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