Many / One

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Compiled by JoAnn Kite

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Writings in Time of War
Pierre Teilhard deChardin
Written at the front and in the trenches during World War I, these essays contain the core of Teilhard deChardin's thought. His central theme is the unity of all life.

1 "God, who is as immense and all-embracing as matter, and at the same time as warm and intimate as a soul, is the Centre who spreads through all things."

2 "Seek in utter darkness the dawn of God."

3 "Charity [love] is the force that stops beings from shutting themselves up in a self-centered folding-in of their energies, and makes them 'unbutton', open themselves and surrender themselves to one another."

4 "God has made good will the basis upon which our supernatural growth is founded. The pure heart, the right intention, are the organs of the higher life towards which all the soul's hopes are directed."

5 "Like particles immersed in one and the same spiritual fluid, souls cannot think or pray or act or move, without waves being produced, even by the most insignificant among them, which set the others in motion."

6 "The deeper I descend into myself, the more I find God at the heart of my being."

7 "If the Will of God is seen with sufficient intensity and realism it positively transforms the universe. It animates and softens all that we suffer; it stimulates and directs all that we initiate; it abolishes chance. It makes it possible for us to live, physically and for ever, within the divine Unity."

8 "The inter-personal contains the hopes of higher union on which evolution lives. It is the milieu of the monads' mutual attraction and confluence that sustains their final centre of coalescence."

9 "In the material universe it is Spirit, and in Spirit it is the moral sphere, which are eminently the PRESENT centre in which life develops. It is into this flexible core of ourselves, accordingly, where divine grace mingles with the natural impulses of the Earth, that we have forcefully to direct the power of faith."

10 "Basically, the whole of the world's psychism [psyche] gravitates towards a single centre."

11 "Morality is generally regarded as a system of actions and relationships that are biologically secondary, less immediate and less physical than material or vital relationships. This is a great mistake. One has only to study, from the point of view of creative union, its role in the evolution of living beings, in order to see how profound is the morphogenic power of the Good."

12 "This is the classic teaching: God, who is 'his own being' is at the same time 'the being of all'."

13 "Blessings on the philosophy that shows us that the cohesion of things is destined to be completed!"

14 "Every encounter that brings me a caress, that spurs me on, that comes as a shock to me, that bruises or breaks me, is a contact with the hand of God, which assumes countless forms and yet always commands our worship. Every element of which I am made up is an overflow from God."

15 "I believe that the world records everything good and useful that is done in it; it notes and assimilates to itself every movement and every impulse that is fitted to harmonize with its own becoming, of whose real goodness there can be no doubt."

16 "In the domain of morality the Divine and the Terrestrial meet and are fused into one."

17 "Charity [love] safeguards the development of the universe and keeps it to the true path of its progress. Moral effort is the continuation in our souls of the same dynamic effort that gave us our bodies."

18 "God is at work within life. He helps it, raises it up, gives it the impulse that drives it along, the appetite that attracts it, the growth that transforms it. I can feel God, touch Him, 'live' Him in the deep biological current that runs through my soul."

19 "The Real incessantly reawakens us to an impassioned awareness of a wider expansion and an all-embracing unity."

20 "The more we lose all foothold in the darkness and instability of the future, the more deeply we penetrate into God."

21 "Like knots spaced out along a cord, or like the folds into which a single curtain falls, or the eddies forming on one and the same surface, everything that moves and lives in the universe represents, in one particular aspect, the modifications of one and the same thing."

22 "If man believes with sufficient vigour in the force that is creating him, he will soon find that, for all its terrifying uncertainty, the future provides him with a solid footing as he advances."

23 "All living beings are but one being."

24 "Everything that is active, that moves or breathes, every physical, astral, or animate energy, every fragment of force, every spark of life, is equally sacred; for, in the humblest atom and the most brilliant star, in the lowest insect and the finest intelligence, there is the radiant smile and thrill of the same Absolute."

25 "Evolution is holy. There we have the truth that makes us free."

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite