Season of Creation in the Company of Teilhard de Chardin (Days 1-10)
September 01, 2021
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.


The annual Season of Creation runs from September 1 – October 4, Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.  This ecumenical endeavor is designed to highlight the ecological crisis and Christian responsibility to care for the earth, “our common home,” as Pope Francis calls it.  In 2021 this will hopefully be “a time of restoration and hope, a jubilee for our Earth, and to discover radically new ways of living with creation.”  A wealth of resources for this purpose can be found at

We will be taking Fr. Pierre Teilhard Chardin (+1955) as our guide throughout the season. This Jesuit priest, paleontologist, evolutionary theorist and mystic has done more than anyone to rekindle our wonder before creation as the “divine milieu,” at the heart of which is the person and work of Christ in the unfolding mystery of Incarnation.

You are invited to make as part of your daily prayer in the coming weeks the following passages of Scripture, accompanied by a psalm-verse, a meditation and a prayer by Fr. Teilhard.

September 1

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good.

And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’

And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.’ And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good (Gen 1:1-2, 11-12, 20-21).

 O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!  You have set your glory above the heavens (Ps 8:1).


We may, perhaps, imagine that the creation was finished long ago. But that would be quite wrong. It continues still more magnificently, and at the highest levels of the world, Omnis creatura adhuc ingemiscit etparturit. [The whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now]. And we serve to complete it, even by the humblest work of our hands. That is, ultimately, the meaning and value of our acts. Owing to the interrelation between matter, soul and Christ, we bring part of the being which he desires back to God in whatever we do. With each one of our works, we labour—in individual separation, but no less really—to build the Pleroma; that is to say, we bring to Christ a little fulfilment. Each one of our works, by its more or less remote or direct effect upon the spiritual world, helps to make perfect Christ in his mystical totality. That is the fullest possible answer to the question: How can we, following the call of St. Paul, see God in all the active half of our lives? In fact, through the unceasing operation of the Incarnation, the divine so thoroughly permeates all our creaturely energies that, in order to meet it and lay hold on it, we could not find a more fitting setting than that of our action. To begin with, in action I adhere to the creative power of God; I coincide with it; I become not only its instrument but its living extension” (The Divine Milieu; DM)


What would become of our souls, Lord, if they lacked the bread of earthly reality to nourish them, the wine of created beauty to intoxicate them, the discipline of human struggle to make them strong? What puny powers and bloodless hearts your creatures would bring to you were they to cut themselves off prematurely from the providential setting in which you have placed them! Show us, Lord, how to contemplate the Sphinx: without being beguiled into error; how to grasp the mystery hidden here on earth in the womb of death, not by refinements of human learning but in the simple concrete act of your redemptive immersion in matter. Through the sufferings of your incarnate life reveal to us, and then teach us to harness jealously for you, the spiritual power of matter.

(Unless otherwise noted, these prayers were selected by Fernande Tardivel from Teilhard’s published and unpublished works.)

September 2

Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’

So God created humankind in his image,
   in the image of God he created them;
   male and female he created them.

God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good (Gen 1:26-31a).

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?  Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honour. (Ps 8:3-5).


Human Energy presents itself to our view as the term of a vast process in which the whole mass of the universe is involved. In us, the evolution of the world towards the spirit becomes conscious. From that moment, our perfection, our interest, our salvation as elements of creation can only be to press on with this evolution with all our strength. We cannot yet understand exactly where it will lead us, but it would be absurd for us to doubt that it will lead us towards some end of supreme value. From this there finally emerges in our twentieth century human consciousness, for the first time since the awakening of life on earth, the fundamental problem of Action. No longer, as in the past, for our small selves, for our small family, our small country; but for the salvation and the success of the universe, how must we, modern men, organize around us for the best, the maintenance, distribution and progress of human energy? (Building the Earth).


Lord, you do not ask of me anything that is false or beyond my power to achieve. Through your self-revealing and the power of your grace you simply compel what is most human in us to become at long last aware of itself. Humanity has been sleeping — and still sleeps — lulled within the narrowly confining joys of its little closed loves. In the depths of the human multitude there slumbers an immense spiritual power which will manifest itself only when we have learnt how to break through the dividing walls of our egoism and raise ourselves up to an entirely new perspective, so that habitually and in a practical fashion we fix our gaze on the universal realities. Lord Jesus, you who are the Saviour of our human activity because you bring us a motive for acting, and the Saviour of our human pain because you endow it with a life-giving value: be also the Saviour of our human unity by compelling us to repudiate all our pettiness and, relying on you, to venture forth on to the uncharted ocean of charity.

September 3

The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying: Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you, the land shall observe a sabbath for the Lord. For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in their yield; but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of complete rest for the land, a sabbath for the Lord: you shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. You shall not reap the aftergrowth of your harvest or gather the grapes of your unpruned vine: it shall be a year of complete rest for the land. You may eat what the land yields during its sabbath—you, your male and female slaves, your hired and your bound labourers who live with you; for your livestock also, and for the wild animals in your land all its yield shall be for food. It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you: you shall not sow, or reap the aftergrowth, or harvest the unpruned vines. For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you: you shall eat only what the field itself produces (Lev 25:1-7, 10b-12)

Deal bountifully with your servant, so that I may live and observe your word.  Open my eyes, so that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. I live as an alien in the land; do not hide your commandments from me (Ps 119:17-19).


The phrase ‘Sense of the Earth” should be understood to mean the passionate concern for our common destiny which draws the thinking part of life ever further onward. In principle there is no feeling which has a firm foundation in nature, or greater power. But in fact there is also no feeling which awakens so belatedly, since it can become explicit only when our consciousness has expanded beyond the broadening, but still far too restricted, circles of family, country and race, and has finally discovered that the only truly natural and real human Unity is the Spirit of Earth (Building the Earth)


If your kingdom, my God, were of this world, I could possess you simply by surrendering myself to the forces which cause us, through suffering and dying, to grow visibly in stature— us or that which is dearer to us than ourselves. But because the term towards which the earth is moving lies not merely beyond each individual thing but beyond the totality of things; because the world travails, not to bring forth from within itself some supreme reality, but to find its consummation through a union with a preexistent Being; it follows that man can never reach the blazing center of the universe simply by living more and more for himself nor even by spending his life in the service of some earthly cause however great. The world can never be definitively united with you, Lord, save by a sort of reversal, a turning about, an excentration which must involve the temporary collapse not merely of all individual achievements but even of everything that looks like an advancement for humanity. If my being is ever to be decisively attached to yours, there must first die in me not merely the monad ego but also the world: in other words I must first pass through an agonizing phase of diminution for which no tangible compensation will be given me (Mass on the World).

September 4

Keep, then, this entire commandment that I am commanding you today, so that you may have strength to go in and occupy the land that you are crossing over to occupy, and so that you may live long in the land that the Lord swore to your ancestors to give to them and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. For the land that you are about to enter to occupy is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you sow your seed and irrigate by foot like a vegetable garden. But the land that you are crossing over to occupy is a land of hills and valleys, watered by rain from the sky, a land that the Lord your God looks after. The eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.  If you will only heed his every commandment that I am commanding you today—loving the Lord your God, and serving him with all your heart and with all your soul— then he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, and you will gather in your grain, your wine, and your oil; and he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you will eat your fill (Deut 11:8-15).

I cling to your decrees, O Lord; let me not be put to shame.  I run the way of your commandments, for you enlarge my understanding. Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes, and I will observe it to the end (Ps 119:31-33).


Let us strip Life of all its anatomical and physiological super- structure, bringing it down to the essentials of its physico-chemical nature. Reduced to its basic mechanism it shows itself to be a straightforward process of increasing complication whereby Matter contrives to arrange itself in corpuscles of ever greater volume, ever more highly organized. But do we not find that at the same time its seeming weaknesses, its fragility and appearance of extreme localization in time-space, tend to vanish? For underlying these supposedly ‘exceptional’ cellular arrangements we have first the far vaster world of molecules, and underlying this again the immense and decidedly cosmic world of atoms; two worlds displaying, the first by its inter-atomic arrangements and the second by its nuclear groupings. (each in its own way and though different procedures) precisely the same tendency to ‘fall’ into increasingly organized states of complexity  (The Future of Mankind).


[Lord Jesus, you are] the Centre at which all things meet and which stretches out over all things so as to draw them back into itself: I love you for the extensions of your body and so to the farthest corners of creation through grace through life, and through matter.

Lord Jesus, you who are as gentle as the human heart, as fiery as the forces of nature, as intimate as life itself you in whom I can melt away and with whom I must have mastery and freedom: I love you as a world, as the world which has captivated my heart; — and it is you, I now realize, that my brother-men, even those who do not believe, sense and seek throughout the magic immensities of the cosmos.

Lord Jesus, you are the centre towards which all things are moving: if it be possible, make a place for us all in the company of those elect and holy ones whom your loving care has liberated one by one from the chaos of our present existence and who now are being slowly incorporated into you in the unity of the new earth.

September 5

The Lord created me [Wisdom] at the beginning of his work,
   the first of his acts of long ago.
Ages ago I was set up,
   at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
   when there were no springs abounding with water.
Before the mountains had been shaped,
   before the hills, I was brought forth—
when he had not yet made earth and fields,
   or the world’s first bits of soil.
When he established the heavens, I was there,
   when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
when he made firm the skies above,
   when he established the fountains of the deep,
when he assigned to the sea its limit,
   so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
   then I was beside him, like a master worker;
and I was daily his delight,
   rejoicing before him always,
rejoicing in his inhabited world
   and delighting in the human race (Proverbs 8:22-31).

O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures (Ps 104:24).


It is impossible to deny that, deep within ourselves, an “interior” appears at the heart of beings....This is enough to ensure that, in one degree or another, this “interior” should obtrude itself as existing everywhere in nature from all time. Since the stuff of the universe has an inner aspect at one point of itself, there is necessarily a double aspect to its structure, that is to say in every region of space and time—in the same way, for instance, as it is granular: co-extensive with their Without, there is a Within to things....Since the inner face of the world is manifest deep within our human consciousness, and there reflects upon itself, it would seem that we have only got to look at ourselves in order to understand the dynamic relationships existing between the within and the without of things at a given point in the universe....Without the slightest doubt there is something through which material and spiritual energy hold together and are complementary. In last analysis, somehow or other, there must be a single energy operating in the world. And the first idea that occurs to us is that the “soul” must be as it were a focal point of transformation at which, from all the points of nature, the forces of bodies converge, to become interiorised and sublimated in beauty and truth (The Phenomenon of Man).


O God, whose call precedes the very first of our movements, grant me the desire to desire being—that, by means of that divine thirst which is your gift, the access to the great waters may open wide within me. Do not deprive me of the sacred taste for being, that primordial energy, that very first of our points of rest: Spiritu principali confirma me [Strengthen me with a perfect spirit].  And you whose loving wisdom forms me out of all the forces and all the hazards of the earth, grant that I may begin to sketch the outline of a gesture whose full power will only be revealed to me in presence of the forces of diminishment and death; grant that, after having desired, I may believe, and believe ardently and above all things, in your active presence (DM).

September 6

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Gird up your loins like a man,
   I will question you, and you shall declare to me.
‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
   Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
   Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
   or who laid its cornerstone
when the morning stars sang together
   and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?

‘Or who shut in the sea with doors
   when it burst out from the womb?—
when I made the clouds its garment,
   and thick darkness its swaddling band,
and prescribed bounds for it,
   and set bars and doors,
and said, “Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
   and here shall your proud waves be stopped”? (Job 38:1-11)

Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.  (Ps 89:5)


To cleave to God hidden beneath the inward and outward forces which animate our being and sustain it in its development, is ultimately to open ourselves to, and put trust in, all the breaths of life. We answer to, and “communicate” with, the passivities of growth by our fidelity in action. Hence by our very desire to experience God passively we find ourselves brought back to the lovable duty of growth. The moment has come to plumb the decidedly negative side of our existences—the side on which, however far we search, we cannot discern any happy result or any solid conclusion to what happens to us. It is easy enough to understand that God can be grasped in and through every life. But can God also be found in and through every death? This is what perplexes us deeply. And yet this is what we must learn to acknowledge as a matter of settled habit and practice, unless we abandon all that is most characteristically christian in the christian outlook; and unless we are prepared to forfeit commerce with God in one of the most widespread and at the same time most profoundly passive and receptive experiences of human life (DM).


Christ of glory, hidden power stirring in the heart of matter, glowing centre in which the unnumbered strands of the manifold are knit together; strength inexorable as the world and warm as life; you whose brow is of snow, whose eyes are of fire, whose feet are more dazzling than gold poured from the furnace; you whose hands hold captive the stars; you, the first and the last, the living, the dead, the re-born; you, who gather up in your superabundant oneness every delight, every taste, every energy, every phase of existence, to you my being cries out with a longing as vast as the universe: for you indeed are my Lord and my God (Mass on the World).

September 7

‘Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
   and caused the dawn to know its place,
so that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
   and the wicked be shaken out of it?
It is changed like clay under the seal,
   and it is dyed like a garment.
Light is withheld from the wicked,
   and their uplifted arm is broken.
‘Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
   or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
   or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
   Declare, if you know all this.
‘Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
   and where is the place of darkness,
that you may take it to its territory
   and that you may discern the paths to its home?
Surely you know, for you were born then,
   and the number of your days is great!
‘Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
   or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
   for the day of battle and war?
What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
   or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth? (Job 38:12-24)

O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways (Ps 139:1-3).


We imagine that in our sense-perceptions external reality humbly presents itself to us in order to serve us, to help in the building up of our integrity. But this is merely the surface of the mystery of knowledge; the deeper truth is that when the world reveals itself to us it draws us into itself: it causes us to flow outwards into something belonging to it everywhere present in it and more perfect than it. The man who is wholly taken up with the demands of everyday living or whose sole interest is in the outward appearances of things seldom gains more than a glimpse, at best, of this second phase in our sense-perceptions, that in which the world, having entered into us, then withdraws from us and bears us away with it: he can have only a very dim awareness of that aureole, thrilling and inundating our being, through which is disclosed to us at every point of contact the unique essence of the universe (Pensees).


When your presence, Lord, has flooded me with its light I hoped that within it I might find ultimate reality at its most tangible. But now that I have in fact laid hold on you, you who are utter consistency, and feel myself borne by you, I realize that my deepest hidden desire was not to possess you but to be possessed. It is not as a radiation of light nor as subtilized matter that I desire you; nor was it thus that I described you in my first intuitive encounter with you: it was as fire. And I can see I shall have no rest unless an active influence, coming forth from you, bears down on me to transform me.

September 8

‘Who has cut a channel for the torrents of rain,
   and a way for the thunderbolt,
to bring rain on a land where no one lives,
   on the desert, which is empty of human life,
to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
   and to make the ground put forth grass?

‘Has the rain a father,
   or who has begotten the drops of dew?
From whose womb did the ice come forth,
   and who has given birth to the hoar-frost of heaven?
The waters become hard like stone,
   and the face of the deep is frozen.

‘Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades,
   or loose the cords of Orion?
Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season,
   or can you guide the Bear with its children?
Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
   Can you establish their rule on the earth?

‘Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
   so that a flood of waters may cover you?
Can you send forth lightnings, so that they may go
   and say to you, “Here we are”?
Who has put wisdom in the inward parts,
   or given understanding to the mind?
Who has the wisdom to number the clouds?
   Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
when the dust runs into a mass
   and the clods cling together? (Job 38: 25-38)

Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it (Ps 139:4-6).


Once again the Fire has penetrated the earth. Not with sudden crash of thunderbolt, riving the mountain-tops: does the Master break down doors to enter his own home? Without earthquake, or thunderclap: the flame has lit up the whole world from within. All things individually and collectively are penetrated and flooded by it, from the inmost core of the tiniest atom to the mighty sweep of the  most universal laws of being: so naturally has it flooded every element, every energy, every connecting link in the unity of our cosmos; that one might suppose the cosmos to have burst spontaneously into flame.

In the new humanity which is begotten today the Word prolongs the unending act of his own birth; arid by virtue of his immersion in the world's womb the great waters of the kingdom of matter have, without even a ripple, been endued with life. No visible tremor marks this inexpressible transformation; and yet, mysteriously and in very truth, at the touch of the supersubstantial Word the immense host which is the universe is made flesh. Through your own incarnation, my God, all matter is henceforth incarnate.

Through our thoughts and our human experiences, we long ago became aware of the strange properties which make the universe so like our flesh: like the flesh it attracts us by the charm which lies in the mystery of its curves and folds and in the depths of its eyes; like the flesh it disintegrates and eludes us when submitted to our analyses or to our fallings off and in the process of its own perdurance; as with the flesh, it can only be embraced in the endless reaching out to attain what lies beyond the confines of what has been given to us (Mass on the World).


Lord Jesus, when it was given me to see where the dazzling trail of particular beauties and partial harmonies was leading, I recognized that it was all coming to centre on a single point, a single person: yourself. Every presence makes me feel that you are near me; every touch is the touch of your hand; every necessity transmits to me a pulsation of your will. That the Spirit may always shine forth in me, that I may not succumb to the temptation that lies in wait for every act of boldness, nor ever forget that you alone must be sought in and through everything, you, Lord, will send me — at what moments only you know — deprivations, disappointments, sorrow. What is to be brought about is more than a simple union: it is a transformation, in the course of which the only thing our human activity can do is, humbly, to make ourselves ready, and to accept. Seeing the mystic immobile, crucified or rapt in prayer, some may perhaps think that his activity is in abeyance or has left this earth: they are mistaken. Nothing in the world is more intensely alive and active than purity and prayer, which hang like an unmoving light between the universe and God. Through their serene transparency flow the waves of creative power, charged with natural virtue and with grace. What else but this is the Virgin Mary?

September 9

‘Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
   or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
when they crouch in their dens,
   or lie in wait in their covert?
Who provides for the raven its prey,
   when its young ones cry to God,
   and wander about for lack of food?

‘Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
   Do you observe the calving of the deer?
 Can you number the months that they fulfil,
   and do you know the time when they give birth,
 when they crouch to give birth to their offspring,
   and are delivered of their young?
 Their young ones become strong, they grow up in the open;
   they go forth, and do not return to them.

‘Who has let the wild ass go free?
   Who has loosed the bonds of the swift ass,
 to which I have given the steppe for its home,
   the salt land for its dwelling-place?
 It scorns the tumult of the city;
   it does not hear the shouts of the driver.
 It ranges the mountains as its pasture,
   and it searches after every green thing.

‘Is the wild ox willing to serve you?
   Will it spend the night at your crib?
 Can you tie it in the furrow with ropes,
   or will it harrow the valleys after you?
 Will you depend on it because its strength is great,
   and will you hand over your labour to it?
 Do you have faith in it that it will return,
   and bring your grain to your threshing-floor? (Job 38:39-41; 39:1-12)

Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,  even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast (Ps 139:7-10).


It is clear in the first place that the world in its present state is the outcome of movement. Whether we consider the rocky layers enveloping the Earth, the arrangement of the forms of life that inhabit it, the variety of civilisations to which it has given birth, or the structure of languages spoken upon it, we are forced to the same conclusion: that everything is the sum of the past and that nothing is comprehensible except through its history. ‘Nature’ is the equivalent of ‘becoming’, self-creation: this is the view to which experience irresistibly leads us. What can it mean except that the Universe must, at least at some stage, have been in movement; that it has been malleable, acquiring by degrees, not only in their accidental details but in their very essence, the perfections which now adorn it? There is nothing, not even the human soul, the highest spiritual manifestation we know of, that does not come within this universal law. The soul, too, has its clearly defined place in the slow ascent of living creatures towards consciousness, and must therefore in one way or another have grown out of the general mobility of things. Those who look reality in the face cannot fail to perceive this progressive genesis of the Universe, and with a clarity which leaves no room for doubt. Whatever the other side may say, clinging to their imaginary world, the Cosmos did once move, the whole of it, not only locally but in its very being. This is undeniable and we shall not discuss it further. But is it still moving? Here we have the real question, the living, burning question of Evolution (Future).


Lord, that I might hold to you the more closely, I would that my consciousness were as wide as the skies and the earth and the peoples of the earth; as deep as the past, this desert, the ocean; as tenuous as the atoms of matter or thoughts of the human heart. Must I not adhere to you everywhere throughout the entire extent of the universe? In order that I may not succumb to the temptation that lies in wait for every act of boldness, nor ever forget that you alone must be sought in and through everything, I know, Lord, that you will send me — at what moments only you know — deprivations, disappointments, sorrow. The object of my love will fall away from me, or I shall outgrow it. The flower I held in my hands withered in my hands. . .At the turn of the lane the wall rose up before me. . . Suddenly between the trees I saw the end of the forest which I thought had no end. . .The testing-time had come... But it did not bring me unalleviated sorrow. On the contrary, a glorious, unsuspected joy invaded my soul: because, in the collapse of those immediate supports I had risked giving to my life, I knew with a unique experiential certainty that I would never again rely for support on anything save your own divine stability.

September 10

 ‘Do you give the horse its might?
   Do you clothe its neck with mane?
 Do you make it leap like the locust?
   Its majestic snorting is terrible.
 It paws violently, exults mightily;
   it goes out to meet the weapons.  It laughs at fear, and is not dismayed;
   it does not turn back from the sword.
 Upon it rattle the quiver,
    the flashing spear, and the javelin.
 With fierceness and rage it swallows the ground;
   it cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet.
 When the trumpet sounds, it says “Aha!”
   From a distance it smells the battle,
   the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

 ‘Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars,
   and spreads its wings towards the south?
 Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up
   and makes its nest on high?
 It lives on the rock and makes its home
   in the fastness of the rocky crag.
 From there it spies the prey;
   its eyes see it from far away (Job 39:19-29).

If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night’, even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you. For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. (Ps 139:11-14)


So the question can finally be posed: fulfillment of the world by divergence, or fulfillment of the same world by convergence? It seems that the final answer must lie in one or other of these two directions, in the sense that anything else that has to be decided can only be of lesser importance. Our analysis of the different courses open to Man on the threshold of the socialization of his species comes to an end at this last fork in the road. We have encountered three successive pairs of alternatives offering four possibilities: to cease to act, by some form of suicide; to withdraw through a mystique of separation; to fulfil ourselves individually by egoistically segregating ourselves from the mass; or to plunge resolutely into the stream of the whole in order to become part of it. Faced by this apparent indeterminacy of Life in ourselves, what are we to do? Shall we try to ignore the problem and continue to live on impulse and haphazard, without deciding anything? This we cannot do. The beasts of the field may trust blindly to instinct, without thereby diminishing or betraying themselves, because they have not yet seen. But for us, because our eyes have been opened, even though we seek hurriedly to close them, the question will continue to burn in the darkest corner of our thought. We cannot recapture the animal security of instinct. Because, in becoming men, we have acquired the power of looking to the future and assessing the value of things, we cannot do nothing, since our very refusal to decide is a decision in itself (Future).


Your call, my God, as it comes to men has innumerable different shades of meaning: each vocation is essentially different from all the rest. The various regions, nations, social groupings, have each their particular apostles. And I, Lord God, for my (very lowly) part, would wish to be the apostle — and, if I dare say so, the evangelist — of your Christ in the universe. For you gave me the gift of sensing, beneath the incoherence of the surface, the deep, living unity which your grace has mercifully thrown over our heartbreaking plurality. The universality of your divine magnetism, and the intrinsic value of our human undertakings: this, my God, is the twofold truth you have shown me, and I am burning to spread abroad the knowledge of it and to bring it fully into effect.

If you judge me worthy, Lord God, I would show to those whose lives are dull and drab the limitless horizons opening out to humble and hidden efforts; for these efforts, if pure in intention, can add to the extension of the incarnate Word a further element — an element known to Christ’s heart and gathered up into his immortality. You disclosed to me the essential vocation of the world: to attain to its completion, through a chosen part of its whole being, in the plenitude of the incarnate Word.

In order to take possession of me, my God, you who are so much more remote in your immensity and so much deeper in the intimacy of your indwelling than all things else, you take to yourself and unite together the immensity of the world and the intimate depths of my being. I realize that the totality of all perfections, even natural perfections, is the necessary basis for that mystical and ultimate organism which you are constructing out of all things. You do not destroy, Lord, the beings you adopt for your building; but you transform them while preserving everything good that the centuries of creation have fashioned in them.

The whole world is concentrated and uplifted in expectancy of union with the divine; yet at the same time it encounters an insurmountable barrier. For nothing can come to Christ unless he himself takes it and gathers it into himself Towards Christ all the immortal monads converge. Not a single atom, however lowly or imperfect, but must co-operate — at least by way of repulsion or reflexion — in the fulfillings of Christ.