Season of Creation in the Company of Teilhard de Chardin (Days 11-18)
September 11, 2021
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.


September 11

It is always in your power to show great strength,
and who can withstand the might of your arm?
Because the whole world before you is like a speck that tips the scales,
and like a drop of morning dew that falls on the ground.
But you are merciful to all, for you can do all things,
and you overlook people’s sins, so that they may repent.
For you love all things that exist,
and detest none of the things that you have made,
for you would not have made anything if you had hated it.
How would anything have endured if you had not willed it?
Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved?
You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living.

For your immortal spirit is in all things (Wisdom 11:21-26; 12:1).

How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!  I try to count them—they are more than the sand; I come to the end—I am still with you (Ps. 139:17-18).


To elect in the depths of our being for the possibility and hope of an indefinitely increasing unification of the Universe, is not merely the only course we can pursue which conforms to the evolutionary past of the world; it is the course that embraces, in its essence, every other constructive act in which we might look for an alternative. Not only does this road offer a positive outlet for the diminished or specialized form of consciousness -- a victory dearly paid for by Life -- but consciousness as a whole must follow it, with all the accumulation of riches which, at each turning-point, we had thought to abandon. Which amounts to saying that the world is well made! In other words, the choice which Life requires of our considered action is a great deal less complex than at first seemed to be the case; for it is reduced to a simple choice between the first and last stages of the successive alternatives which we have been able to define: the rejection of Being, which returns us to dust, or the acceptance of Being, which leads us, by way of socialization, to faith in a Supreme Unity -- opposite directions along a single road.

But if, as history suggests, there is really a quality of the inevitable in the forward march of the Universe -- if, in truth, the world cannot turn back -- then it must mean that individual acts are bound to follow, in the majority and freely, the sole direction capable of satisfying all their aspirations towards every imaginable form of higher consciousness. Having been initially the fundamental choice of the individual, the Grand Option, that which decides in favor of a convergent Universe, is destined sooner or later to become the common choice of the mass of Mankind. Thus a particular and generalized state of consciousness is presaged for our species in the future: a ‘conspiracy’ in terms of perspective and intention. Which brings us in conclusion to the consideration of an especial phenomenon arising directly out of this approaching unanimity -- the more or less early establishment on earth of a new atmosphere, or better, a new environment of action (The Future of Man).


For me, my God, all joy and all achievement, the very purpose of my being and all my love of life, all depend on this one basic vision of the union between yourself and the universe. Let others, fulfilling a function more august than mine, proclaim your splendors as pure Spirit; as for me, dominated as I am by a vocation which springs from the inmost fibers of my being, I have no desire, I have no ability, to proclaim anything except the innumerable prolongations of your incarnate Being in the world of matter; I can preach only the mystery of your flesh, you the Soul shining forth through all that surrounds us.  It is to your body in this its fullest extension— that is, to the world become through your power, and my faith the glorious living crucible in which everything melts away in order to be born anew; it is to this that I dedicate myself with all the resources which your creative magnetism has brought forth in me: with the all too feeble resources of my scientific knowledge, with my religious vows, with my priesthood, and (most dear to me) with my deepest human convictions. It is in this dedication, Lord Jesus, I desire to live, in this I desire to die (Mass on the World).

September 12

All wisdom is from the Lord,
   and with him it remains for ever.
The sand of the sea, the drops of rain,
   and the days of eternity—who can count them?
The height of heaven, the breadth of the earth,
   the abyss, and wisdom—who can search them out?
Wisdom was created before all other things,
   and prudent understanding from eternity.
The root of wisdom—to whom has it been revealed?
   Her subtleties—who knows them?
There is but one who is wise, greatly to be feared,
   seated upon his throne—the Lord.
It is he who created her;
   he saw her and took her measure;
   he poured her out upon all his works,
upon all the living according to his gift;
   he lavished her upon those who love him (Sirach 1:1-10).

You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart (Ps. 51:6).


Gloriously situated by life at this critical point in the evolution of Mankind, what ought we to do? We hold Earth’s future in our hands. What shall we decide? In my view the road to be followed is clearly revealed by the teaching of all the past. We can progress only by uniting: this, as we have seen, is the law of Life. But unification through coercion leads only to a superficial pseudo-unity. It may establish a mechanism, but it does not achieve any fundamental synthesis; and in consequence it engenders no growth of consciousness. It materializes, in short, instead of spiritualizing. Only unification through unanimity is biologically valid. This alone can work the miracle of causing heightened personality to emerge from the forces of collectivity. It alone represents a genuine extension of the psychogenesis that gave us birth. Therefore it is inwardly that we must come together, and in entire freedom.

This being so, the more I consider the fundamental question of the future of the earth, the more it appears to me that the generative principle of its unification is finally to be sought, not in the sole contemplation of a single Truth or in the sole desire for a single Thing, but in the common attraction exercised by a single Being. For on the one hand, if the synthesis of the Spirit is to be brought about in its entirety (and this is the only possible definition of progress) it can only be done, in the last resort, through the meeting, center to center, of human units, such as can only be realized in a universal, mutual love. And on the other hand there is but one possible way in which human elements, innumerably diverse by nature, can love one another: it is by knowing themselves all to be centered upon a single ‘super-center’ common to all, to which they can only attain, each at the extreme of himself, through their unity.

‘Love one another, recognizing in the heart of each of you the same God who is being born.’ Those words, first spoken two thousand years ago, now begin to reveal themselves as the essential structural law of what we call progress and evolution. They enter the scientific field of cosmic energy and its necessary laws. Indeed, the more I strive, in love and wonder, to measure the huge movements of past Life in the light of paleontology, the more I am convinced that this majestic process, which nothing can arrest, can achieve its consummation only in becoming Christianized (The Future of Man).


How strange, my God, are the processes your Spirit initiates! When, two centuries ago, your Church began to feel the particular power of your [sacred] heart, it might have seemed that what was captivating men's souls was the fact of their finding in you an element even more determinate, more circumscribed, than your humanity as a whole. But now on the contrary a swift reversal is making us aware that your main purpose in this revealing to us of your heart was to enable our love to escape from the constrictions of the too narrow, too precise, too limited image of you which we had fashioned for ourselves. What I discern in your breast is simply a furnace of fire; and the more I fix my gaze on its ardency the more it seems to me that all around it the contours of your body melt away and become enlarged beyond all measure, till the only features I can distinguish in you are those of the face of a world which has burst into flame (Mass on the World).

(On the following 8 days, the meditations are drawn from Ch. 3 of “Hymn of the Universe” in which Teilhard, at an early point in his career, struggles to embrace his intuitions on the “spiritual power of matter.”  It is written as a kind of parable concluding with his famous “Hymn to Matter.”  The meditations will accompany the final selections from the Hebrew Bible before his Christocentric vision bursts forth fully in the last days of the Season of Creation). 

September 13

Listen to me, my child, and acquire knowledge,
   and pay close attention to my words.
I will impart discipline precisely
   and declare knowledge accurately.
When the Lord created his works from the beginning,
   and, in making them, determined their boundaries,
he arranged his works in an eternal order,
   and their dominion for all generations.
They neither hunger nor grow weary,
   and they do not abandon their tasks.
They do not crowd one another,
   and they never disobey his word.
Then the Lord looked upon the earth,
   and filled it with his good things.
With all kinds of living beings he covered its surface,
   and into it they must return (Sirach 16:24-30).

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament* proclaims his handiwork.  Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge (Ps. 19:1-2).


And as they went on walking and talking together, behold a fiery chariot and fiery horses parted them both asunder; and of a sudden Elijah was caught up by a whirlwind into heaven. (The Book of Kings; cf. 2 Kgs 2:11)

The man was walking in the desert, followed by his companion, when the Thing swooped down on him. From afar it had appeared to him, quite small, gliding over the sand, no bigger than the palm of a child’s hand — as a pale, fleeting shadow like a wavering flight of quail over the blue sea before sunrise or a cloud of gnats dancing in the sun at evening or a whirlwind of dust at midday sweeping over the plain. The Thing seemed to take no heed of the two travellers, and was roaming capriciously through the wilderness. Then, suddenly, it assumed a set course and with the speed of an arrow came straight at them.

And then the man perceived that the little pale cloud of vapour was but the centre of an infinitely greater reality moving towards them without restriction, formless, boundless. The Thing as it approached them spread outwards with prodigious rapidity as far as his eye could reach, filling the whole of space, while its feet brushed lightly over the thorny vegetation beside the torrent, its brow rose in the sky like a golden mist with the reddening sun behind it. And all about it the ether had become alive, vibrating palpably beneath the crude substance of rock and plants as in summer the landscape quivers behind the overheated soil in the foreground.

What was advancing towards them was the moving heart of an immeasurable pervasive subtlety. The man fell prostrate to the ground; and hiding his face in his hands he waited. A great silence fell around him. Then, suddenly, a breath of scorching air passed across his forehead, broke through the barrier of his closed eyelids, and penetrated his soul. The man felt that he was ceasing to be merely himself; an irresistible rapture took possession of him as though all the sap of all living things, flowing at one and the same moment into the too narrow confines of his heart, was mightily refashioning the enfeebled fibres of his being. And at the same time the anguish of some superhuman peril oppressed him, a confused feeling that the force which had swept down upon him was equivocal, turbid, the combined essence of all evil and all goodness. The hurricane was within himself.

And now, in the very depths of the being it had invaded, the tempest of life, infinitely gentle, infinitely brutal, was murmuring to the one secret point in the soul which it had not altogether demolished: ‘You called me: here I am. Driven by the Spirit far from humanity’s caravan routes, you dared to venture into the untouched wilderness; grown weary of abstractions, of attenuations, of the wordiness of social life, you wanted to pit yourself against Reality entire and untamed. ‘You had need of me in order to grow; and I was waiting for you in order to be made holy. ‘Always you have, without knowing it, desired me; and always I have been drawing you to me.‘ And now I am established on you for life, or for death. You can never go back, never return to commonplace gratifications or untroubled worship. He who has once seen me can never forget me: he must either damn himself with me or save me with himself. ‘Are you coming?’ ‘O you who are divine and mighty, what is your name? Speak.’


Lord God, my dignity as a man forbids me to shut my eyes to this, like an animal or a child; therefore, lest I succumb to the temptation to curse the universe, and the Maker of the universe, teach me to adore it by seeing you hidden within it. Say once again to me, Lord, those great and liberating words, the words which are at once revealing light and effective power: hoc est Corpus meum [This is my Body]. In very truth, if only we will it to be so, the immense and sombre Thing, the spectre, the tempest — is you. Ego sum, nolite timere [It is I, do not be afraid].  All the things in life that fill us with dread, all that filled your own heart with dismay in the garden of agony: all, in the last resort, are the species or appearances, the matter, of one and the same sacrament.

September 14

He who lives for ever created the whole universe;
   the Lord alone is just.
To none has he given power to proclaim his works;
   and who can search out his mighty deeds?
Who can measure his majestic power?
   And who can fully recount his mercies?
It is not possible to diminish or increase them,
   nor is it possible to fathom the wonders of the Lord.
When human beings have finished, they are just beginning,
   and when they stop, they are still perplexed (Sirach 18:1-7).

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.  I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High (Ps 9:1-12).


‘I am the fire that consumes and the water that overthrows; I am the love that initiates and the truth that passes away. All that compels acceptance and all that brings renewal; all that breaks apart and all that binds together; power, experiment, progress — matter: all this am I.’ ‘Because in my violence I sometimes slay my lovers; because he who touches me never knows what power he is unleashing, wise men fear me and curse me. They speak of me with scorn, calling me beggar-woman or witch or harlot; but their words are at variance with life, and the pharisees who condemn me, waste away in the outlook to which they confine themselves; they die of inanition and their disciples desert them because I am the essence of all that is tangible, and men cannot do without me.

‘You who have grasped that the world — the world beloved of God — has, even more than individuals, a soul to be redeemed, lay your whole being wide open to my inspiration, and receive the spirit of the earth which is to be saved. ‘The supreme key to the enigma, the dazzling utterance which is inscribed on my brow and which henceforth will burn into your eyes even though you close them, is this: Nothing is precious save what is yourself in others and others in yourself . In heaven, all things are but one. In heaven all is one.

‘Come, do you not feel my breath uprooting you and carrying you away? Up, man of God, and make haste. For according to the way a man surrenders himself to it, the whirlwind will either drag him down into the darkness of its depths or lift him up into the blue skies. Your salvation and mine hang on this first moment. ‘O you who are matter: my heart, as you see, is trembling. Since it is you, tell me: what would you have me do?’

‘Take up your arms, O Israel, and do battle boldly against me. The wind, having at first penetrated and pervaded him stealthily, like a philtre, had now become aggressive, hostile. From within its coils it exhaled now the acrid stench of battle. The musky smell of forests, the feverish atmosphere of cities, the sinister, heady scent that rises up from nations locked in battle: all this writhed within its folds, a vapour gathered from the four corners of the earth.

The man, still prostrate, suddenly started, as though his flesh had felt the spur: he leapt to his feet and stood erect, facing the storm. It was the soul of his entire race that had shuddered within him: an obscure memory of a first sudden awakening in the midst of beasts stronger, better-armed than he; a sad echo of the long struggle to tame the corn and to master the fire; a rancorous dread of the maleficent forces of nature, a lust for knowledge and possession. . .A moment ago, in the sweetness of the first contact, he had instinctively longed to lose himself in the warm wind which enfolded him. Now, this wave of bliss in which he had all but melted away was changed into a ruthless determination towards increased being.


Yes, Lord God, I believe that — and believe all the more readily since it is a question not merely of my being consoled but of my being completed — that it is you who stand at the source of that impulse and at the end-point of that magnetic attraction to which all my life long I must be docile, obedient to the initial impulsion and eager to promote its developments. It is you too who quicken for me by your omnipresence — far more effectively than my spirit quickens the matter it animates — the myriad influences which at every moment bear down upon me. In the life springing up within me, in the material elements that sustain me, it is not just your gifts that I discern: it is you yourself that I encounter, you who cause me to share in your own being, and whose hands mould me. In the initial ordering and modulating of the life-force which is in me, and in the continuous, helpful action upon me of secondary causes, I am in very truth in contact — and the closest possible contact — with the two aspects of your creative activity; I encounter and I kiss your two wonderful hands: the hand that lays hold on us at so deep a level that it becomes merged, in us, with the sources of life, and the hand whose grasp is so immense that under its slightest pressure all the springs of the universe respond harmoniously together. Of their very nature those blessed passivities which are my will to be, my inclination to be thus or thus, and the chances given me to attain to my own completion in the way I desire, all are charged with your influence — an influence which I shall come before long to see more clearly as the organizing force of your mystical Body. And if I would enter into communion with you in these passivities — a frontal communion, a communion in the sources of life — I have but to recognize you within them and to beg you to be ever more and more fully present in them.

September 15

‘All the works of the Lord are very good,
   and whatever he commands will be done at the appointed time.
No one can say, “What is this?” or “Why is that?”—
   for at the appointed time all such questions will be answered.
At his word the waters stood in a heap,
   and the reservoirs of water at the word of his mouth.
When he commands, his every purpose is fulfilled,
   and none can limit his saving power.
The works of all are before him,
   and nothing can be hidden from his eyes.
From the beginning to the end of time he can see everything,
   and nothing is too marvellous for him.
No one can say, “What is this?” or “Why is that?”—
   for everything has been created for its own purpose.
‘His blessing covers the dry land like a river,
   and drenches it like a flood.
But his wrath drives out the nations,
   as when he turned a watered land into salt.
To the faithful his ways are straight,
   but full of pitfalls for the wicked.
From the beginning good things were created for the good,
   but for sinners good things and bad.
The basic necessities of human life
   are water and fire and iron and salt
and wheat flour and milk and honey,
   the blood of the grape and oil and clothing.
All these are good for the godly,
   but for sinners they turn into evils.

So from the beginning I have been convinced of all this
   and have thought it out and left it in writing:
All the works of the Lord are good,
   and he will supply every need in its time.
No one can say, ‘This is not as good as that’,
   for everything proves good in its appointed time.
So now sing praise with all your heart and voice,
   and bless the name of the Lord (Sirach 39:16-27;32-35).

Your way, O God, is holy. What god is so great as our God?  You are the God who works wonders; you have displayed your might among the peoples (Ps 77:13-14).


The man had scented the enemy, his hereditary quarry. He dug his feet into the ground, and began his battle. He fought first of all in order not to be swept away; but then he began to fight for the joy of fighting, the joy of feeling his own strength. And the longer he fought, the more he felt an increase of strength going out from him to balance the strength of the tempest, and from the tempest there came forth in return a new exhalation which flowed like fire into his veins.

As on certain nights the sea around a swimmer will grow luminous, and its eddies will glisten the more brightly under the sturdy threshing of his limbs, so the dark power wrestling with the man was lit up with a thousand sparkling lights under the impact of his onslaught. In a reciprocal awakening of their opposed powers, he stirred up his utmost strength to achieve the mastery over it, while it revealed all its treasures in order to surrender them to him.

‘Son of earth, steep yourself in the sea of matter, bathe in its fiery waters, for it is the source of your life and your youthfulness. ‘You thought you could do without it because the power of thought has been kindled in you? You hoped that the more thoroughly you rejected the tangible, the closer you would be to spirit: that you would be more divine if you lived in the world of pure thought, or at least more angelic if you fled the corporeal? Well, you were like to have perished of hunger. ‘You must have oil for your limbs, blood for your veins, water for your soul, the world of reality for your intellect: do you not see that the very law of your own nature makes these a necessity for you?

‘Never, if you work to live and to grow, never will you be able to say to matter, "I have seen enough of you; I have surveyed your mysteries and have taken from them enough food for my thought to last me for ever." I tell you: even though, like the Sage of sages, you carried in your memory the image of all the beings that people the earth or swim in the seas, still all that knowledge would be as nothing for your soul, for all abstract knowledge is only a faded reality: this is because to understand the world knowledge is not enough, you must see it, touch it, live in its presence and drink the vital heat of existence in the very heart of reality. ‘Never say, then, as some say: "The kingdom of matter is worn out, matter is dead": till the very end of time matter will always remain young, exuberant, sparkling, new-born for those who are willing. ‘Never say, "Matter is accursed, matter is evil": for there has come one who said, "You will drink poisonous draughts and they shall not harm you", and again, "Life shall spring forth out of death", and then finally, the words which spell my definitive liberation, "This is my body".

‘Purity does not lie in separation from, but in a deeper penetration into the universe. It is to be found in the love of that unique, boundless Essence which penetrates the inmost depths of all things and there, from within those depths, deeper than the mortal zone where individuals and multitudes struggle, works upon them and moulds them. Purity lies in a chaste contact with that which is "the same in all".


Lord, it is you who, through the imperceptible goadings of sense-beauty, penetrated my heart in order to make its life flow out into yourself. You came down into me by means of a tiny scrap of created reality; and then, suddenly, you unfurled your immensity before my eyes and displayed yourself to me as Universal Being. So the basic mystical intuition issues in the discovery of a supra-real unity diffused throughout the immensity of the world. In that milieu, at once divine and cosmic, in which he had at first observed only a simplification and as it were a spiritualization of space, the seer, faithful to the light given him, now perceives the gradual delineation of the form and attributes of an ultimate element in which all things find their definitive consistency. And then he begins to measure more exactly the joys, and the pressing demands, of that mysterious presence to which he has surrendered himself.

September 16

I will now call to mind the works of the Lord,
   and will declare what I have seen.
By the word of the Lord his works are made;
   and all his creatures do his will.
The sun looks down on everything with its light,
   and the work of the Lord is full of his glory.
The Lord has not empowered even his holy ones
   to recount all his marvellous works,
which the Lord the Almighty has established
   so that the universe may stand firm in his glory.
He searches out the abyss and the human heart;
   he understands their innermost secrets.
For the Most High knows all that may be known;
   he sees from of old the things that are to come.
He discloses what has been and what is to be,
   and he reveals the traces of hidden things.
No thought escapes him,
   and nothing is hidden from him.
He has set in order the splendours of his wisdom;
   he is from all eternity one and the same.
Nothing can be added or taken away,
   and he needs no one to be his counsellor.
How desirable are all his works,
   and how sparkling they are to see!
All these things live and remain for ever;
   each creature is preserved to meet a particular need.
All things come in pairs, one opposite to the other,
   and he has made nothing incomplete.
Each supplements the virtues of the other.
   Who could ever tire of seeing his glory? (Sirach 42:15-25).

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.  For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm (Ps 33:6,8-9).


‘Oh, the beauty of spirit as it rises up adorned with all the riches of the earth! ‘Son of man, bathe yourself in the ocean of matter; plunge into it where it is deepest and most violent; struggle in its currents and drink of its waters. For it cradled you long ago in your preconscious existence; and it is that ocean that will raise you up to God.’

Standing amidst the tempest, the man turned his head, looking for his companion. And in that same moment he perceived a strange metamorphosis: the earth was simultaneously vanishing away yet growing in size. It was vanishing away, for here, immediately beneath him, the meaningless variations in the terrain were diminishing and dissolving; on the other hand it was growing ever greater, for there in the distance the curve of the horizon was climbing ceaselessly higher.

The man saw himself standing in the centre of an immense cup, the rim of which was closing over him. And then the frenzy of battle gave place in his heart to an irresistible longing to submit: and in a flash he discovered, everywhere present around him, the one thing necessary.


Lord, what is there in suffering that commits me so deeply to you? Why should my wings flutter more joyfully than before when you stretch out nets to imprison me? It is because, among your gifts, what I hanker after is the fragrance of your power over me and the touch of your hand upon me. For what exhilarates us human creatures more than freedom, more than the glory of achievement, is the joy of finding and surrendering to a Beauty greater than man, the rapture of being possessed.

Blessed then be the disappointments which snatch the cup from our lips; blessed be the chains which force us to go where we would not. Blessed be relentless time and the unending thraldom in which it holds us: the inexorable bondage of time that goes too slowly and frets our impatience, of time that goes too quickly and ages us, of time that never stops, and never returns. Blessed, above all, be death and the horror of falling back through death into the cosmic forces. At the moment of its coming a power as strong as the universe pounces upon our bodies to grind them to dust and dissolve them, and an attraction more tremendous than any material tension draws our unresisting souls towards their proper centre. Death causes us to lose our footing completely in ourselves so as to deliver us over to the powers of heaven and earth. This is its final terror — but it is also, for the mystic, the climax of his bliss.

September 17

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you;
   therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
   blessed are all those who wait for him.

He will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and grain, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. On that day your cattle will graze in broad pastures; and the oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat silage, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. On every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water—on a day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. Moreover, the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, like the light of seven days, on the day when the Lord binds up the injuries of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow (Isaiah 30:18,23-26).

Yours is the day, yours also the night; you established the luminariesand the sun. You have fixed all the bounds of the earth; you made summer and winter (Ps 74:16-17).


Once and for all he understood that, like the atom, man has no value save for that part of himself which passes into the universe. He recognized with absolute certainty the empty fragility of even the noblest theorizings as compared with the definitive plenitude of the smallest fact grasped in its total, concrete reality. He saw before his eyes, revealed with pitiless clarity, the ridiculous pretentiousness of human claims to order the life of the world, to impose on the world the dogmas, the standards, the conventions of man. He tasted, sickeningly, the triteness of men’s joys and sorrows, the mean egoism of their pursuits, the insipidity of their passions, the attenuation of their power to feel. He felt pity for those who take fright at the span of a century or whose love is bounded by the frontiers of a nation. So many things which once had distressed or revolted him — the speeches and pronouncements of the learned, their assertions and their prohibitions, their refusal to allow the universe to move — all seemed to him now merely ridiculous, non-existent, compared with the majestic reality, the flood of energy, which now revealed itself to him: omnipresent, unalterable in its truth, relentless in its development, untouchable in its serenity, maternal and unfailing in its protectiveness. Thus at long last he had found a point d’appui, he had found refuge, outside the confines of human society. A heavy cloak slipped from his shoulders and fell to the ground behind him: the dead weight of all that is false, narrow, tyrannical, all that is artificially contrived, all that is merely human in humanity.


Lord Jesus Christ, you truly contain within your gentleness, within your humanity, all the unyielding immensity and grandeur of the world. And it is because of this, it is because there exists in you this ineffable synthesis of what our human thought and experience would never have dared join together in order to adore them — element and totality, the one and the many, mind and matter, the infinite and the personal; it is because of the indefinable contours which this complexity gives to your appearance and to your activity, that my heart, enamoured of cosmic reality, gives itself passionately to you. I love you, Lord Jesus, because of the multitude who shelter within you and whom, if one clings closely to you, one can hear with all the other beings murmuring, praying, weeping. . . I love you because of the transcendent and inexorable fixity of your purposes, which causes your gentle friendship to be coloured by an intransigent determinism and to gather us all ruthlessly into the folds of its will. I love you as the source, the activating and life-giving ambience, the term and consummation, of the world even of the natural world, and of its process of becoming.

September 18

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
   the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
   and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
   the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
   the majesty of our God.

For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
   and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
   and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
   the grass shall become reeds and rushes (Isaiah 35:1-2,6b-7).

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God? (Ps 42:1-2)


A wave of triumph freed his soul. And he felt that henceforth nothing in the world would ever be able to alienate his heart from the greater reality which was now revealing itself to him, nothing at all: neither the intrusiveness and individualist separatism of human beings (for these qualities in them he despised) nor the heavens and the earth in their height and breadth and depth and power (for it was precisely to these that he was now dedicating himself for ever). A deep process of renewal had taken place within him: now it would never again be possible for him to be human save on another plane. Were he to descend again now to the everyday life of earth — even though it were to rejoin his faithful companion, still prostrate over there on the desert sand — he would henceforth be for ever a stranger. Yes, of this he was certain: even for his brothers in God, better men than he, he would inevitably speak henceforth in an incomprehensible tongue, he whom the Lord had drawn to follow the road of fire. Even for those he loved the most his love would be henceforth a burden, for they would sense his compulsion to be for ever seeking something behind themselves.


It was a joy to me, Lord, in the midst of my struggles, to feel that in growing to my own fulfilment I was increasing your hold on me; it was a joy to me, beneath the inward burgeoning of life and amidst the unfolding of events that favoured me, to surrender myself to your providence. And now that I have discovered the joy of turning every increase into a way of making — or allowing — your presence to grow within me, I beg of you: bring me to a serene acceptance of that final phase of communion with you in which I shall attain to possession of you by diminishing within you. Now that I have learnt to see you as he who is ‘more me than myself’, grant that when my hour has come I may recognize you under the appearances of every alien or hostile power that seems bent on destroying or dispossessing me. When the erosions of age begin to leave their mark on my body, and still more on my mind; when the ills that must diminish my life or put an end to it strike me down from without or grow up from within me; when I reach that painful moment at which I suddenly realize that I am a sick man or that I am growing old; above all at that final moment when I feel I am losing hold on myself and becoming wholly passive in the hands of those great unknown forces which first formed me: at all these sombre moments grant me, Lord, to understand that it is you (provided my faith is strong enough) who are painfully separating the fibres of my being so as to penetrate to the very marrow of my substance and draw me into yourself. The more deeply and incurably my ills become engrained in my flesh, the more it may be you yourself that I am harbouring as a loving, active principle of purification and of liberation from possessiveness. The more the future lies ahead of me like a dark tunnel or a dizzy abyss, the more confident I can be — if I go forward boldly, relying on your word — of being lost, of being engulfed, in you, Lord, of being absorbed into your Body. Lord Christ, you who are divine energy and living, irresistible might: since of the two of us it is you who are infinitely the stronger, it is you who must set me ablaze and transmute me into fire that we may be welded together and made one. Grant me, then, something even more precious than that grace for which all your faithful followers pray: to receive communion as I die is not sufficient: teach me to make a communion of death itself.