Saturday, December 20, 2014

Teilhard de Chardin on "the difficulties . . . in 'living in the world as though not being of the world'"

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.  We are, quite naturally, impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.  We should like to skip the intermediate stages.  We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.  And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—and that may take a very long time.  Thus, we have been through a whole year’s suspense, not knowing what the future holds for civilization.  And so, I think, it is with you.  Your ideas mature gradually—let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste.  Don’t try to ‘force’ them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make you tomorrow.  Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be.  Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you surely through the obscurity and the ‘becoming’, and accept, for love of him, the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.

     Pierre de Teilhard de Chardin to his cousin Marguerite Teillard-Chambon (aka Claude Aragonnès, 1880-1959), [Zuydcoote], 4 July 1915, in The making of a mind:  letters from a soldier-priest 1914-1919, trans. from Genèse d’une pensée:  lettres 1914-1919 (Paris, B. Grasset [1961]) by René Hague (New York:  Harper & Row, Publishers, 1961), 57-58.

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