“A Longing as Vast as the Universe”

“A Longing as Vast as the Universe”

The Mongolian Steppe

As you may know, Père Teilhard de Chardin was a priest, geologist and paleontologist.  He was a rare breed, a scholar who believed with every fiber of his being that one can trace a vision of—as he put it—“a positive confluence of christian life with the natural sap of the universe.”

In reading the prefatory material to The Divine Milieu by Teilhard (NY: Harper and Row, 1960), I came across a magnificent poem written by Teilhard himself, one that is well worth sharing.  

He wrote the following poem in 1923 while on expedition in the Ordos desert, on the vast Mongolian steppe.  It allows us a glimpse into his early desire for unifying all observable phenomena with the divine: to seamlessly marry the material and spiritual. It is entitled, “Mass upon the altar of the World.”

“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 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 God.”

Thirty-two years later, a month before he died at the age of 73, he mused upon his considerable achievement in harmonizing knowledge and spirituality.  He wrote:

“The joy and strength of my life will have lain in the realisation that when the two ingredients—God and the world—were brought together they set up an endless mutual reaction, producing a sudden blaze of such intense brilliance that all the depths of the world were lit up for me.”

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  1. […] not if you consider de Chardin’s Noosphere, or (just in the same way that DNA isn’t really our own but belongs to the collective human […]



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