The Ocean of Matter

Image
Diego Delso, Wikimedia Commons, License CC-BY-SA 3.0

 

‘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 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 shall 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”.

‘Oh, the beauty of the 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.’

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (Priest and Scientist), Hymn of the Universe (Harper & Row: 1965), p.64-65

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