Friday, 18 February 2011

Wise words for all of us...

Teilhard's words on trusting God are of some relevance to this icon project -as to all attempts by fallible human beings to be creative. One of Teilhard's quotes that is widely cited is this:

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.

We are quite naturally impatient in everything

to reach the end without delay.

We would 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 it may take a very long time.
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 of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
 gradually forming in you will be.

Give our Lord the benefit of believing

that his hand is leading you, 
and accept the anxiety of feeling
 in suspense and incomplete.

It certainly sounds like Teilhard and captures his philosophy. However, I do not know where this comes from and it may well be that they are not actually his words. The passage where he does say the same thing - although less poetically is in Letters to Two Friends, 1926-1952. (Fontana, London 1972) p127 where he says:

Just trust Life: Life will bring you high, if only you are careful in selecting, in the maze of events, those influences or those paths which can bring you each time a little more upward. Life has to be discovered and built step by step: a great charm, if only one is convinced (by faith and experience) that the world is going somewhere.

If the Sacred Heart is to be understood in evolutionary terms, then it is Teilhard's way of saying: Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.' This can also be related to his idea of tâtonnement - or evolutionary as a process of 'groping' - proceeding step by step, using trial and error learning. I will track down the original quote!

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