Saturday, 12 February 2011

St john Eudes and Teilhard

Strange how Teilhard is still seen by many as rather unorthodox: especially as his faith was so grounded in the Sacred Heart, St. Paul and Saint John the Evangelist. What is striking when one reads St. John Eudes on the Sacred Heart how remarkable it is that his idea of the Sacred Heart is so very close to Teilhard’s own language. He begins his work on the Sacred Heart with a quote from St Bernadine of Siena who describes the Sacred Heart in these terms as: ‘Fornacem ardentissimae caritas ad inflammandum et orbem universum’ ! As a ’furnance of ardent love to enkindle and inflame the whole universe’. Indeed that is the key image which runs through St John’s work on the Sacred Heart. He later comments that : ‘and so this divine furnance…diffuses everywhere its fiery flames ..’ And later he says 'The august Heart of Jesus is a furnace of love which spreads its fiery flames in all directions, in heaven and earth, and throughout the whole universe’. This idea of the fire of the Sacred Heart filling the entire universe seems to be lacking in the popular devotions which we find in the Catholic anthologies which I have studied. I have to confess, this has quite taken me by surprise. Perhaps Teilhard had read St John Eudes book on the Sacred Heart? Perhaps not. But in this respect Teilhard seems completely in line with the acknowledged doctor of the devotion. It appears that Teilhard is just bringing back the ‘universe’ into the devotion. The Sacred Heart as a furnace whose flames reach out throughout the universe could not be more Teilhard. So, our icon should reflect St John Eudes ( and St Bernadine’s ) idea. That fire in the centre of centres in Ian’s picture must ‘inflame the whole universe’

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