Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Teilhard’s Litany: (10) The cosmic curve

The Sacred Heart as a ‘cosmic curve’?  The first word is straight forward enough :  the Sacred Heart is a symbol of the centre of divine energy that pulses and gives a direction to the cosmos.  One beautifully complex and organic and inter-connected cosmos whose axis and focal point is Christ. But  the Sacred Heart is also a great  ‘curve’ penetrating space and time and seeking to penetrate our hearts.   Teilhard uses this idea of a ‘curve’ in a famous passage in the Phenomenon of Man where he says that evolution is not just a theory – its is far more than that:

Evolution is a general conditions, that all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must submit and to satisfy from now on in order to be conceivable and true.  Evolution is a light illuminating all facts, a curve that every line must follow.  

Thus, when we say : ‘Sacred Heart, The Cosmic Curve, unite me to yourself. Or , ‘ I place all my trust in you’. We are saying that the Sacred Heart  is OUR curve which plots the direction our life must follow.   The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a sign that  the centre of the  cosmos – of all that is – is a person.  The love of God has been made flesh.   This centre of all centres loves little old me. And  he wants that I should be enfolded within his loving centre.  He calls ' come follow me' and  'place your heart in mine.'  And the journey to this loving centre of centres is an evolutionary  curve - not a straight line.  The trouble is, of course, that human beings love straight lines in their lives.  The straight line that we learnt from our Euclidean geometry in school, is the shortest distance between any two points. It is 'a line that lies evenly with the points on itself'.  And we humans just love short distances between two points and points that lie evenly, on themselves.   We desire certainty and predictability.  We want to live in simple straight lines and with certainty, but we live in a world full of  complex relationships  and problems which are inter-connected and we have make decisions and plans in conditions of so  much uncertainty.  BUT the  Sacred Heart is a point (the Omega point) in the cosmos that can not be reached by following a straight line.  Evolution is not a straight line. There is no straight line to the divine centre.  The Sacred Heart is a CURVE we must follow  if we are to be  united with him.  It is a burning light that will illuminate all  the ‘facts’ of our existence.   We follow a cosmic curve, not a cosmic straight line.  It is a world in which we cannot know what is around the next bend and in which all the curves  are inter - related and  inter-connected and in which there are no so many straight lines. 
 Being a Celt –in fact a very dangerous mixture of Welsh and Irish as well as Cornish! – I think of curves as very  potent ways of  expressing  a sense of the  organic  nature of the divine and the created world.  On my wall as  I write  this  blog  I have a  print  which is all full of curves looping and curling  in and around one another.  The design  is a highly complex weaving of curves that makes a single integrated and organic whole.   It is a beautiful image of interconnectedness in which everything is woven into a relationship with everything else.  I also have to hand  a little collection of various celtic spirals.    I was thinking of these images  yesterday when I quoted Teilhard on the organic nature of the ‘Universal Christ’ and a universe that we ‘ must recognise ..as one great whole, welded together and evolving organically..’( in Science and Christ, pp 14- 20)  

The Nevern Cross, Wales - click to enlarge

As  I typed those words  about the universe as a whole ' welded together  and evolving organically' yesterday the image of the Nevern  cross  in Wales came to mind.  ( A cross  I love very much. )  Following the curve of Christ is rather like the  patterns we can see carved by my ancestors long ago. 

In my mind Teilhard's idea of the Sacred Heart as a ‘cosmic curve’ we have to follow is very evocative of the celtic knot designs on the Nevern cross.  That is, Christ who holds all things together in the universe  by weaving and threading  an evolutionary  curve around all creation, uniting  and binding it altogether.  And, of course, this also made me think of the lovely  vine curving around the bottom of the icon linking together plant and animal life being watered by Christ. 

And the curve we have to follow is that marked out by the New Adam born of Mary - we have to evolve as individuals and as a species by becoming more Christ like in all things.  We have to follow the curve by seeing Christ in all things.   We have to develop a 'cosmic' and 'Christic' sense and a 'sense of the earth.'  We have to realize  that we are an integral part of the great organic knot of creation and that we are - as reflective conscious  forms of life -  co-creators in building  a new earth.  We have responsibility for our future evolution: we can choose to take up our cross and follow the curve.  Like Adam in the icon, we are free to choose.   As we follow the curve illuminated by the glow of the Sacred Heart we realize that we are all bound and pulled  together by the divine knot of Christ’s love extending its energy throughout the universe.  

 The icon of the Sacred Heart should remind us that in Christ all things curve and converge.   This realisation should transform how we live our lives both at an individual and a collective level.  **

 ** Just noticed that on the cover of Ursula King's book Christ in All Things is a celtic knot!  Must see if anyone has written about the relationship between Celtic Christianity and Teilhard?

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