'The Slow Work of God'

Of late I've been drawing spiritual nourishment from a well known prayer of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a prayer that gets a lot of attention among students and faculty in Ignatian education. It's a great prayer for all of us no matter the time in our lives, but especially as we end a new year and start looking forward to another. Here it is:

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.

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We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should 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 within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

 

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Bruce Snowden
3 years 10 months ago
The Slow Work Of God. See how long it has taken to arrive at the level of evolutionary creation that we know, with the work not yet complete, new universes continually spinning off the fingertips of creator God, natural processes ever on the move. Scripture records Jesus saying, "My Father works even now." Was he hinting at creation's ongoing activity in line with Chardin's definition of evolutionary process, "God makes things make themselves." At least perhaps,in a secondary, or tertiary way, since Scripture dealing with the whole truth and nothing but the truth has a principal and primary revelation, along with other aspects of total truth. At least so it seems to me. Anyway I find it comforting that God works slowly, obviously at the spiritual level too as there can be nothing contradictory in God's management techniques, giving me reason to hope that striving to "grow in love" I'll eventually get it right!
J Cosgrove
3 years 10 months ago
Chardin's definition of evolutionary process
While the work of God may be very slow, I would be very careful with Chardin's ideas on evolution. They sound nice but they do not match the evidence that God has given us to examine. Creation may be ongoing but just how? Why?
Bruce Snowden
3 years 10 months ago
Hello Mr. Cosgrove, It is true no one is totally right in everything, including Chardin, but he is my hero! I appreciate him not only as a great man of science, an outstanding paleontologist astute in study and explanation of the rocks of all ages, but Chardin is also a holy Jesuit priest super-abundantly capable of understanding and explaining the "Rock of Ages," Jesus Christ. Respectfully, I do not understand the meaning of the non-matching evidence of which you speak, Are you saying that God acts in a creatively odd sock manner that, the works of His hands dangle purposelessly?
J Cosgrove
3 years 10 months ago
I do not understand the meaning of the non-matching evidence of which you speak
I did not say this. I said:
I would be very careful with Chardin's ideas on evolution. They sound nice but they do not match the evidence that God has given us to examine.
God has left us plenty of evidence but it does not match or support Chardin's ideas on evolution. So I am saying we should pay attention to what God has done and not what some want Him to have done. He did it His way for a reason but many do not like how God apparently did it so they suggest He should have done it differently.
Bruce Snowden
3 years 10 months ago
I apologize for misreading you. Chardin has been for many like a voice crying in the darkness, a prophet rejected by his own. You have a hard time justifying his insights which of course doesn't relegate you to the realm of the inconsequential. I happen to admire him, so let's leave it right there, as I have no desire to get into an endless back and forth.
J Cosgrove
3 years 10 months ago
You have a hard time justifying his insights which of course doesn't relegate you to the realm of the inconsequential.
I would prefer to leave it alone too but you made a personal accusation which does not follow. Chardin did many things, many of them associated with science. He also wrote a lot of things on spirituality. Science and spirituality are not necessarily the same thing though they do not have to be in conflict. I would not conflate expertise in one with expertise in the other. His work on evolution is best discarded. He was associated with the notorious Piltdown man scam though in a peripheral way and his ideas preceded any knowledge on DNA and genetics. We have libraries of evidence on the change of life forms over the last 3.5 billion years and additional libraries on the processes of the cell and reproduction. Nothing in these libraries supports Chardin's ideas on evolution. That is what I am saying. Many people want a certain theory of evolution to be true because of their ideology. We have to very careful when we do this. Because we believe in something does not mean that other ideas flowing from it must be true. They have to stand up to the evidence of science. Chardin's ideas on the mechanism of evolution don't. Which is why I said
Creation may be ongoing but just how? Why?
We do not know the answer to either question.
Bruce Snowden
3 years 10 months ago
Look, if I had realized you'd take personal offence at what I might say on Chardin, I would never have gotten involved with your postings. As a poster I don't see myself in combat with an opponent, as in a boxing ring but simply an individual trying to freely express ideas and opinions. You seem to be a Chardinian scholar, I am not and can not measure up to the profundity of your research on this great scientist, who like us all was not always entirely right.See how wrong Augustine was in some of his positions, Chardin too. Try to understand I am impressed by Chardin's scientific courage in freely expressing his ideas and opinions right and wrong and also with his devotion to Christ and the Catholic Church and his Jesuit vocation. I willingly hang my hat on anyone's hat rack who asked the Lord to allow him to die on Easter Sunday and was affirmatively answered by Christ on Easter Sunday in NYC when Chardin passed to the Lord. I simply like him!
Bruce Snowden
3 years 10 months ago
Look, if I had realized you'd take personal offence at what I might say on Chardin, I would never have gotten involved with your postings. As a poster I don't see myself in combat with an opponent, as in a boxing ring but simply an individual trying to freely express ideas and opinions. You seem to be a Chardinian scholar, I am not and can not measure up to the profundity of your research on this great scientist, who like us all was not always entirely right.See how wrong Augustine was in some of his positions, Chardin too. Try to understand I am impressed by Chardin's scientific courage in freely expressing his ideas and opinions right and wrong and also with his devotion to Christ and the Catholic Church and his Jesuit vocation. I willingly hang my hat on anyone's hat rack who asked the Lord to allow him to die on Easter Sunday and was affirmatively answered by Christ on Easter Sunday in NYC when Chardin passed to the Lord. I simply like him!
William Atkinson
3 years 10 months ago
The irony of evolution and nature is how long it takes to build, develop and grow (years, centuries, eons) and yet in seconds, minutes, and hours it can all come apart. The big bang theory, How Mountains Will Fall, The Bomb, A Life time and yet in a moment death. The key behind Chardin's thinking is that in the end it all comes together and is offered by the Christ to his Father as a gift.

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