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Center for Action and Contemplation

Collective Evolution

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Christ in Evolution

Collective Evolution
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Today we continue gleaning insights Louis Savary has drawn from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin:

The success of God’s plan for creation depends on [our] conscious and creative activity to keep the divine plan evolving and developing in the direction God wants for creation.

In the past, no one even imagined that there was some great divine evolutionary plan for creation in which humans were meant to participate as co-creators during their lives on Earth. For centuries, many Christians saw their earthly days as merely a behavioral test for entry into heaven; Earth served merely as their classroom where they prepared for their final exam and hoped to graduate into heaven. . . .

For Teilhard, in contrast, the Christ Project is why God created the evolving universe in the first place. . . . It took the revelations of Jesus Christ plus twenty centuries of theological reflection and centuries of scientific discoveries to tie things all together to begin to identify the grand divine project and the evolutionary law governing it.

The plan is not only that each human being would be “saved” individually, but also that we humans, working together as one family, would consciously cooperate in the creative work of this Universal Being. We are invited to be an integral part of that project. Some participate in it consciously and creatively. Many others, like research scientists and people in the helping professions, cooperate in it, too, even though they may be unaware of the Christ Project by name. . . .

The evolving noosphere [sphere of human thought] . . . calls for . . . people, individually and collectively, [to] create and contribute to its evolution. The purpose of such a relational spirituality is to bring the noosphere to its highest level of convergence, eventually operating as a single consciousness. This convergent oneness of humanity and the planet will be a knowledge-based and love-inspired union and communion. Only in this collective way may we create an adequate infrastructure for the full emergence of Christ as a Cosmic Christ (1 Corinthians 6:15, 17, 19). In this perspective, when Jesus says, “The Kingdom of God is among you,” [Luke 17:21] it would mean, in Teilhard’s language, that the divine project is already under way

Teilhard believed that those who grasped this idea would feel the call to spend their energies not only on their own personal salvation but, with their eyes focused on the vision of humanity as a whole, would put their minds, hearts, and energy into building the great Body of Christ.

More specifically, they would realize that a major task of any true contemporary spirituality should be to help prepare the collective mind and heart of the planet for the Cosmic Christ. This is the Christ project. Helping achieve this convergent oneness of humanity [and other species] by promoting further evolution will demand that each person learn the creative art of imagining a better future and helping make it happen—over and over.

Louis M. Savary, The New Spiritual Exercises: In the Spirit of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (Paulist Press: 2010), 26-28.

Image credit: Gua Tewet Tree of Life (detail), cave painting, Borneo, Indonesia.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: If the dynamics of the universe from the beginning shaped the course of the heavens, lighted the sun, and formed the earth, if this same dynamism brought forth the continents and seas and atmosphere, if it awakened life in the primordial cell and then brought into being the unnumbered variety of living beings, and finally brought us into being and guided us safely through the turbulent centuries, there is reason to believe that this same guiding process is precisely what has awakened in us our present understanding of ourselves and our relation to this stupendous process. —Thomas Berry (1914-2009)
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