Skip to main content
Center for Action and Contemplation

Love, Sex, and Cosmic Evolution

Friday, April 27, 2018

Gender and Sexuality: Week 2

Love, Sex, and Cosmic Evolution
Friday, April 27, 2018

Sister Ilia Delio, a Franciscan professor and theologian, has a wonderful way of making the brilliant writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin accessible. Teilhard (1881-1955) was a French philosopher, Jesuit priest, and paleontologist who brought a scientific and mystical perspective to his faith. In her book, The Unbearable Wholeness of Being, Delio writes:

Sexuality presumes that we are part of a whole and have been separated from the whole. Hence our incompleteness makes us long for wholeness and union. . . .

Teilhard speaks of the “creative role of erotic attraction” not only on the level of the individual but the universe itself is erotic. [1] Passion is the true stuff of the universe; “the whole creation is groaning in the pains of new birth” (Romans 8:22). Every star, cell, flower, bird, and human person yearns for wholeness and completeness. Sex is not a mere continuation of the species; it is the energy of love by which this universe is in the process of personalization, becoming more spiritualized, energized, and conscious. . . .

Modern culture’s preoccupation with the physical body and the exploitation of the body as soulless matter reflects the deep human disconnect from self, neighbor, earth, and God. Sex has become more like a video game with the goal of winning rather than part of the deep religious core of cosmic evolution. . . .

Evolution continues through humanity only when there is consciousness of love as the integral wholeness of love that includes a healthy sexuality. Awareness of our desires and attention to our deepest longings must orient us toward a unified heart and consciousness. Love is more than a survival mechanism; it is the fire breathed into the fabric of the cosmos that enkindles life, rendering life more than biological function. Love turns passion into transformative power.

One might say that evolution depends on healthy sexuality. The love between persons creates a thread of passionate energy that winds around the embrace of persons and enters into the heart of the cosmos, contributing to the energetic movement of universal convergence. Love is what “makes the world go ‘round.” It is fundamental to the forward movement of evolution and cosmic personalization. It is the whole of every whole, the open, dynamic field of energy that seeks greater wholeness within every star, leaf, plant, and galaxy.

By the sheer power of its energy, love draws everything into an endless depth of greater wholeness. On the level of human consciousness, the core energy of personal/sexual love must reach out to the wider realm of humanity that includes love of neighbor, friendship, and love of the stranger. Love, sex, and cosmic evolution are intertwined in a field of integral wholeness; to deny, avoid, or negate any of them is to thwart the process of deepening life.

[1] Teilhard de Chardin, Human Energy, trans. J. M. Cohen (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: 1969), 77, 82.

Ilia Delio, The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love (Orbis Books: 2013), 47-51.

Image credit: Study of a Boy Turning His Head (detail), Jacopo Pontormo, c. 1529, Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: If Jesus shows us what the completed human being looks like in male form, Mary Magdalene models it for us in its female version; together they become the Christosophia, the androgynous archetype of human wholeness. —Cynthia Bourgeault
Navigate by Date

This year’s theme

A candle being lit

Radical Resilience

We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

The archives

Explore the Daily Meditations

Explore past meditations and annual themes by browsing the Daily Meditations archive. Explore by topic or use the search bar to find wisdom from specific teachers.

Join our email community

Sign-up to receive the Daily Meditations, featuring reflections on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.

Hidden Fields

Find out about upcoming courses, registration dates, and new online courses.
Our theme this year is Radical Resilience. How do we tend our inner flame so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or out? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.