Love as the Energetic Power of Union

Q: “I read/hear much ‘about’ love, especially from C4C…but I have yet to hear/understand exactly what love ‘is’ other than an overwhelming affectation. Is it “not this, not that”?

Robert:  The static and stable cosmology that contextualized the theological development of the early and medieval church is no longer a viable cosmology. Enamored of the process of cosmic evolution revealed by modern science, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin removed the dry dust from our inherited theological corpus and so reconceived a new synthesis of God and creation. He offered us a new view of Incarnation that involves not only humans, but the whole material universe. In the Divine Milieu, he explains:

God is revealed everywhere, beneath our grouping efforts, as a universal milieu, only because God is the ultimate point upon which all realities converge. Each element of the world, whatever it may be, only subsists here and now in the manner on a cone whose lines meet in God, who draws them together […] It is precisely because God is infinitely profound and punctiform that God is infinitely near, and dispersed everywhere. It is precisely because God is the center that God fills the whole sphere.[1]

According to Teilhard, there is a Christological orientation to the scope and goal of cosmic history. He describes this process as one of personalization. At the heart of this vision is the notion that the situation of becoming is leading to deeper union: an assimilation that does not manifest in an unrecognizable fusion of elements but in differentiation. Considered first from a scientific perspective, Teilhard names this energetic power of unification love, the core energy of universe. As union becomes more complex, higher levels of consciousness emerge. On the level of human awareness, we have the capacity to direct this energy toward greater and richer expressions of communal convergence.

From the standpoint of theological speculation, Teilhard expands his understanding of love to the infinite presence of Christ coming to be through the process of evolution. Upon a close examination of Scripture, particularly St. Paul’s epistles and the writings of John, he realized that the Incarnation renders every speck of creation as divine revelation. There is no longer merely something but Someone rising to full, powerful consciousness at the root of our reality. Teilhard writes in Hymn of the Universe, “The mystical Christ has not yet attained full growth; and therefore the same is true of the Cosmic Christ […] Christ is the end-point of evolution, even the natural evolution, of all beings, and therefore evolution is holy.”[2] The fruit of the magnetization of love is the Total Christ—the final, life-sustaining synthesis of God and creation. Thus, the line of cosmic evolution reveals the creative, unifying freedom of divine love, one that imbues the journey of Christogenesis with meaning, purpose, and universal significance. Teilhard reminds us:

We live at the center of the network of cosmic influences as we live at the heart of the human community or among the myriads of stars, without alas, being aware of the immensity. If we wish to live our humanity and our Christianity to the full, we must overcome this lack of sensibility which tends to conceal things from us in proportion as they are too close to us or too vast. […] We shall be astonished at the extent and the intimacy of our relationship with the universe.[3]

And so, let us not only be mindful of the vast and profound interconnectedness of life made possible by the ongoing mystical nature of love, but that Christ is made is whole and complete from it, as well. This realization certainly makes the ways in which we choose to pursue the project of love all the more important.

 

Notes:

[1] Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu, trans. Bernard Wall (New York: Harper & Harper, 1960), 91.

[2] Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Hymn of the Universe, trans. Bernard Wall (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), 133.

[3] Chardin, The Divine Milieu, 28.

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