Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fire Over the Earth from Mass on the World

Photo: Sunrise from Wikimedia Commons.
To continue on with Teilhard's Mass on the World from Hymn of the Universe—after the Offertory is a section called Fire Over the Earth.  Teilhard speaks of God as Power, Word and Fire.  The uncreated Light with which the Orthodox grace their icons, is the "blazing Spirit"called upon to transform us each and every day to new work, renewed and evolved .
Fire, the source of being: we cling so tenaciously to the illusion that fire comes forth from the depths of the earth and that its flames grow progressively brighter as it pours along the radiant furrows of life’s tillage. Lord, in your mercy you gave me to see that this idea is false, and that I must overthrow it if I were ever to have sight of you.
In the beginning was Power, intelligent, loving, energizing. In the beginning was the Word, supremely capable of mastering and moulding whatever might come into being in the world of matter. In the beginning there were not coldness and darkness: there was the Fire. This is the truth.
So, far from light emerging gradually out of the womb of our darkness, it is the Light, existing before all else was made which, patiently, surely, eliminates our darkness. As for us creatures, of ourselves we are but emptiness and obscurity. But you, my God, are the inmost depths, the stability of that eternal milieu, without duration or space, in which our cosmos emerges gradually into being and grows gradually to its final completeness, as it loses those boundaries which to our eyes seem so immense. Everything is being; everywhere there is being and nothing but being, save in the fragmentation of creatures and the clash of their atoms.
After reading this wonderful description of how the Light of the World eliminates our darkness, slowly and over God's time, not ours, I realize how impatient I tend to be over the smallest of things.  It also speaks to evolution as part of God's time and timing— patient and sure—growing to "its final completeness."  This very long view of time and creation must come naturally to geologists who see the earth layered in its millions of years of change.  And then to end the section with these most beautiful words of blessing over the living world and words of mystery for the evil around us — all living things are God's Body given for us and that the Blood shed for us are all those things bringing us to death.
Do you now therefore, speaking through my lips, pronounce over this earthly travail your twofold efficacious word: the word without which all that our wisdom and our experience have built up must totter and crumble — the word through which all our most far-reaching speculations and our encounter with the universe are come together into a unity. Over every living thing which is to spring up, to grow, to flower, to ripen during this day say again the words: This is my Body. And over every death-force which waits in readiness to corrode, to wither, to cut down, speak again your commanding words which express the supreme mystery of faith: This is my Blood.

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