A patron of the silenced, of science, of faith

Today marks the death of one of my heroes of the faith – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ. Although known today, he died in near obscurity, as he was largely silenced for his work during his life. Today is the anniversary of his death.

When I work with teenagers for confirmation preparation, they often tell me that science is the challenge between them, or one of the challenges, a belief in God. That is when I play the Teilhard de Chardin card, because when I tell them that he was a paleontologist, they are often surprised.

When I work with myself, at times frustrated with Church, I play the Teilhard de Chardin card for myself. He was silenced, I remind myself – and he was doing really important work. I am reminded of something I once read that said that turning up the oven does not result in a cake baked more quickly. Would Teilhard de Chardin be the giant that he is today, if not for the timing of how his work became known to the world?

Yes skeptics, I hear you thinking that this is a huge rationalization on my part. Maybe, but maybe not. Over 50 now, I have become more aware of how my own timing ins not usually in the best interest of anyone but me. And at this point in my life, I have lost most  of the interest in the supremacy of my own timing and interest. (Note: most of…)

Yesterday I had a good cry born out of frustration over a church related matter. Today I am still upset, but tempered by this as-yet-uncanonized patron saint of mine.

I love the words along with the picture above. It is good science, but it is great theology, great eucharistic theology. Such things are not incompatible – they never were, and they never will be.

God is very patient with us, may we be so patient with one another – and with our selves. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, pray for us!

Postscript: I have one final paper due for school; it is to be delivered at a colloquium on Saturday. Needless to say, I have not completed it, so it seems unlikely that any blogging will come from between now and then. Since I have to go out of town for said colloquium, it is unlikely that I will post anything else before Monday. I graduate, one month from today!


4 thoughts on “A patron of the silenced, of science, of faith

  1. Fran, beloved Pierre is a good place to rest. I am sorry that church matters came to a head, hopefully that means they are processed and all can move on. I also have a struggle with my timing. But, as you, I remind myself of the people who came before me and I allow my 21st century mind to remember a time when life took time. It isn’t easy, I hear an old Cat Stevens tune play in my head (Ready to love) but whenever I look back I see that I (or maybe something/someone else) wasn’t ready until God said it was ready and I wasn’t even aware of when that was happening except in retrospect. That is the moment of reflection that I believe in what Matthew tells us, that God knows every hair on my head, not to worry.

    Good luck with all of your work, I have no doubt that you will do very well.


  2. A great post, Fran. Thank you.
    I have a hunch that when Teilhard de Chardin died, he feared he was dying a complete failure…
    I’m sorry you had to cry over a church-related matter, Fran… Maybe it will help to know that Jesus was crying with you…


  3. A day late, but I still appreciate knowing that April 10 is a day to honor that great man. I hope you will look at Richard Rohr’s video. How we too often try to limit God, especially when prophets try to point us beyond.


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