Readings for Reflection


Divine Indwelling

Thomas Keating
Faith calls for the total surrender of our faculties and of all our being to the truth inside and outside ourselves. The Christian tradition calls this reality God.
Christian faith is a leap into the unknown. Experience confirms the wisdom of every act of trust. The alternation of the darkness of faith leading to understanding, and understanding illuminating the darkness of faith is the normal way that leads to the growth of faith. Like everyone else, God wants to be accepted as he is – and he happens to be infinite, incomprehensible, and in inexpressible. We have to accept him, then, in the darkness of faith. It is only when we can except God as he is that we can give up the desire for spiritual experiences that we can feel. Faith is mature when we are at ease without particular experiences of God, when his presence is obvious without our having to reflect on it. One who has this faith simply opens his eyes and, wherever he looks, finds God.
Faith is strengthened by reading and meditation on the Word of God, prayer, fidelity to the duties of our state of life, and the acceptance of the circumstances of life. We must try to perceive Christ in the interruption of our plans and in the disappointment of expectations; in difficulties, contradictions, and trials. No matter what happens, “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him” (Rom. 8:28). The Holy Spirit works on our evolution not only by purifying and enlightening us from within, but also by allowing difficulties trials, and temptations to assail us from without. This much is certain, that once we make up our minds to seek God, he is already seeking us much more eagerly, and he is not going to let anything happen to prevent his purpose. He will bring people and events into our lives, and whatever we may think about them, they are designed for the evolution of his life in us.

(Thomas Keating, “The Heart of the World”, Crossroad, New York, 2008, 
pp 45-46)

Human evolution

Pope Francis

Human beings, even if we postulate a process of evolution, also possess the uniqueness which cannot be fully explained by the evolution of other open systems. Each of us has his or her own personal identity and is capable of entering into dialogue with others and with God himself. Our capacity to reason, to develop arguments, to be inventive, to interpret reality and create art, along with other not yet discovered capacities, are signs of a uniqueness which transcends the sphere of physics and biology. The sheer novelty involved in the emergence of a personal being
within the material universe presupposes a direct action of God and a particular call to life and to relationship on the part of a ‘Thou’ who addresses himself to another ‘thou’. The biblical accounts of creation invite us to see each human being as a subject who can never be reduced to the status of an object.
Yet it would also been mistaken to view other living beings as mere objects subjected to arbitrary human domination. When nature is viewed solely as a source of profit and gain, this has serious consequences for society. This vision of ‘might is right’ has engendered in men’s inequality, injustice and acts of violence against the majority of humanity, since resources end up in the hands of the first comer or the most powerful: the winner takes all. Completely at odds with this model are the ideals of harmony, justice, fraternity and peace as proposed by Jesus. As he said of the powers of his own age: ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentile lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so with you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant.’ (Mt 20:25-26)
The ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of God, which has already been attained by the risen Christ, the measure of ultimate maturity of all things. Here we can add yet another argument for rejecting every tyrannical and irresponsible domination of human beings over other creatures. The ultimate purpose of other creatures is not to be found in us. Rather, all creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God, in that transcendent fullness where the risen Christ embraces and illumines all things. Human beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator.

(Pope Francis, Laudato Si: on care for our common home, Veritas Publications, Dublin 2015, par 81-83)


Thomas Berry

This story of the universe is the new sacred story, … a biospiritual story as well as a galactic story and an Earth story. Above all, the universe as we know it is integral with itself throughout its vast extent in space and throughout the long series of its transformations in time. Everywhere, at all times, and in each of its particular manifestations, the universe is present to itself. Each atomic element is immediately influencing and being influenced by every other atom of the universe. Nothing can ever be separated from anything else. The earth is a single if highly differentiated community.
… So, too, every part of the universe activates a particular dimension or aspect of the universe in a unique and unrepeatable manner. Thus everything is needed. Without the perfection of each part, something is lacking from the whole. Each particular being in the universe is needed about the entire universe. With this understanding of our profound kinship with all life, we can establish the basis for a flourishing Earth community. … A vast mystery is being enacted in which we participate in a unique way.

Thomas Berry, Evening Thoughts
(God is Love: The Heart of all Creation Guidebook p 42.)

Into Unity Consciousness

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

The immensity of God is the essential attribute which allows us to seize him everywhere, within us and around us, …whose marrow is everywhere present and constitutes the true food of our lives. What is, when all is said and done, the concrete link which binds all these universal entities together and confers on them the final power of gaining hold of us? The essence of Christianity consists in asking oneself that question, and in answering: ‘The Word Incarnate, Our Lord Jesus Christ.’ How can we validate to ourselves this prodigious identification of the Son of Man and the divine milieu? A first step, unquestionably, is to see the divine omnipresence in which we find ourselves plunged as an omnipresence of action. God enfolds us and penetrates us by creating and preserving us.
Now let us go a little further. Under what form, and with what end in view, has the Creator given us, and still preserves in us, the gift of participated being? Under the form of an essential aspiration towards him – and with a view to the unhoped-for cleaving which is to make us one and the same complex thing with him. The action by which God maintains us in the field of his presence is a unitive transformation. … in which the substantial one and the created many fuse without confusion in a whole.
…As a consequence of the Incarnation, the divine immensity has transformed itself for us into the omnipresence of christification. … Everything I endure, with faith and love, by way of diminishment or death, makes me a little more closely an integral part of this mystical body.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu
(God is Love: The Heart of all Creation Guidebook p 84-85.)