Abraham Lincoln once recited a line from the Gospel that has been quoted often over the years and especially recently. Lincoln delivered that line in a speech that he gave on June 16, 1858 as he accepted the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat from Illinois that was held by Stephen A. Douglas. This speech is most remembered for Lincoln's quotation of the biblical phrase, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." (Mark 3:25, Matthew 12:25)
The Republican Party was being newly formed at the time by an odd coalition of folks whose only unity consisted in their abhorrence of slavery. The new Republican Party contained former members of the Whig Party who opposed slavery, members of the Free Soil Party, Democrats who opposed the Kansas Nebraska Act, former members of the "Know Nothings Party who viewed slavery as a threat to political freedom, and abolitionists who sought a political outlet for their hatred of slavery. It was Lincoln's task to pull these different groups together in order to build a consensus strong enough to hold the Union together. We are now at another point is history when our Union is becoming divided against itself, but what is the solution to save us from so much civil strife?
I believe that the solution can also be found in scripture. Jesus says in Mark 12:31 and Matthew 22:39, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Yes, of course, that is easy for us to say, especially when we speak from a high horse or a high pulpit. As a practical matter, however, what might be the mechanism for the change in thinking that could result in such a change of heart? I found an answer in something written long ago by St. Augustine. Who wrote: “Love men, slay error; without pride be bold in the truth, without cruelty fight for the truth.” (Diligite homines, interficite errores; sine superbia de veritate præsumite, sine sævitia pro veritate certate.)
We must remember that we all make mistakes and that we will be judged by God as to whether the mistakes that we make are just errors without malice or if they are sins of omission or commission. In the meantime whatever mistakes that we perceive about others by using our five senses are either violations of societal laws or common errors, both of which may or may not be subject to temporal punishment depending upon the power and authority of the court that does the judging including the court of public opinion.
Time and again we see people who worship the same God yet hate each other. We also see patriots from various political parties who profess to love their country but do not love people who are not just like them and so there are people of different races and denominations who hate each other. The solution therefore is to hate error but love people. How? Through empathy, education, and charity toward all. By understanding that most hatreds are rooted in humiliation, envy, and fear brought on by ignorance. If the United States is truly “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” then it should carry the seal of God which is Truth. Our task is not to tear down but to build up, to build a consensus based upon unity in spirit, “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” - “For the Greater Glory of God” (the motto of St. Ignatius, The Jesuit Order, and Pope Francis).
14 March 2017
“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.” (Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ was a French idealist philosopher and Jesuit priest who trained as a paleontologist and geologist and took part in the discovery of Peking Man.
Born: May 1, 1881, Orcines, France
Died: April 10, 1955, New York City
Teilhard de Chardin wrote a book called the Divine Milieu in which he addressed evolution in both scientific and spiritual terms. He is endorsed by both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis. The following are some of my notes from "Teilhard De Chardin - The Divine Milieu Explained: A Spirituality for the 21st Century" by Louis M. Savary.
Evolution is happening continually on every level of being and has a direction.
The Law of Attraction, Connection, Complexity, and Consciousness
As elemental things are attracted they combine to form connections. They join together. Their connection or union is always a bit more complex than the separate parts. Since things never stop connecting because of attraction, the complexity of unions that are being created keeps growing. In this way complexity leads creation into consciousness.
At the physical level, the law of attraction is continuously expressed in four forces:
3.) The strong and the weak nuclear forces
4.) Dark Energy
At the chemical level it is revealed in those attractive forces that bind atoms and nuclei together.
At the biological level, attraction is manifested in forces that keep bringing insects to plants to pollinate them, and bring animals in heat together to keep their species reproducing.
At its highest manifestation at the spiritual level attraction is expressed as love that brings humans together in friendship, marriage, and family.
Attraction, connection, and complexity eventually gave birth to movement, sensation, perception, awareness, and finally consciousness.
Evolution's trajectory is urging humans toward higher and higher levels of consciousness. We are at the apex of evolution's pyramid.
"Spirit is the indestructible secret at the heart of the world. Evolution is based on spirit and not on matter".
"The success of humanity's evolution will not be determined by 'Survival of the Fittest' but by our own capacity to converge and unify".
One of the most important characteristics distinguishing man from all other forms of nature is his knowledge of transitoriness, of beginning and end, and therefore of the gift of time. In man, transitory life attains its peak of animation, of soul power, so to speak. This does not mean man alone would have a soul. Soul quality pervades all beings. But man’s soul is most awake in his knowledge of the inter-changeability of the terms “existence” and “transitoriness." To man, time is given like a piece of land, as it were, entrusted to him for faithful tilling; a space in which to strive incessantly, achieve self-realization, move onward and upward. Yes, with the aid of time, man becomes capable of wresting the immortal from the mortal.
All of Creation from the beginning of time forms a single whole - a single immense system.
Merge yourself with the Divine Milieu in everything that you do until it becomes a habit.
Three Spheres of Creation:
Inner Sphere - Non-living Geosphere
Middle Sphere - Mass of Organic Matter - Biosphere
Outer Sphere - Noosphere - Sphere of spirit and mind
"The guidance provided by the clergy to the flock is being confined to a little artificial world of ritualism, of religious practices and pious extravaganzas that is completely cut off from the true current of reality."
"The true struggle that we are witnessing is not between believers and non-believers but between to types of believers. Two conceptions of the Divine are confronting one another. A secular religion of the Earth is fighting against a spiritual religion of Heaven."
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
In order to have free will it would be impossible to have a universe based upon evolutionary processes without conflict, confusion, competition, struggle, violence, failure, loss, sadness, grief, death, and all the rest of the diminishments because the world is populated with billions of people, each of whom are struggling to achieve different and often conflictiong personal desires.
Diminishments are inevitable like the diminishment you receive from a female mosquito that sucks your blood for her own nourishment. Figuratively speaking, this world is full of "bloodsuckers" of one type or another.
You must acknowledge that the fact earth itself and everything on it is still incomplete and still in a state of process.
God is capable of making good out of evil. The higher good will be accomplished in good time. It isn't necessary an instant transformation.
God transfigures our diminishments, our partial deaths, and even our final death by integrating them into a better plan, providing that we lovingly trust Him.
Evolution's direction in the Divine Milieu is always meant to move in an upward trajectory, from separateness to union, from complexity to higher complexity, from consciousness to higher consciousness, from matter to spirit.
All of the diverse elements of creation are living in the divine milieu and are driven by the law of "attraction/connection/complexity/consciousness". Every fragment of creation feels the impulse and the longing at some incomprehensibly basic level of consciousness, to become greater. Grains of sand that had been lying on the seashore for centuries have become "greater" as scientists have used them as key components in a computer's silicon memory chip. Through the human impulse to evolve, sand has become more than mere matter. It has tasted spirit.
Implanted in us is the law of attraction, connection, complexity, consciousness, that is the impulse to climb upward toward the light. We are, in effect, suspended between the pull of gravity downward and the bottomless pit below us and the sunlit peak of the resurrection of the body and eternal life. Every step of the climb is a continual crucial moment of decision for the hiker. There is always a temptation to rest.
Realize that the frontier between the material and the spiritual is essentially relative and shifting. What is good today can be bad tomorrow or good for one person and bad for another. Everyone must find their specific path in regard to dealing with the material.
It is not our business to withdraw from the world before our time, before we reach our spiritual destination.
From the material perspective matter seems to devolve us toward maximum pleasure and minimum effort and from the spiritual perspective in its evolutionary potential matter emerges as the principle of minimum pleasure and maximum effort. Instead of being subject to entropy matter becomes subject to synergy.
Synergy is part of the complexity in the law of attraction, connection, complexity, consciousness.
The Law of Attraction, Connection, Complexity, and Consciousness is constantly urging humans to raise what is inert matter into a more spiritual form from that which is started.
When all matter has been reclaimed by spirit, then our world will be ready for "Parousia" - the summary and fulfillment of the world, or in other words, the Resurrection.
Divine Mileu is a concrete transcendence which is a paradox because all life is united as one being but we still retain our own individuality.
Growth in spirituality and growth in deeper awareness of God run a proportional path.
God reveals himself everywhere as a universal milieu, only because he is the ultimate point upon which all realities converge.
The Divine Milieu is like the radio, television, and cell phone signals - omnipresent, always acting, always operating. However, the omnipresence of God is never out of range unlike electronic waves.
The next great advance in evolutionary transformation will be the gradualization of mankind. Humanity will converge towards a single society. It will occur by means of progress in technology, urbanization, multinational corporations, and globalization, and through ever expanding improvements in health, education, communication, transportation. Politics, economics, culture, tradition, language, symbols, and habits of thought will converge in one body of humanity in an upward spiral of progression.
At the present time "evil" is a suitable label for the present disorder that will eventually be resolved by synthesis into order. We talk of the need "to put our lives in order." This is a collective progression that is constantly evolving from disorder to order albeit with some fluctuations along the way.
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