TUESDAY THE TENTH OF APRIL, 2018
* William Law and Teilhard de Chardin *
Holy Lord, grant that I may worship you and pray to you with as much reverence and godly fear, as if I saw the heavens open and all the angels that stand around your throne. Amen.
( William Law )
A brighter dawn is breaking and earth with praise is waking;
for you, O King, most high, the power of death defies.
And you have come victorious, with risen body glorious,
who now forever lives and life abundant gives.
O free the world from blindness and fill the world with kindness,
give sinners resurrection, bring striving to perfection.
In sickness give us healing, in doubt your clear revealing,
that praise to you be given in earth as in your heaven.
( Percy Dearmer )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
William Law and Teilhard de Chardin: the burden of conscience
Conscience can be a burden, especially when it prevents someone from achieving personal success or gain, and such was the case with these two priests, one an Anglican of the eighteenth century, the other a Roman Catholic of the twentieth century.
Priests in the Church of England took an oath of loyalty to the monarch. In 1688 the English king, James the Second, married a Roman Catholic and had a son, who would have become the next king. This provoked a constitutional crisis in England and the king was deposed in favour of his daughters who were Protestant. When Queen Anne died in 1714, leaving no heir, the English Parliament invited the German House of Hanover to become the Royal Family, and one of the Hanoverians began to rule as King George the First. Clergy, who had previously given their oath of loyalty to the Stuarts, were now invited to give their oath to the Hanovers. Many clergy felt they could not in good conscience change their oath so easily, and they became known as “non-juring” clergy.
William Law was one such clergyman. His refusal to take the oath meant he had to step down from his position as a university fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. For a time he worked as a simple parish priest, but even that became untenable without taking the oath. He became a private tutor and wrote a series of books that had a profound effect on the spirituality of the English church and people.
His most famous work was "A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life", published in 1728. The thesis of this book is that God does not merely forgive our disobedience, he calls us to obedience and to a life completely centred in him.
Law died on the ninth of April in 1761.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a Roman Catholic priest, a Jesuit, who was trained as a palaeontologist and geologist. He was one of the first priests to understand and teach about evolution and a scientific understanding of the age of the earth. He tried to bridge the gap between the church’s traditional teaching on original sin and the contemporary understanding of evolution. In 1925 his Jesuit superiors ordered him to step down from his teaching position and retract his views on original sin. He could have left the Jesuits and the Roman Catholic church, but out of his vow of obedience, he obediently signed the retraction, and left immediately for China, where he participated in the discovery of the Peking Man.
Over the years his writings circulated privately, but they were forbidden to be published. In his posthumously published book, "The Phenomenon of Man," Teilhard writes of the unfolding of the material cosmos, from primordial particles to the development of life, human beings and the noosphere, and finally to his vision of the "omega point" in the future, which is "pulling" all creation towards it.
He died on this day in 1955.
Scripture. In the third chapter of "John," at verses thirty-three and thirty-four, we read:
Whoever has accepted his testimony has certified this, that God is true. He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.
... for peace in the world.
... that we may be people of integrity, always keeping the promises we make to others.
... that we may lead devout and holy lives that give glory to God.
... that we may discern the work of God in the physics of creation.
... for those in hospital waiting for surgery.
... for those convalescing after illness or surgery.
... for the LGBT people of Kyrgyzstan and other former Soviet regions in which they are routinely persecuted and attacked. DETAILS
... for those, mostly children, who were killed or injured when a school bus fell into a gorge in a mountainous region of India; for all who have been hurt in road traffic accidents recently. DETAILS
... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
From "The Making of a Mind" by Teilhard de Chardin:
Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you; your ideas mature gradually. Let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
O God, by your grace your servants William Law and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, suffered for the sake of conscience, yet remained true to you to the end. Grant that we also may be aflame with your spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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