Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a French Jesuit priest who had previously worked in archaeology and paleontology. He was involved in the archaeological digs which uncovered both Piltdown Man and Peking Man.
Several of his books were denied publication during his lifetime and others were censured by the church as they challenged the Augustinian concept of “original sin.”
His most important work was “The Phenomenon of Man,” but the work I enjoy the most is, “The Hymn of the Universe.”
Teilhard viewed the universe as a cradle from which all life evolves. Although it can be cold and violent it also is nurturing. It is God’s way of bringing life into being.
In the book, Teilhard describes one Sunday night that he was working on a dig in China and realized that he had not yet fulfilled his priestly responsibility to celebrate the Eucharist. And he couldn’t – at least in the traditional way of offering up bread and wine – as he had neither of them. As he describes standing on the open Chinese plain, “the stars filled the sky – attesting to the omnipresence of God.”
During the canon of the mass, Teilhard offered back to God what He had given us – the majesty of His Universe.
It must have been a remarkable service.