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Teilhard de Chardin - The Divine Milieu Explained: A Spirituality for the 21st Century Paperback – November 14, 2007
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About the Author
Louis M. Savary, PhD, STD, is author of The Divine Milieu Explained and The New Spiritual Exercises in the Spirit of Teilhard de Chardin (Paulist Press).
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Though there is some redundancy, the book nevertheless uses the repetition to identify and reinforce fundamental principles; for example: Dynamism over Stasis; Order over Chaos; Consilience, Inter-dependence and Inter-relationship of all created things including people over the false supremacy of Individuality; an exaltation of the role of Servant/Participant toward the glory and good of the Lord and Other People in the Creative process over the false god of Masters/Dominators of the Universe and of others. Gone is the cult of personality and glorification of a false notion of "self-made men and women"!
I was particularly impressed with the explication of one of my favorite Teilhardean themes - and a most difficult one to explain to others - the "passivities of diminishment" as positive contributors to the creative process. This break-through revelation is so counter-intuitive and counter-cultural. I now better appreciate how Teilhard perceives these diminishments and travails of ordinary life as disguised blessings and opportunities for sanctification that must be viewed and accepted as integrative parts of "growth" in the wholeness of a maturing creation. In that same vein, I now better appreciate the cohesiveness of all material life with the spirit animating that life, understood with the epistemological expansion of knowledge bursts and spurts that open one's eyes, hearts and minds as never before with each new discovery. To dare to patch a fabulous phrase of the great Teilhard himself, we have the chance, after all other conquests, to "discover fire for the second time in the history of the world" by "harnessing for God the energies of Love".
I offer a final comment on another well- developed insight in this fine book by Mr. Savary, to wit, each of us has a part to play in this magnificent and unfolding drama of creation. A mentor of mine at any early stage of my career and ecucation told me this little story that seems apt: In an early agricultural age of this country, a reverend chanced upon a farmer along a road. The farmer was leaning on a fence pondering, perhaps even admiring his crop soon to be harvested. The reverend commented, with repeated salutations and thanks to God, how God had given the farmer an adundance of fertile soil and God-given excellent growing weather, etc etc etc. Finally the farmer spoke gently and without bitterness, "Yes, Reverend, God did a lot here; but you should have seen this place when He was tending it alone!" I think Teilhard would agree that we all have and are expected to play our important roles in this glorious creation God has given us. Louis Savant's book assists readers and admirers to see the luminous and still unfolding truths of Teilhard's momentous insights, now more fully appreciated recently even by Pope Benedict XVI himself.
This is a book to read, savor and return to as a companion to The Divine Milieu itself.
JOSEPH W. BELLACOSA (August, 2011)
Readers need to be clear that this book does not include the actual text, so it is necessary to have a copy of The Divine Milieu in one hand and Savary's book (or, as in my case, a Kindle) in the other. If you are purchasing a copy of "The Divine Milieu" for this purpose it probably makes sense to try to find the edition Savary uses (Torchlight); but I managed with an old Fontana edition. Having now completed this exercise I feel able to reverse roles and read Teilhard's book with Savary in the background.
The sheer breadth and originality of Teilhard's vision and spirituality have now been brought out by Savary, and will, I am confident, excite, delight and inform a whole new range of readers. Here are just two tasters: 1. The body on the cross was not just that of Jesus of Nazareth; it was also the Body of Christ in all its totality; so that the whole cosmos was crucified in him 2. Just as the Son plunged into all living materiality (represented by Mary) at his birth, thereby infusing it with the divine spirit, so at his baptism he plunged into all non-living materilaity (represented by the water of the Jordan), thereby infusing that part of Creation with that spirit. There is enough there to ponder for the rest of my life - and they are just two examples of many extraordinary insights from this amazing mystic, prophet and paleontologist.
Savary has done us all a great service with his interpretation of this small but vital part of Teilhard's work. My prayer is that he won't stop there. I for one will be first in the queue for Savary's explanation of The Phenomenon of Man, The Future of Man, and so on. I strongly recommend this book.
I just finished "The Divine Milieu Explained", and shared my mother's experience. I enjoyed every page; Dr. Savary really is very good at simplifying and explaining complex concepts. Chardin always interested me, but I never read him through. This book made it do-able. I remember how my mother loved learning big things in little ways; reading this book made me feel like being with Dr. Savary at her table.
I work as a chaplain for cancer patient, in a world that is full of suffering and questions. There's a lot that will help me in this book, as I sit, share, and pray with people in pain, wanting to make sense of it.
It helped that I did quite a bit of the reading on a boardwalk bench by the ocean. Teilhard, the sea and sky go very well together. But then again, God is just as present in these keys that I am punching...
Congratulations on a great book. Dr. Savary has a passion for Chardin's theology; he has made that accessible to us all.