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A rich text that in essence is a rich, thoughtful prayer (confession, praise, thanksgiving) of one steeped in evolution (“fate is bound up with the fate of nature itself”), a high regard for human beings (referring to the “order of supernatural growth to holiness”) and their capacity for charity and community (… all the elementary consciousness of the world shall converge and in which they shall be able to love one another: in other words, the rising of God.”). Hymn of the Universe is poetic a
Fold your wings, once spread wide
toward terrestrial peaks—ardent light;
await the decent of the Fire
supposed to take possession of you.
Attract its power to partake,
loosen bonds of affection
on objects cherished for their sake:
true union sought in and through.
Embrace, follow invincible,
natural bent—become one, be chaste;
refine crude materiality, disable
fibers of substance, excessive self-love.
Like a molecule open, pliant:
differentiate, existing freer and eager,
admitting into oneself even the indigent—
accept pain, take a cross along the Way.
A very thought-provoking book, even though it’s incredibly hard to read. You almost need a dictionary next to you to get through it. The first part is a sort of elongated prose poem about how he, as a Catholic priest, doesn’t have an altar wherever he is, so he consecrates the world instead of bread, and everything is made holy. There’s another section where he talks about some interesting visions he’s had, all mostly dealing with the analogy of converging lines–that all lines are drawn to and
He walks right on the line of being pantheistic, but is very careful to try to describe his views such as, “God is not IN the tree, but He may be seen through it.” That the beauty around us clearly has God’s hand on it and reflects the beauty of God. Pretty interesting, just very tough to read.
In a word: Breathtaking.
It’s been a very long time since I stepped foot in a church by my own volition, but if there were ever a book to capture those few things I miss—smoky sweet frankincense; the eucharistic prayer sung low like a chant; a congregation rumbling to life for a hymn, their hearts beating in tandem; the absolute peace of it all—this is it. Hymn of the Universe is one of the most exquisite works of theology that I have ever read and one that I will be holding close to my heart in