“Each one of us has his Jacob’s ladder, whose rungs are formed of a series of objects. Thus it is not our business to withdraw from the world before our time; rather let us learn to orient our being in the flux of things; then, instead of the force of gravity which drags us down to the abyss of self-indulgence and selfishness, we shall feel a salutary “component” emerge from created things, which………….will enlarge our horizons, will snatch us away from our pettiness and impel us imperiously toward a widening vision……….”
Teilhard saw matter or physical things as rungs that we “climb” to get to God. Thus, rather than withdrawing from matter and focusing prematurely on spirit, he encourages us to be fully engaged in life including its material aspects. His own experience showed that engagement in the physicality of life can broaden horizons, keep us from pettiness, broaden our vision, help us renounce pleasures that are no longer helpful, and enhance our desire for ever more beautiful spiritual awareness. “Whatever you do, work at it with your whole being. Do it for the Lord rather than just for yourself.” Colossians 3:10-11, 23. Many times Teilhard returns to the importance of intention in what we do.
Why do I do the things I do? Is it for the glory of God or for my own self-satisfaction? Thomas Merton once wrote, “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.” I pray for the courage to be equally frank in my own assessment. Do I know where I am going? I wish I had a clear answer. How about you?