Behind and Beneath The Divine Milieu:
Foundational Principles of Teilhard’s Thought and Spirituality

By Louis M. Savary, Ph.D., S.T.D.
Patricia H. Berne, Ph.D.

Teilhard claims that The Divine Milieu is a “simple book of piety.” However, readers encountering Teilhard’s spiritual writings for the first time are often overwhelmed by his complex, convoluted, and mystical writing—sentences often running 60 to 90 words long. However, more important is the fact that Teilhard’s spirituality is based on his many unique foundational beliefs, which unfortunately remain unexpressed in The Divine Milieu. Many of his underlying principles are radically different from those of traditional piety. Without awareness of those underlying principles and beliefs, readers assuming traditional meanings of key terms will utterly miss the power and potential of Teilhard’s revolutionary and evolutionary spirituality. The aim of this workshop is not to summarize the content of The Divine Milieu but to spell out five key principles of Teilhard’s thought and five principles that shape the core of his spirituality. All of these principles, for the most part, are merely assumed and implied in The Divine Milieu, and the book cannot be truly understood by a new reader without constant awareness of them.

Teilhard’s “New Eyes”
New Meanings for Key Terms in Theology and Spirituality

By Louis M. Savary, Ph.D., S.T.D.
Patricia H. Berne, Ph.D

When most people reading a book of Christian spirituality see words like “Creation”, “God,” “Spirit,” “Incarnation,” “Christ,” “The Cross,” “Resurrection,” “Revelation,” and “Eucharist,” they immediately give them a traditional meaning. However, when Teilhard the evolutionary scientist and mystic sees these words with his “new eyes,” they take on wondrously new dimensions. Readers that see these words in The Divine Milieu and interpret them in a traditional way will miss the main reason Teilhard wrote his book and his purpose in inviting Christians to explore a spirituality and spiritual practice that fully embraces our contemporary world and our scientific knowledge of it. This workshop will attempt to explore some of those new meanings of traditional terms. In this way it will give new readers a head start in truly grasping the full meaning of Teilhard’s spirituality and in developing “new eyes” for themselves.

From Alpha to Omega:
Teilhard’s View of Human Destiny and Its Implications for Contemporary Spirituality

By Louis M. Savary, Ph.D., S.T.D.
Patricia H. Berne, Ph.D

In The Divine Milieu, Teilhard said he was writing his spirituality book for people who were passionately in love not only with God but also with the world. In contrast, most traditional spiritualities say you must love God and NOT the world. How can Teilhard say you can love both passionately? In exploring the stages of evolutionary history from what today is called the Big Bang, Teilhard finds that God has implanted a drive in creation toward ever-greater levels of complexity and ever-greater degrees of consciousness. This drive is governed by the Spirit in which all things live and have their being. This workshop will outline the trajectory that begins with the divine Absolute, Alpha, and will lead us to its complete fulfillment in the Universal Christ, the Omega. As members of that great Body of Christ, by our activities and passivities (what we undergo), we are invited to participate in the greatest and most exciting project ever imagined. Teilhard’s spirituality in The Divine Milieu shows us how we can get aboard the project team Omega.