Now we are one-third of the way into this restoration year - we will start focusing more and more on Jesuits and their work in the post-restoration period. Up until now we have been very interested in exploring the events that led up to the suppression. Today marks the birthday of an outstanding Jesuit of the restored era, Fr Teilhard de Chardin. Born in France into an aristocratic family, his father was an amateur naturalist, his mother very interested in spirituality. He entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1899 in Aix en Provence. Teaching in Egypt for three years at the famous Jesuit College in Cairo saw him being 'dazzled' (as he put it in a letter) by the east. He studied theology in Hastings, in the United Kingdom, from 1908 to 1912. There he synthesized his scientific, philosophical and theological knowledge in the light of evolution.
With the outbreak of World War One in 1914 he was drafted into the French army. He turned down a commission in order to serve as a stretcher bearer, serving in many of the major battles including Verdun. Teilhard served heroically, winning the Croix the Guerre and the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur. Ordained a priest before the war - the experience of war had a dramatic impact on him - describing it as a meeting with the absolute. His writings and teachings attempting to synthesise spirituality with evolution led him to being silenced by the Vatican and Fr General Ledechowski. Both Henri du Lubac and Joseph Ratzinger played important roles in his post-conciliar rehabilitation.
He developed an idea of Vladimir Verdansky, an Ukranian geochemist, the concept of "the noosphere", which Theilard described as the emergence of a layer of thought and spirit surrounding the planet - as the biosphere is a layer of life surrounding the earth, similarly the atmosphere we understand to be the layer of air over the earth. The noosphere embodies human influence and interaction, stimulating bonds of unity and "convergence" through increasing consciousness and "spiritualization" to an ultimate consummation in what he calls "Christ-Omega"