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Observations placeholder

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre - Hymn of the Universe - The transfiguration of the picture of Christ



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Pere Teilhard de Chardin – Hymn of the universe

It was the whole face that shone in this way.  But the centre of the radiance and the iridescence was hidden in the transfigured portrait's eyes. 

Over the glorious depths of those eyes there passed in rainbow hues the reflection – unless indeed it were the creative prototype, the Idea – of everything that has power to charm us, everything that has life.  And the luminous simplicity of the fire which flashed from them changed, as I struggled to master it, into an inexhaustible complexity wherein were gathered all the glances that have ever warmed and mirrored back a human heart. 

Thus, for example, these eyes which at first were so gentle and filled with piety that I thought my mother stood before me, became an instant later, like those of a woman, passionate and filled with the power to subdue, yet at the same time so imperiously pure that under their domination it would have been physically impossible for the emotions to go astray.  And then they changed again, and became filled with a noble virile majesty, similar to that which one sees in the eyes of men of great courage or refinement or strength, but incomparably more lofty to behold and more delightful to submit to …..

Now while I was ardently gazing deep into the pupils of Christ's eyes, which had become abysses of fiery fascinating life, suddenly I beheld rising like a cloud, blurring and blending all that variety I have been describing to you.  Little by little an extraordinary expression, of great intensity, spread over the diverse shade of meaning which the divine eyes revealed, first of all permeating them and then finally absorbing them all ….

And I stood dumbfounded...

For this final expression which had dominated and gathered up into itself all the others was indecipherable.  I simply could not tell whether it denoted an indescribable agony or a superabundance of triumphant joy.  I only know that since that moment, I caught a glimpse of it only once again – in the glance of a dying soldier.

The source of the experience

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps