Claude Rivière, a journalist and director of the French radio station in Shanghai, met Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in Peking in 1938. It was only in 1968, thirteen years after Teilhard’s death, that she published En Chine avec Teilhard (1938-1944) . She justifies herself in the Foreword by writing: ” Since the death of the Father, I assist, with consternation, to the formation of a legend concerning the friend whom I knew “, and seeks to “To give him back his true face”. She entrusts us some letters received from him.
[…] Do not seek too much, nor prematurely, to penetrate and anticipate the future, Claude, but trust in it (insofar as it is charged, for each one of us, with the divine creative action); and, so that this trust itself is not lazy, but conquering, make a point of living, in full fidelity and in full awareness, the moment present. It is this succession of steps, taken one by one, in trust andhope, that leads us, one and all, to where we do not know. After much trial and error, I have not found a better formula, as far as I am concerned, to define and guide my inner life than this one (where the whole “Divine Environment” is summarized): “Communicate with the Becoming”, insofar as this one expresses at every moment the totality of the loving and personalizing action of God on us, through the Universe.
It is in this communion, pursued in common, that we will find each other, follow each other, and converge. For this effort, no need of metaphysics, but only the normal and pacifying care to put unity in oneself : between intelligence, heart and action. This, of course, means study and reflection. But this, above all, is a matter of prayer, and of good will, and of waiting, under a certain light, in a certain vision. It is this light, this vision, that we must seek, together, to develop in us – each according to the form that is ours. I rely on a certain passionate perspective of Matter, which has (as I said) natively seduced me. You build rather on a certain aesthetic and lyrical perception of the World. – Be fully yourself, and consider that the sum of your past experiences is the spiritualizable fabric of the spirit that is born in you. From the past, remember (but remember well !) only the multiform impulses that tend to chase you forward. From this point of view, nothing is useless, nothing is empty, nothing is regrettable in the Past, – as long as we gather and recast it all in a gesture of “communion” forward. […]
See you soon for more news.
With all my heart
[En Chine avec Teilhard 1938-1944, Seuil, 1968, p.227]
Proposal by Francine Renaudeau, La Baule-Escoublac reading group.