New York: Harper & Row, 1965. First edition. Tall octavo, original blue cloth, original dust jacket. Top rear corner slightly bumped, short crease to inner front flap of bright, unclipped dust jacket. A near-fine copy. Item #586
"LET US LEAVE THE SURFACE AND, WITHOUT LEAVING THE WORLD, PLUNGE INTO GOD" Early American edition of these meditations distinguishing the "prayerful Teilhard" from the "Aquinas of the atomic era." (Time Magazine). First published in France in 1961, the book opens with a short Prefatory Letter by Queen Marie-José of Belgium (the last "May Queen" of Italy) and a Translator's Note by Simon Bartholomew, asserting that "while an acquaintance with Pere Teilhard's scientific works must naturally be helpful in understanding fully this present book, it is by no means necessary to know, still less to be in full agreement with, the author's scientific theory in order to be profoundly stirred and illumined by these pages." The collection consists of three initial sections, composed in China during a decades-long exile from teaching and publishing in Europe: The Mass on the World ("Ordos 1923"), Christ in the World of Matter ("Three stories in the style of [R.H.] Benson"), and The Spiritual Power of Matter ("Jersey, 8th August 1919). While in exile, Teilhard became "thrilled with the idea that through work in the world human beings were participating in the ongoing extension and consecration of God's creation. This insight was especially nourished by his devotion to the Eucharist. But many times while on the road he lacked the requirements for Mass. Thus, he was inspired to write 'Mass on the World'...'Since once again, Lord,...I have neither bread nor wine nor altar I will raise myself beyond these symbols, up to the pure majesty of the real itself; I, your priest, will make the whole earth my altar and on it will offer you all the labors and suffering of the world.'" (Robert Ellsberg, All Saints). A final section—Pensées ("Thoughts")—brings together an additional eighty-one numbered passages, selected by Fernande Tardivel and divided into four groups: 1. The presence of God in the World, 2. Humanity in Progress, 3. The Meaning of Human Endeavor, and 4. In the Total Christ. With a mosaic dust jacket designed by Guy Fleming and an author photo (on the rear inner flap) by Phillipe Halsmann.