Third Self

I don’t remember a whole lot about math; much of what I do remember, Dad taught me. I think this is true because I learn not only through textbooks, but also through relationship: father and daughter. As I worked on school projects, he would interject his mechanical engineering skills. At the time, I didn’t appreciate this as much as I do now. I recall him stressing the importance of the triangle while attempting to build a tall tower or as I tried to create a strong foundation for a bridge. By experimenting with various shapes, I began to understand the triangle’s importance.

Richard Rohr speaks of how relationships “can have an effect on things—both on the individuals that make up a relationship and on things outside. Think of what close-knit groups of people can accomplish, for example, sports teams, research teams, ministry groups, and certain famous families. . . .” Rohr continues…

[In] Teilhard de Chardin’s approach, when two people come together in a caring and productive way, not only are the two relating people enhanced and their capacities developed by their interaction, but their union, or relationship, becomes itself a Third Self [which] Teilhard calls . . . “a psychic unity” or “higher soul” or “higher center.” . . . The Third-Self relationship is capable of accomplishing more than either [of the members] alone.

“The Church’s One Foundation” is a hymn that speaks of relationship between the church and Jesus Christ and union with “God, the Three in One.” It has endured and been accepted by many denominations over the years because of its “careful grounding in Scripture.” (Carl P. Daw Jr.) Even its tune (AURELIA) seems to have a relationship with the text. Daw says, the fact that “… it is almost impossible to hum this tune without hearing phantom harmonies is a measure of how integral the parts really are. Perhaps without realizing it, the editors are making a theological statement about the inter-relatedness of the members of the church by choosing the tune to set this text.”

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