A handful of important essays, along with some scattered minor papers, by the great Jesuit paleontologist-philosopher. This is the thirteenth and last volume of Teilhard's works to appear in English, and it sums up the remarkable religious vision which he spent his life articulating. In the two most important pieces, ""The Heart of Matter,"" which is a brief spiritual autobiography (1950), and ""The Christic,"" a profession of faith written a month before his death in 1955, Teilhard tries to justify his cosmic optimism. First of all, he asserts the essential continuity between matter and spirit (""Matter is the matrix of Spirit. Spirit is the higher state of matter""). Then he postulates a grand evolutionary spiral leading upward and inward from ""Biogenesis"" to ""NoÃ–genesis"" (from the Greek nous, mind, intelligence) to ""Christogenesis""--the blissful convergence and concentration of all reality in Christ. The major flaw in this bold and generous system is that it neglects the problem of evil. History, it seems, has no bitter lessons for Tellhard. Thus, in a rhapsodic essay printed here, ""Nostalgia for the Front"" (1917), he exults in the ""vast freedom"" and the ""superhuman atmosphere"" he experienced in battle. After almost three years in the trenches, after living through the siege of Verdun and poison gas attacks, he longed for peace, but the carnage never upset his starry-eyed equilibrium. The material in this collection adds little that is new to our knowledge of Teilhard and his thought, but it confirms his stature as one of the most fascinating figures in 20th-century theology.