NASA photo showing the Milky Way
We continue with Henry Vaughan:
If a star were confin’d into a tomb,
Her captive flames must needs burn there;
But when the hand that lock’d her up gives room,
She’ll shine through all the sphere.
O Father of eternal life, and all
Created glories under Thee!
Resume Thy spirit from this world of thrall
Into true liberty.
Either disperse these mists, which blot and fill
My perspective still as they pass:
Or else remove me hence unto that hill
Where I shall need no glass.
I cannot help but think of Therese and John of the Cross, reading the lines: ‘If a star were confin’d into a tomb, Her captive flames must needs burn there.’ John’s prison cell and even Therese’s Carmel must seem like prisons to some of us. I’ve certainly had moments when I’ve just had to escape from certain rooms and get out of doors. I believe it may have something to do with the harsh artificial light in there. And Traveller friends have described feeling oppressed even by spending too much time indoors in friendly places.
But Therese and John still burned in their confinement, and shine through this sphere today, enlightening many with their wisdom. We can pray for God to disperse the mists that fill our lenses – Vaughan is surely peering through a telescope as the words come into his mind. And we can look forward to the city on a hilltop where we will live by the light of the Lord God.
I hope the stars will still be there!