Margate Sunset, as beloved by JWM Turner.
My wife’s nursing magazine says this is ‘Sun Awareness Week’. I’m more aware of the cold North Wind today.
However the weather, here is a reflection on the sun, on not taking things for granted – and, appropriately after Christopher’s post yesterday, the Our Father. Click on the link to read Fr James Kurzynski’s post from the Vatican Observatory website.
It’s St David’s Eve. The Welsh side of this blog insists that the Bible black dark is not to be feared as Lord is creating all through the night. Laudato Si’!
Fr James Kurzynski’s mother confirms this for us in this story of his recent visit home. Enjoy the story of turn right at the cow
Despite a few, often painful, boundary disputes over the years, the Church is not opposed to Science as a way of learning about Creation. There is no need to abandon the faith for that reason, as Fr James Kurzynski tells us in this article from the Vatican Observatory blog. Read and enjoy.
Faith and Astronomy
Most High God!
Thou that enkindlest
the fires of the shining stars!
Thou that art peace and life and light and truth,
hear and grant our prayers.
All the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.
I had been hoping to look into Laudato Si’ in some depth and detail over the coming months: the care of our common home is important! And then I received an important and interesting reflection from Fr James Kurzynski on the Vatican Observatory web site. He recounts:
A person asked what new technologies we should be embracing as Catholics to take the first steps toward caring for our common home in light of Laudato Si’? I could tell I shocked the room a little when I simply said, “None of them.”
I urge you to read the whole article through this link – changing hearts or changing habits? – and Laudato Si’ – and also to write to us through the comments box at the bottom of this page. I welcome contributions from followers and readers as well as our established writers. Please share your insights.
If we receive comments I may collate them and use them in further posts about Laudato Si’. I look forward to hearing from you.
I suggested yesterday that there is something ridiculous – humanly speaking – about the whole Christmas story. But we love stories! Books, TV, films, The Archers on the radio, all have their followers – and their detractors. We learn who we are through stories.
When training as a teacher I reviewed a children’s picture book about the Rhine, a few words and some rather good photographs, including the Lorelei Rock. After the story of the sirens luring boats to destruction was told the young reader was asked, Do you think this story is true?
Abel is now eighteen months, a little young to listen to stories, but not too young to tell himself some. Among his words are digger, car, and brrrrm. Enough to start conversations in what some people call the real world, as he points to his Dad’s or his grandmother’s car. Enough to recognise a toy digger as a digger, and push it along, brrrrm. Enough to recognise a cartoon of a car on a tiny sticker given to me by one of his Auntie’s pupils. Is it a true car?
The idea of a car does not depend on size for Abel. Yes, some will dismiss the toy and sticker as unreal. But as Fr Kurzynski suggested yesterday, we are in danger of just not getting it. Small and big may well look different from a divine point of view. Or even from a deeply human one – see our post “A World of my own?” last May 14.
In this life, Jesus started off very small … Be grateful for small mercies.
And let’s pray today for mercy on innocent children suffering in war zones in Congo, Syria and elsewhere.
The cross shines into the stable in Blake’s Nativity
There is something ridiculous from a human point of view about the whole Christian story. It’s not as though we need Richard Dawkins to point that out to us. Saint Paul got there first and what he says about Christ crucified applies equally to Christ new-born:
We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness: But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Over at the Vatican Observatory website, Fr James Kurzynski has been grappling with new research that suggests there are two trillion galaxies – galaxies, not stars – in the Universe. He concludes with these words:
According to the definition of the Sacred Name, God IS, God’s understanding of creation is not limited to the musing of the human person. Therefore, it very well might be that to God every microorganism is a universe and every universe is a microorganism. The God who Is, the God who is Being, can at the same time be present to the grandeur of the totality of all creation, both known and unknown, seen and unseen, while at the same time be present to the smallest singularity in which the potential of a two trillion galaxy universe resides. In short, God transcends our limited language of small and big, helping us understand that the God who brought all things into existence is also aware of the smallest of things in existence, even, to quote Scripture, the hairs on our head and the sparrows of the sky.
Reflection: How do you perceive your place in God’s creation? Does it fill you with awe and wonder or do you feel a bit deflated, feeling small and insignificant? In [this] season, let us remember that we believe in a God who both brought into existence an unthinkably big creation, but also entered into our smallness in the womb of Mary. And may we open our hearts to God [at] Christmas and allow God’s infinite love to enliven our soul through the intimacy of Christ’s love for us and the stirrings of the Holy Spirit.
Do find time over the next few days to read Fr Kurzynski’s essay in full HERE.
This is a reflection from Fr James Kurzynski of the Vatican Observatory. Well worth reading as we approach Christmas.
Do we see the story of the Christmas Star in its proper light?
Over at the Vatican Observatory Website, Fr James Kurzynski links Mother Teresa’s shoes, church architecture, the Eucharist and an astronomer’s view of creation.
He reminds me of a Welsh astronomer, poet and theologian, Henry Vaughan, who mused on the saints:
They are all gone into the world of light!
And I alone sit ling’ring here;
Their very memory is fair and bright,
And my sad thoughts doth clear.
Follow the links and enjoy both astronomers’ reflections!
Agnellus’ Mirror does not reflect a view of science as anti-religion, or yet anti-Christian. Quite the opposite. And Franciscan spirituality is embodied and grounded, so that Pope Francis could entitle his encyclical on the care of creation, Laudato Si’ after Saint Francis’s hymn of creation.
In this article from the Vatican Observatory, Fr James Kurzynski writes: ‘ As we explore Saint Bonaventure’s mysticism, we will come to see how Franciscan spirituality, greatly influenced by the thought of Saint Bonaventure, affirms the exploration of the natural world and how this exploration leads us to the knowledge of God.’
It’s a long article by our standards, but well worth reading!
Bonaventure and finding God in science
Saint Bonaventure at Saint Antony of Padua church, Rye, Sussex. MMB
Fountain, St Maurice, Switzerland. MMB.
Later in the year we will spend time contemplating The Year of Mercy, and around the feast of St Francis in October, we’ll look at Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’.
I recommend, in the meantime, this article from the Catholic Astronomer, which shows how space exploration is helping to give water to the thirsty, one of the corporal works of mercy.
give drink to the thirsty