Tag Archives: Guy Consolmagno

January 14: Why are you doing astronomy when there are people starving in the world? 

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A very short question and answer that I could not resist sharing with you all. Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ is the Director of the Vatican Observatory. This is taken from an interview he gave a couple of years ago, which you can find here.  Go on, click!

Why are you doing astronomy when there are people starving in the world? 

I learned the answer to that when I served in the US Peace Corps. When my African students learned I was an astronomer, they wanted to look through my little telescope and have the same joy in discovering the universe that I had. They, too, had an insatiable hunger to know about the universe. They reminded me: it’s not enough to feed the body; we also have to feed the soul.

Psalm 146(147) 2-5 links care for physical and emotional needs with astronomical endeavour.

The Lord buildeth up Jerusalem: he will gather together the dispersed of Israel. Who healeth the broken of heart, and bindeth up their bruises. Who telleth the number of the stars: and calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and great is his power: and of his wisdom there is no number.

Brother Guy and his colleagues are still doing one part of the Lord’s temporal work while others are healing broken hearts and bodies, all in his grace. Let us pray for the wisdom to respond to his call, day by day.

MMB.

Image of a galaxy from NASA.

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17th April: Losing sight of the light of the night.

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The Milky Way is lost, says Brother Guy Consolmagno of the Vatican Observatory. Do read what he has to say about our world-wide obsession with not being in the dark and how the deeds of darkness are committed by streetlight. Did not God create and separate light and darkness, and

God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven, to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: To shine in the firmament of heaven, and to give light upon the earth. And it was so done. And God made two great lights: a greater light to rule the day; and a lesser light to rule the night: and the stars. And he set them in the firmament of heaven to shine upon the earth. And to rule the day and the night, and to divide the light and the darkness. And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:14-18

If the darkness was not good, God would have chased it away entirely. We all need it and yet we are trying to do away with it.

MMB.

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July 8; Relics VI: ‘The knick-knacks that define us’

‘The knick-knacks that define us’ (see Tuesday’s blog post) – Bro Guy Consolmagno has his meteorites in the Vatican Observatory while my wife has a collection of pebbles in the bathroom. The red one came from Dylan Thomas’s Laugharne beach, the grey, crystalline shard from Saint Maurice in Switzerland; a smooth grey one, mottled with Saint Cuthbert’s beads from Lindisfarne; pink and white ones from Assisi, the colours of the buildings there.

One day one of our descendants will toss them all out for they are not even labelled. None are gemstones, so they are not valuable in this world’s eyes, and while Cuthbert may well have walked over our pebble on Holy Island, the shard from St Maurice was quarried not long before we found it on a roadside heap and cannot have been seen by the Saint.

Nevertheless I find such souvenirs as potent a call to prayer as Becket’s bones.

Francis and Cuthbert are two saints who go well together, resolutely poor men who lived for God; Maurice and his mess-mates died for Him. I can at least hope to stumble along in their wake.

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And Dylan? A pebble from his beach at Laugharne reminds me (as do the others) of time spent with loved ones, but also the daily call to live to the best of my love.

Hark: I trumpet the place,
From fish to jumping hill! Look:
I build my bellowing ark
To the best of my love
As the flood begins,
Out of the fountainhead
Of fear, rage red, manalive.’ [1]

Saint Maurice and companions, African Martyrs in Europe:          pray for us.

Saint David of Wales, faithful in little things:                              pray for us.

Saint Cuthbert, friend to the wild creatures of the sea:               pray for us.

Saint Thomas of Canterbury, holy and blissful martyr:                pray for us.

 

[1]  Dylan Thomas: ‘Collected Poems: 1934 – 1953’, London, Dent, 1998; p2.

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Interruption: Reflections on a Mirror

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Jingpo Lake, on Titan, a moon of Saturn, taken by the Cassini space probe, Photo by NASA.

The Catholic Astronomers’ website has just republished an article by Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ of the Vatican Observatory, which he calls  Reflections on a Mirror. 

Agnellus’ Mirror recommends this Astronomers’ mirror; just follow this link :

Reflections on an Astronomers’ Mirror

Laudato Si’ !

WT.

 

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*22/12 – This Little Light of Mine – II

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NASA

‘I AM’s stars and galaxies were more clearly to be seen before street lights bathed us in what the astronomers call light pollution: the lesser, man-made light overshadowing the great, created glory in the sky.

And so it happened that, far away and long ago, one night under the stars, Abraham heard the word of the Lord (Genesis 15:5-6) and believed that he was to become the father of a great nation, countless as the stars in the sky.

And today indeed, the children of Abraham, Muslims and Christians as well as Jews, are beyond counting.

Jesus proclaimed, ‘I am the Light of the World’ (John 8:12) and called us to let our light shine so brightly that people might see our good worksadentwreath (684x800) and glorify our father in Heaven. Clearly Jesus was speaking about the inner light of grace which should be shining out from within us.

As a concrete reminder of this, and following Jewish tradition, the Church has long used light in worship: the oil lamp burning perpetually before the tabernacle or aumbry; the Paschal candle, symbolic of the risen Jesus; the candles on the altar during the Eucharist; the votive lights before Mary’s ikon; the four or five candles on the Advent Wreath.

Let us allow the little light of a candle to still us during Advent, and make room for our little light to shine with His Light.

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