Tomorrow’s Solar Eclipse over America has caused great excitement over the weeks before it happens.
Enjoy this post from someone taken by surprise by a partial solar eclipse.
And if you’re watching the eclipse tomorrow, enjoy it. May the clouds part for you!
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.
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.
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.
Another gem from the Vatican Observatory’s blog site. Constance L. Martin-Trembley teaches science to teenagers, and has to help her students with the challenges posed when science meets rigidly held beliefs in the literal truth of the Bible. She has panache! Follow the link to read her
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.
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.
Did you ever wonder why Herod did not notice the Star of Bethlehem? Me neither, but perhaps we ought to have done! Enjoy a little science with your Christmas this year: even if you are not among the astro-nerds!
Christopher M. Graney suggests the Magi were astro-nerds; I wonder how long before that expression appears in a translation of Matthew chapter 2?
Eleven times in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles the scholars record comets in the sky – including the year 1066, when it was interpreted as signalling the Norman invasion. Small wonder that many people have tried to establish that the Star of Bethlehem was a comet, and that the appearance of one or other comet around 1AD could help date Jesus’ birth more accurately.
We’ll not go there!
But the Vatican Observatory website tells us that at least three comets will be visible, perhaps to the naked eye as well as telescopes, during 2017 -2018. they may be giant snowballs rather than stars, but are stars of wonder to most of us. I’m hoping to see at least one of them. Where are the dark skies round here? Not an easy question to answer.
We need not fear the darkness of night for
The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen. Isaiah 9.2
This comet I did see! Hale Bopp, photographed by NASA.
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?