Posted tagged ‘Creator’

THERES A MOON OUT TONIGHT

January 30, 2018

. . . .  doo-wup-duh-wup . . .

Music Notes Line

Anyone alive during 1960 with a radio  will certainly remember the dreamy, cuddly song called  “There’s a Moon Out Tonight . .. . . ”        Maybe in a car,  with your boyfriend’s arm around your shoulder,  or maybe with your arm around your girlfriend;  perfect night, the air warm, the night dark . . .

super moon

There’s a (moon out tonight) whoa-oh-oh ooh
Let’s go strollin’
There’s a (girl in my heart) whoa-oh-oh ooh
Whose heart I’ve stolen
There’s a moon out tonight (whoa-oh-oh ooh)
Let’s go strollin’ through the park (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)

Well.     No one can sing it like the Capris.   But  I’m  a little older now.  And maybe the words look a little corny if you’re not under their spell.

Things change.    But we still have the moon!

Tonight’s the Night  (and, no, not the teenager-in-love song by The Shirelles)  —    Tonight’s the night for an experience we can all enjoy,  the Super Blue Moon Eclipse!!

It will happen in  the wee hours of the morning,  January 31st, and here, across North America,  most will be able to see this event which hasn’t occurred since 1866.   Here’s where it will be:

super color map

Find your state.   And here’s what will be happening above your head:

super pathway

That’s the moon at various locations during the night.  That  “menacing” black shadow that is covering up more and more of the moon will result in the “Blood Moon”  part of the show, an hour or two before dawn.     That shadow is us!   The earth’s shadow moves constantly throughout space,  but sometimes it goes right over the pathway of the moon.

The deep rusty red is about as dark as a total eclipse of the moon gets because the sun is so bright, that some of its light bends around the earth,  reflects around the earth, and falls onto the moon.

super blue

A Blue Moon is the second full moon of the month, in those months.  That’s all – it never gets blue, unless you have a camera filter on.

If the moon might look a little brighter tomorrow, and especially tomorrow evening,  it’s because  the moon ranges from about 223,000 miles away to 239,000 miles away.    When the Full Moon is at its closest,  it’s called a Super Moon.   This super  Moon will be just about 74 miles short of the closest it could ever get,  but good enough to be called Super.

So,  now we have a Full Moon, a Blue Moon, a Super Moon,  and a total eclipse of the moon over our country!

Fun!      I hope a little wonder seeps into your soul.     You know, the Bible calls out amazement towards those who watch the natural events of the universe — and forget to think about the One who created it all!

Our next chance to see this triple lunar phenomena is —  New Year’s Eve,  2028 !!

 

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Both on YouTube —    very hum-able little songs.

“There’s a Moon Out Tonight”  by the Capris

“Tonight’s the Night”  by theShirelles

 

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GITCHE MANITO SPEAKS TO US

July 18, 2016

In the spirit of the inspiring speeches that give us purpose in this current presidential election season,  I understand better the words of Gitche Manito –  who of course is our Great Spirit,  Creator of All Peoples,  the God who revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob . . .   and only many centuries later, to the Native Americans who were looking for the Black Robes of  their legends.

The words of Gitche Manito,  to Hiawatha,  and to us, at our sunrise or at our sunset, for we all live together on one small island world:

3 sea gull island 400

From our Creator, Bountiful and Good,    “. . .with Voice majestic as the sound of far-off waters falling into deep abysses. . .

O My children!  My poor children!
Listen to the words of wisdom
Listen to the words of warning
From the lips of the Great Spirit
From the Master of Life, who made you!

I have given you lands to hunt in,
I have given you streams to fish in,
I have given you bear and bison,
I have given you roe and reindeer,
I have given you brant and beaver,
Filled the marshes full of wild-fowl
Filled the river s full of fishes;

Such bountiful,  loving care from the One  True God!

My camera caught great beauty  in the skies of Hiawatha’s land,   but within those pink clouds was lightning!   Lightning flashes,  forks of lightning!   I wouldn’t want to be directly under their wrath.

Cloud broad view

 

The Great Father above continues:

Why then are you not contented?
Why then will you hunt each other?

I am weary of your quarrels
Weary of your wars and bloodshed,
Weary of your prayers for vengeance,
Of your wranglings and dissensions.

Cloud Pinker

 

All your strength is in your union;
All your danger is in discord.
Therefore be at peace henceforward,
And as brothers live together.

Live at Peace,  contented where you are:

Cloud Duck Enjoy

 

I will send a Prophet to you,
A Deliverer of the Nations
Who shall guide you and shall teach you.
Who shall toil and suffer with you.

Gitche Manito speaks to His children.  He spoke to Abraham,  to Isaac, to Jacob,  to Elijah, whose life, along with John the Baptist’s prepared the way for this Great Prophet,  and at last,  the Woman was created, prepared to be the Mother of the Prophet, reflecting the light of her Son’s glory as the moon reflects its sun’s light:

Cloud Pink Moon Alone

 

If you listen to his counsels,
You will multiply and prosper;
If His warnings pass unheeded,
You will fade away and perish.

If . . .

If . . .

That means it’s up to us.

Tomorrow I walk the surprisingly pleasant forests that Hiawatha walked.  They still exist.    Hiawatha’s society still exists, with all its complexities and problems.   Hiawatha’s  Great Father Above still exists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“ALL’S RIGHT WITH THE WORLD” – HUH?

June 1, 2016

(some backyard philosophy today,  from ducks to caesars.)

I wrote in the last post about an amazing new fact I learned recently:  that a bumble bee’s mouth is filled with little hairs!   Yuck.    But they serve as receptors for important little electrical signals put out by … flower petals!

Honestly!    All of  creation fits together in the most remarkable ways, one part made for the other.    Creation  works:

DUCKS to crop

It’s spring, and the ducks have returned to my backyard pond.   When they are resting like this they signal peace.  Peace in my backyard.   Peace.    Sometimes I’m consciously grateful for the time to watch them for a while.    They are there because “All’s right with the world,”  however temporarily for them.

Another sign of nature working well:

Bird closeup

Well, it works well for her, at least.   She’s made her nest – and laid her eggs now –  in the porch light just outside my front door.   That means, once again, that I can’t use my front door for a while;  and it means I have to duct-tape over the light switch or else the light bulb turned on  will set fire to the nest (as it almost did last year).

But for her – and we’re beginning to think this is Mama Robin – she has found a peaceful place to make a home and nurture her chicks.      “All’s right with (her) world.”

We can multiply this millions of times in the natural world.

However, when it comes to humans, who are part of the natural world,  well, we sometimes get in  the way of our own well-being.    Observe this excerpt from a famous poem . . .

The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in his Heaven –
All’s right with the world!

( by Robert Browning.)*   It’s a portion of a poem that presents the terrible life a young girl who has been oppressed and ground down by her society.    Society  (politics and culture and social conventions)  had gotten so far from the natural order of Creation that a young girl is cruelly victimized unto death.    That society was in the midst of its collapse.

collapsing building

Yet  look at the context in which this societal collapse took place!

“The year’s at the Spring” – as usual –  “the day’s at the morn” –  as expected –    “the lark’s on the wing” – as normal  –  All of nature works, just as the Creator  created it.     And what does Nature care of the risings and fallings of societies and civilizations — which have learned to ignore natural, commonsense ways of Truth and Reality? 

We build ourselves up:

collapsing cards cr

Oh, yeah –  you just know what’s going to happen next!     One unstable house of cards;  one push;  one gust of wind;   one accident;  one deliberate undermining of the foundational layer.

Poof!    The house of cards that man has built lies in a heap – to be discovered, perhaps,  by archeologists thousands of years in the future.

There are certain truths about who and what Man is that cannot be contradicted for very long.    Natural laws  determine human growth beginning from a few cells to mature old age;  one of two sexes;  fresh and clean air, water, and food for optimum health;  and certain ways to associate with each other, summarized efficiently in the Ten Commandments, for instance.

Here is one Truth about Man:     “. . .  man was formed for society . .  .”  a partial quote ** from Sir William Blackstone, who wrote his famous volumes of commentary on the Law, as England knew it in the 18th century.

Man was formed for society. . . .     As such,  it is of utmost importance that  Man in his society   reflects the reality of Man in Natural Truth.     It’s common sense.   But if our society, or our culture,  departs from Natural Law,   then it begins to erode and to corrupt.

“All’s right with the world . . . “       Evidence seems to be that all is NOT right with our society.    Our foundations have been corrupted.  Our foundational layer has been undermined.   Poof!

But when I write about this in the weeks to come,   I’m writing within the context of  the existence of Natural Law at work in the Natural World.   That Natural Law applies not only to Ducks and Robins   (!)   but also surely to us human beings.

The  R word is very much on my mind these days,  but I don’t know if it should be  Recovery,  Restoration,  or Rebuilding.

This man had an idea:

augustus

Augustus Caesar  sought to restore the Roman Republic to its higher moral foundations.  He succeeded, somewhat,  and built the Roman Empire, which lasted a few centuries more;  not because its succeeding leaders were good and moral men,  but because the momentum of a restored higher  moral foundation made a few more centuries possible.

Good laws.   Good men.   Good moral foundation.

augustus senate

The new society worked —   “All was well” with society, as in the natural world.

For a while, at least.     

But it can be done.

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. * Pippa’s Passing    (Well-educated children used to have this portion of the poem memorized,  but I fear that they were not taught the irony it presents.   Modern society continued to collapse.)

. **  “But man was formed for society; and as is demonstrated by writers on the subject, is neither capable of living alone, nor indeed has the courage to  do it.”   (speaking, of course, of normal, healthy individuals)

ANCIENT BEAUTY CALLS IN WINTER TWILIGHT

March 8, 2015

I wanted to say that this beautiful snow white curve caught my eye and stopped me in my tracks one day.  I wanted to write about it —

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—    how I had just gotten out of my car and was rushing into the house with an armful of stuff,  full of plans for my next errand,  and how I almost missed the pleasure of light and shadows on my snowy front yard.

Just low sunlight and shadows and crusty snow that seemed to glow.

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I wanted to say something about Beauty being everywhere, if you only took time to look, and the pleasure of Beauty can draw you to the Source of Beauty,  Beauty Itself.
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But the memory of the words of a man who lived before me overshadowed my relatively small thoughts, and his words lifted me even higher than I could have gone by myself.     He too was stopped in his tracks by Beauty, and he cried with words of sublime longing for union with the Source  — and with regrets for how much time he had spent looking for It elsewhere. . .

His words:

“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you.”

From errand to errand I rushed around that day, thinking I was doing good, doing well;  but I was only preoccupied with the things of this world,  using up lots of the precious time allotted to me in this life.   “You were with me, but I was not with you.”

“Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all.”

The created things of this world  keep me from their Creator.   This man knew what the ancient Greeks knew,  that everything is sustained within the Creator,  the Source of Beauty holding everything from moment to moment in a state of existence.

I crunched around in the crusty snow of my front yard, finding the right photographic angle:

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“You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.”

This is the strong cry of a man for his Creator, and after that first taste, the courageous cry for more, the manly willingness to hunger and thirst and  long for his Creator.   (I’ll give you his words all together in a minute here.)

The man’s name is St. Augustine,  and I took his mother’s name for my name as I entered the Church.    Because I too have a son.   So similar in many ways.
And my son was experiencing the Beauty of the same day’s twilight from within his own home.  It wasn’t snow white and contrasting shadows,  it was a beautiful Purple light that poured through his windows, and landed on the floor in amethyst.   It must have been remarkable in person.

Purple ed
St. Augustine:    “Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you.    Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all.     You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.”  (from  Confessions)

cross

My dimwitted intellect can hardly break through my daily tussle with created things and see beyond,   but sometimes something points to the wonderful Beauty that must wait for all those who long for God,   “Ancient Beauty.”

“Thy altars, O Lord of Hosts, my King and my God!  Blessed are they that dwell in Thy House, they shall praise thee for ever and ever.”     (Prayer said on the Third Sunday in Lent during Holy Mass. )

ON THIS DAY, 2,000 YEARS AGO

February 2, 2015

“Behold,  all generations shall call me blessed.”     And so they have for nearly 2,000 years.   

mother and child
“Blessed.”    Not for her sake,  but because of her Son.

I’m a “subsequent generation”  and I’m just still learning about this beautiful woman, perfect mother. and why she is indeed blessed.  Created that way by her own Son,  her Creator and ours,  her Savior and ours.

Nevertheless:
presentation

This was a busy and significant day about 2,000 years ago.  The Christmas Family traveled one day from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, where they entered the Temple in obedience to the Law.     two doves
The Law says that there is a ceremony to be performed 40 days after a woman gives birth to a son.  This family offered two little birds for the sacrifice part of the ceremony.  Sins symbolically cleansed,  the new mother is now ritually pure, in  a way which we can scarcely comprehend today,  so prejudiced can we be against people who lived before us.   Nevertheless,  this perfect mother is now accepted as ritually pure.

pidyon haben

This Son was her firstborn child.   When a firstborn is a male,  he belongs to God the Creator,  but in a charming little ceremony, the family can “ransom back”  or “buy back”  the little child from the Temple…

This ceremony of Pidyon Haben today:

pidyon haben today

…  and so keep their little son with them, to love and raise and cherish.

On this day, about 2,000 years ago, in the Temple,  this is what the Mother,  her spouse Joseph,  and the child Jesus did.

But then:

swords
This Child was not just any child.    He is the Son of God, who has just taken on our human nature,  and He came here on a mission.  Not to teach us.  Not to set up a religion.   Not to tell us how we should live.

He came here to die.

And the perfect love of a perfect Mother?

Upon hearing of an unspeakably horrible destiny for her Child,  she was not spared.   She was told that her sorrow would be so strong, it would be like a sword had pierced right into her heart.

Is she willing,  willing to go on with it?

As always:  “Fiat mihi,  secundum verbum tuum.”

Yes.

And so today,  Christendom celebrates Candlemas.   This child is “the Light that would come to enlighten the Gentiles”  too.   It’s why candles are blessed on this day, for the spreading of this Light in ceremonies throughout the coming year.     And we turn now from Christmas thoughts  to thoughts of Mission for which the Christmas Child came.  

 

CENSUS-TAKING ON ALL SAINTS DAY

November 1, 2014

 

There are many reasons to take a census — and one of them is to Collect Identities.  Taking the Roll.  See if everyone is there.

All Saints Day –   

saints in heaven

You already know that your soul doesn’t get destroyed when you die, right?   It goes somewhere,  one of two places, as the Creator of your soul decides.    Today, on All Saints Day we honor those souls which are in Heaven forever.

The Offertory prayer instructs us thus:  The souls of the just are in the hand of God and the torments of malice shall not touch them.  In the eyes of the unwise they seemed to die,  but they are in peace.  Alleluia!      So important is this to us  that the Church has said we must collectively and publicly honor those saints in Heaven once a year, on this day.

So who are the ones in Heaven?    I found it fascinating to hear one of the Readings appointed for today.  It comes from the last book of the Bible, and it says that the human occupants of Heaven are a “great multitude”   and then  a kind of Identification  Census is given to us:   The saints in Heaven  are described as belonging to the Twelve Tribes of Israel.    The Tribes of Israel represented God’s  people, of course, before Christ;  and after the Resurrection and Ascension,  God’s people are all kinds of humans who trust in Christ as the Messiah,  their Savior.  The  multitude seen in Heaven are all the people who belong to God.

So, sure, we know that at the Coming of Christ, when all this world ends,   all God’s people will be taken to Heaven and will be known and accounted for — but how interesting that there was also at Christ’s  First Coming,  another Census taken.    The Roman Emperor decreed that a Census be taken of all the people in his Empire.    We know that;  that’s what required Mary and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem at a seemingly inconvenient time.

Taking a Census is a sign of   authority over a population.     The  King  wants to know His own.       We humans know about all kinds of “kings” —   why do they want to know us?     Well, today is All Saints Day.   Look again at the words of that little prayer:   “. . . and the torments of malice shall not touch them. . . .”

No malice.  No torments.   No torments coming from malice.    What, then, is waiting for the saints who are in Heaven?

Beatitudes

Goodness;  mercy;   comfort;  their longing for righteousness – fulfilled;  belonging;   peace and safety,  love and joy — everything in the whole Kingdom is theirs!

The Beatitudes come from the Gospels in the Bible,  Matthew 5, specifically.   It’s fitting that we heard them read today.    The saints in Heaven possess all this in perfect fullness.    God is good.     We can only hope that our names will be found on that final Census.

Deo gratias.

 

THE BOOK OF LIFE

October 4, 2014

 

A good Yom Kippur to my Jewish friends and family.

baruch

May your name be written in the Book of Life.

 

May every human know that there  is  a Book of Life. . . .

 

Deo gratias.

PUTTING A LIMIT ON GOD, MAYBE?

August 24, 2014

(Taking a break – for Sunday.)

I’ll start and end with this statement:  A man cannot become God, but God can take on human nature, if He so chooses.

night  beth

And so we have in the age-old Mass a point where utter silence begins.   It’s a powerful reminder of the fact that nine months after God took on human nature, He was born  into this world — in the still, deep quiet of midnight.  “…in the quiet of silence and while the night was in the midst of her course the almighty Word came down from his royal throne…”  (The Bible, Wisdom 18:14,15)

The  Mass continues on in holy and almost unearthly silence, accompanied by our heartbeats and our awe.

Reverence and adoration well up in our spirits as we prepare to commune with this God-Become-Man.

Night mass

Can you tell Him He can’t do that?   Can you put limits on what He wants to do?   Can we understand that  this is something He wanted to do — and if He lived in Time, we could say He  eagerly anticipated doing?

And then after this first Silent Night, a few years later,  although His divinity and power burst forth  during times of healing and miracles, during the Transfiguration,  yet He concealed all traces of  His divinity, on His  Cross.

A  little later,  and  ten years later,  and centuries later,  nearly twenty centuries later, during every Mass He conceals even His humanity from us.

It has to be an act of faith and more importantly an act of our free will to commune with our temporarily hidden God.    Only the  God of Creation, of Abraham, of  Moses,  who took on human nature loves so powerfully and intensely and calls us to commune with Himself.

We are so small, and He is so powerful.    Could we put a limit on what God can do?

 A man could never become God,  but God can become like us . . . to reveal Himself to us.

BEARS IN OUR WORLD

August 19, 2014

The bear has always been a symbol for me.

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That’s a photo from my cell phone of a picture that was in a newspaper at the place where I took my recent road trip.   The “Culinary” one.    I wasn’t on the menu!    I sometimes called that trip my Necessary Trip because I had to attend a dinner – wasn’t sure I wanted to, but it was the right thing to do.   This bear photo was taken two weeks before  and two miles from that dinner.

And a few miles from where I lived as a teenager for a few years.    I grew up in the beautiful city of Chicago….and then my Dad moved us out into the wilderness of the Far Far North,  my whole world changed,  and these things were in our back yard.      My grandma would take me with her to pick blueberries.  She always knew where the best wild blueberries grew, but we never strayed out of sight of her car –  because of the bear.

You  can’t always see when bear are near.

bear can't always see

 

But out in the wild,  out in the world,  the bear are looking at you, watching.

bear seeing you

Bear are unpredictable.   They say they’ll leave you alone if you leave them alone,  but I’ve seen some pretty gruesome photos of people who hadn’t been left alone by bear.    If you’re unaware of danger,  you can fall into danger.   If you don’t take appropriate measures in the face of danger,  then that danger,  be it bear or other enemy forces,  then the danger will soon be “in your face.”

 

bear talking to you

This is why the bear are such a powerful symbol to me of danger, lurking, lying in wait.   They are never so near as when you’re not expecting them.

When I returned home from my trip I saw many “bear” –  the other kind of bear, all over in the newspapers and on the television.   I’ve never seen so many dangerous problems that are not being confronted adequately.     Dangerous consequences have risen up and become stronger –

Bear snarl

This is a message  of analysis, not of solutions,  but I think the following two points may indicate the solution – solutions of proven, historic value.

The first point is that the friends I met who live, now, near that bear in the top photo really have something more serious to worry about.   As unbelievable as it seems,  there are “foreigners”  who  have introduced into their back yards, onto their property, even more vicious animals who actually hunt humans as prey.     These animals are wolves.   The settlers worked hard to rid the area of these predators and create a safe place for people to live.   Now there are so many wolves once again that my friends cannot ride bikes or hike for any distance from their home.  One woman says they cannot go cross country skiing very far in their own back yard.  She said,  “I never go out alone without a pistol.”   That surprised me very much.

 To deny danger when there really is danger is an act of eventual suicide.       Certain people are telling us that wolves are good.   Wolves are not dangerous.   “If you leave them alone,  they’ll leave you alone.”

The second point is this:    Leaders come forth from  out of the society which they lead.     If there are dangers lurking within our society and snarling ever closer at us from without,  then we need to be the kind of people who are strong,  have a firm sense of identity,  and who have moral certitude.

We must be confident that “strong” does not mean bad;  it means capable.   Capable of doing good, if we desire it,  capable of protecting ourselves and our own families, if we are courageous.

A firm sense of identity helps us understand others, who also have a right to their own unique identity.      Knowing our own identity, knowing our  past, our qualities and characteristics doesn’t  make us “haters,”  but rather makes us appreciate our uniqueness and value the uniqueness of others.   We are worth saving and protecting!

And moral certitude comes from humbly discovering our Creator and the way He set up this world, always measuring ourselves to His expectations.    Serving God never means harming others,  but rather living in His love,  according to His guidance, and  cherishing likewise ourselves and others.

A long time ago a wise prophet declared that if we act like immature, selfish children, we will get leaders who are unprepared for their job, floundering around in their inexperience and unwillingness to do the hard work of leading a nation.     If we act immorally and give in to inappropriate passions,  our leaders will be more interested in satisfying their own passion for power and pleasure.     If we keep wanting to indulge ourselves,  our leaders will be the kind who indulge themselves – at our expense.  If we live lives of ease and weakness,  our leaders themselves will lack courage.   (That wise man was Isaiah in his first few chapters.)

So, I see a world in trouble.   I see a world with dangers stalking us from every corner of the woods.    I see children at play,  picking wild blueberries, unaware of the danger they are in.

Bear Trees a Man

The bear seems like an appropriate symbol.

 

 

 

 

 

UNITED STATE OF (WIDE-OPEN) AMERICA

June 27, 2014

So . . . the road trip has begun.

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Hours and hours and hours and hours of beautiful wide open roads!!    I quickly left the Midwest and drove into hundreds of miles of crop and pasture lands.    I’ve been here before, I’ve driven these roads before,   but I’m always delighted to feel my mind enlarge and my spirit open up to receive so much — I have to be right there  in order to experience it.

Miles later I took another photo:

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Saw a sign coming up this time.   Ha!

My car loves these roads:  forward, fast, free and alone!

Here’s the scenery out the side window:

W Neb Scenery side windowThis is ours!    This is all our country!    Useful, fertile, beautiful land.  There is ROOM for people and hope and imagination and freedom and planning for the future — in case you ever feel the need to step away from it all and feel less hassled and  crowded in on.

Of course, the open roads are easier on a car than on the driver.   The bright sun, like a hot blue-white welder’s arc, bleaches out all the color and causes eye fatigue.    And open roads can be hypnotic to the human mind.   I promised Son I’d be careful about getting too groggy.

So my faithful little blue car found the remedy –

W EspressoA little coffee shop dedicated to espresso –  a  little gift to my sleepy brain.   Thank you,  York, Nebraska.

It’s fun to read signs along the way:

W Free Straw

Good for a chuckle.   Good for the next 400 miles.

More western driving today.    I’m off in search of more dinosaurs . . .   as those who know me might expect.

Deo gratias!   You have given us a beautiful planet.

 

WHAT I WON’T TELL MY CLASSES

March 15, 2014

So. . . . .

SAMSUNG. . . . .who made you?

Did you “draw”  yourself?   Did the planet you live on just. . . write you into existence?   Can your existence be explained by the irresolvable complexities of a mind illustrated by  the artist Escher’s  compellingly absurd drawing in the photo above?

My mind is very much on the book of Genesis this week.   Our classes have just started a study of that book –  and it is so stunningly beautiful and vast — allowing room for all the legitimate sciences that mankind has ever come up with –  and there is still more room to discover and hypothesize and explore till the end of time!

As we began the first two chapters of Genesis,  I wished I could have brought in a whole armload of books from our libraries, filled with photographs of tens of thousands of amazingly, breathtakingly beautiful birds and flowers and trees and rocks and ocean creatures and stars . . .   non-living material objects of all kinds;  living creatures of all kinds . . . but I couldn’t bring all those books;  I am left gesticulating wildly in front of my classes, practically levitating off my chair.  I want so much to convey the never-ending beauty of Creation – and the Church’s whole-hearted encouragement of the exploration of every bit of Creation . . . .

Soon we will come to the chapters in Genesis which make brief reference to the vast ages of human civilization, represented sometimes only by a name or by a short description:  this name, representing the age of discovery of this;  that name, representing the development  of that;   the next name, representing  little known planetary events that shaped their time.

But I won’t be talking about this new discovery, recently, in Siberia:

Russian man in there

See the man?  See the man just about the center of the photo standing on the ledge of snow?    He is standing in front of a wall of finely hewn granite blocks, weighing 3,000 tons, some more, some less.   We cannot lift 3,000 tons today.  We have no equipment, no power, no idea how to put such blocks on top of each other.

Another view:

Russian 3 men

Please don’t default to the “20,000 slaves, 20 years, pulleys and ropes”  idea of ancient construction.   That won’t even work for the Temple at Balbek in Lebanon, some of whose granite stones weigh “only”  1,500 tons.

To which age in Genesis does this construction belong?    I have my ideas, but I won’t be bringing these photos to class.    The words in the book of Genesis are sufficient in themselves to increase our amazement, perhaps to humble ourselves when we think about the march of human history.

Here is something else I won’t be bringing in to class:

stego on temple door

You know what kind of creature this is;  it’s one of the types of dinosaurs we call stegosaurus.     It (and other creatures of the dinosaur age) was put on a giant doorframe by the people who built one of the largest religious temples ever found, at Angkor Wat, in Cambodia.    And before western man even discovered dinosaur bones a couple centuries ago!

I’ve seen photographs of museum objects in South America that are perfect depictions of dinosaurs, both statues and drawings – some with men riding on the backs of the dinosaurs.

I’ve seen photographs of lovely woven blankets and coats made in Peru a few thousand years ago, and just recently uncovered as we’ve explored ancient caves and burial urns.   There are pictures of perfect little dinosaurs woven into the design of the fabric; and they are unmistakably dinosaurs.    A little fun mystery to think about – in spite of the inevitable swift appearance of the debunkers –  which don’t always accurately address the artifacts.

Ica-Stone-DinoHere is one of the Ica Stones, discovered a while ago when a cave was opened … We can’t be sure of the timing, because among the many hundreds or thousands of such stones we now find imitations – or “fakes.”   But many of these are genuine.  And they are manmade.   And the dating suggests fantastical ages. . . .

Ica-Stones-Dinosaurs1-450x337

Some of the Ica Stones are so elaborate it’s hard to tell from a photograph what’s being depicted,  but there is at least two-horned mammoth- or ticeraptops-type animal in this one,  and a dinosaur-type turtle-backed creature, and another possible stegosaurus-type creature up there on the upper right.

Not all Ica Stones are imitations made for tourists.   The hands of men made some of these a few thousand years ago – or more! – near what we call the Andes Mountains.

The Genesis of the Bible is a book for open minds, for explorers, for discoverers of great wonders – for those who find satisfaction and joy learning about this planet, our home.  It’s enough that the words in Genesis merely suggests all these things, because once you think you have it all figured out,   you’ve closed the possibilities and have created the details of your own existence.

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There are enough irresolvable muddled-up complex ideas out there already.  I won’t insert my own into my classes.    They won’t be hearing any open-ended theories from me!

(Unless someone asks:  “Have you ever heard of…?”)   

Ahhhh.  let’s discuss the possibilities!

 

 

 

 

 

THE WHEAT, THE TARES, & SNOWBOARDING SLOPESTYLE

February 9, 2014

Olympic values.

Arete:    Excellence.    The goal of a human being.    (Great advertising slogan:  Be all you can be!)   Excellence.

speed skating

As I watch the Olympic games I notice how often the winter sports present an image of unison.    Above are some speed skaters from some past year;  below are some Olympic Nordic skiers, practicing:

nordic practice

Today I watched the cross country competition  (Nordic skiing).   I had my favorites, but as an extremely amateur cross country leisurely skier,  my eyes were fixed on their form.   Perfect form gives the freedom and ease  that facilitates speed.

As I saw the first half hour of the race, there were dozens and dozens of skiers, all in rows,  all doing exactly the same thing.  Like clones.    As  much as they were individually able to,  they had all perfected the best form for achieving the highest possible speed.

Today, an American broke his ski pole.   That happens sometimes, but what followed is an unfortunate but not altogether unexpected result:  His skis got out of place slightly,  he knocked into another skier slightly,   he got an elbow in his face, lost his sunglasses….etc, etc….and lost too much time to hope to win a medal.    He had been distracted by the necessity of the new ski pole, which of course, ruined his perfect form.

Oh, yes   The sermon.   Once again I didn’t anticipate the new twist today’s sermon presented for us.    It was a familiar passage:  The parable of the Wheat and the Tares (cockles)  (weeds).

wheat and tares

In the parable,  the agricultural foreman reports to the landowner that there are too many weeds growing in the field of wheat.    After some discussion,  the landowner tells the workers to leave them be,  wait until harvest, and when everything is ripe,  He. the Owner,   will send in the experts to judge what is good wheat and what is just cockle and weeds,  to be thrown out and burned.

Take a look at today’s Church.   According to what we read in the news,  the harvest must be very, very close now, because we see such an abundance of “weeds” in the Church.   You can hardly see the good wheat.

But the twist in the sermon today was to turn this field into – not the world (the field)  with wheat and weeds  –  but turn this parable into a kind of self-examination.   You are the field.    Within you you have the good (wheat)  but also, if you’re not careful, you will have some weeds growing:  erroneous thinking,  errors in doctrine,  faulty actions,  bad deeds, lazy attitudes,  etc.

snowboarding

Well, I get a little distracted nowadays.  My thoughts went to this young man,  one of the world’s finest slopestyle athlete/artist on snowboards.    It is excellence in motion.

Just how many times do you think he had to do this maneuver to get it perfect?   As we visualize him practicing, in all ways possible, during all seasons,  for many years,  what was he doing with all these repetitions?   He was learning the good.   He was recognizing the errors and eliminating the imperfections in his form.

He was nourishing the wheat.   He was eliminating the weeds.   Now.      This is what we can do now,  before the Creator of all things decides it’s Harvest Time, and begins eliminating the weeds for us.

This is indeed our time of Mercy.confession

Enjoy the Olympics!   May they inspire us to Excellence!

EPIPHANY ON THE MAP

January 8, 2014

I have many thoughts about the Epiphany,   but for right now  I’m stuck on a thought.    I make no point here, no conclusion;   I just point out something that I don’t fully know the reason for.

This area is commonly called the Cradle of Civilization.

star cradle

It is the Fertile Crescent between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers associated with the names Akkadia, Sumeria, Babel, Babylon, Chaldea —  early civilizations which reach back five or six thousand years ago, and further.

It is the region from which Abram was called to leave his prosperous trade in a  civilized world and directed to travel southward into the Holy Land to become “Abraham,”  through whose great-grandson the Jews were descended.   It was those Jewish descendants  who eventually formed the Church after the Resurrection of Jesus, their Christ.

It’s also the region from which some of the Magi came.

starlight

After long study of sacred texts,  they too were called to travel to the Holy Land, directed by a star of some kind.   The Magi have been called the Fathers of the Gentiles, all those Gentiles who were eventually allowed to come into the Church, as the Gospel spread and the Church grew and more and more people shared in the “epiphany”  of who Christ really is.

“I am the Light of the World”  star holy

Today, that Light  calls each of us to join those who came before us, first from the region of this Fertile Crescent,  then from all over the world.    Christ, the Light, is “the life of men.”    He is our Enlightenment and our Epiphany, so brilliantly symbolized by the lovely Christmas Star.

I’m trying to think of a reason why this Fertile Crescent was so significant that the call of the Jews to the Light and the call of the Gentiles to the Light began there.

It’s said that the Tigris and the Euphrates are two of the four rivers that flowed out from the Paradise of Adam and Eve, the region of our human origin.   The human race willfully left the Light from that region.   Is this why that region was chosen to begin the humanity’s march back toward the Light of its Creator and Redeemer?

In great divine mercy humans are given the chance to “redeem” themselves, to choose better.   Perhaps it works that way for places too.

 

ALL SAINTS DAY – JOINING IN

November 1, 2013

 

saintas beatific

That we have saints at all is completely due to the goodness and kindness of the Creator towards us humans.   That is, it’s His goodness, kindness, compassion, His many gifts and graces, the offer of His companionship that draw us toward Him;   and then it’s His grace and power, given to us, that enable us to make that move. . . .

It’s always our choice,   but our choice is so richly rewarded,  beyond what we had anticipated.

saint

It doesn’t take much on our part.    Just send up a little question mark, a fragile, little “question mark,” upwards towards what God “might” be.   Your question will be noticed. . . and rewarded.

Do it again. Send up a little more based on that experience, and you will be able to receive back even a little more.

Repeat.   (Your choice.   This is an act of your free will.)

It can’t be this good!

Somewhere along the way you will say:  Oh my goodness!      God can’t be this good and perfect and attentive!     But He is.

All His Creation is an expression of His glory.    The glory of the Light of the stars is the same Light that is meant to be in us.

stars and all

Here are the words of Baruch, the prophet, more than 2500 years ago, giving testimony to this God calling all things to His glory.

“He that sends forth light, and it goes: and hath called it, and it obeys  Him with trembling.  

And the stars have given light in their watches, and rejoiced: 

They were called, and they said: Here we are: and with cheerfulness they have shined forth to Him that made them. 

This is our God, and there shall no other be accounted of in comparison of Him.”      (Baruch 3:  33-36

“With cheerfulness”  the stars shine out.   With cheerfulness and great joy humans were meant to shine out with the glory of God.

The Church gives us today and a whole Octave of days to celebrate what that means!

October 13 – YESTERDAY TODAY AND FOREVER

October 13, 2013

On this date, October 13th, in 1917  70,000 people came, many to scoff, many to be “entertained,” possibly,  by some unknown event,  and a few came, hoping to see a miracle from Heaven above.

70 0000 people

That October 13th was an October 13th just like every other one had been in the natural world,  far back into time, before ever that day of the year was even called “october”  and numbered “13.”     But in that particular year,  most of the 70,000 suddenly fell to their knees.

70,000 people on their knees

70,000;  many atheists, non-believers,  skeptics, anti-Christians,  anti-Catholics –  nearly all fell to their knees.    Those who had seen the world and felt they could control their own destiny and manage the affairs of men saw something that interrupted their confidence.   The sun, that most solid and predictable of things in the natural world, was changed . . . .

70,0000 sun

. . . . and no matter what explanations are given,  everyone there knew right away that this staggering and somewhat frightening change to the sun was connected to the prediction by the three children of Fatima that a “miracle” of some kind would occur.

70,000 three unlikely people

Today is October 13th again,  and it’s an ordinary day like all other of our days.    But today, too, presents a message for us, not in the form of  a miracle, not in the form of a “dancing sun” that seemed to move from its place and whirl around, but in the form of a simple statement about the natural world received in 1917.

You can read it in the Bible or hear it proclaimed by the Church today, in her Introit for this 21st Sunday after Pentecost:

All things are in Thy will, O Lord and there is none that can
resist Thy will: for Thou hast made all things, heaven and earth, and all things
that are under the ambit of heaven: Thou art Lord of all. (Ps. 118: 1)

The heavens above and the earth, all things,  all exist within the will of God and exist because of His will.   Even the natural world cannot resist His will;  even if He wants the sun to appear to move out of our normal expectations for it, the sun, then, must move.   This is the truth of the matter.  This is the truth that underlies all the messages of Fatima, which, at their most basic meaning is, as the Introit today continues:

Blessed are the undefiled who walk in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord.

And severe  warnings and certain judgment upon those who do not walk in the ways of God.

The messages given at Fatima on those “special days” simply emphasize the same message that is true for all our ordinary days:   God holds even the natural world in His hands, and He has created the right way to walk in this world.   Christ is King!

70,000 witnesses can attest to that.

 

 

(Sun Moon) STARS

August 28, 2013

“Let there be lights made in the heavens, to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons and for days and for years.”  (Genesis 1:14) 

stars in night

Stars are a big conversation killer!     At least verbal, audible conversation is stilled and hushed under the stars.  

stars purple

Under the full force of  a clear night sky, talking slows and falters;  whatever seemed important to chatter about fades away for a while.   Alone or alone together with a friend,  the stars impose their silence on us.

 stars kissing

Once in a while, when  friends leave my house in the evening, I’ve discovered I have to accompany my guests out to their cars because there are no street lights, and  I live enough out in the country so that the stars are actually a walking hazard!   Eyes just are attracted upwards to the myriad of twinkling lights that hint at various colors and size and vast spaces. Over the years I’ve grabbed the arms of a few guests to gently steer them away from the edge of the driveway!

 st glob

They’re not just “there” in the night sky;  they’re compelling.   They’re so much “more” than we are, in this material universe,  that we don’t even have adequate words for the effect they have on us.

But the stars can be comforting when we consider they, too, have a Creator even greater than they are. The psalmist speaks so charmingly of this Creator   “Who tells the number of the stars: and calls them all by their names.”    (in Psalm 146)   No, He doesn’t “name”  them with a name, but naming in the Bible means that He knows their characteristics and  qualities so well, so intimately that He knows them individually, as though they each had a fitting name that He gave them.

Yes, they’re there for “signs and seasons” too, like all the heavenly lights.  All humans, for tens of thousands of years have found their way through the dark with the help of the position of stars at their various positions throughout the night.   Ships have sailed the seas at night, navigating by the position of the stars.  

 stars orion

Marking times and seasons.  One time, many years ago, terrible things happened to our family in the late Fall.   I intensely remember where Orion was in relation to a big window in our house.  I’d look up at Orion and sob and sob….     Two decades later,  Hubbie was sick for his last time;  and Orion was back in that same position, reminding me of “all the trouble in the world.”  And yet – it is beautiful and mysterious, even when we know the names of the stars and nebulae that make it up.  

My little essay about the stars is not so very good.   Reach down inside of you and make up your own essay.  Write about the stars, what they mean to the world, and to you.    

No matter what happens to our world in this present generation, the stars will remain.   Later generations, who have no memory of us,  will look up at the same stars that we can see tonight. 

 

A LITTLE EUCLID, PLEASE

August 21, 2013

pathway

I don’t know where this posting is going to go,  but if you don’t mind taking a rambling walk in the Tunnel with me, I sure need to think my way through to some peace and order around here.

It all started with a little phone call from my C.P.A. last week.  He wanted me to answer One Simple Question.  And so for two days I’ve followed my now-absent Hubbie down the rabbit holes of his mind, trying to retrace his steps and locate that “one simple answer.”

paper

I’ve tunneled through his files and boxes of his files,  creating numerous piles of papers everywhere in the house. I’ve driven to three offices which generated more paper, and then paid dearly to have some of those papers faxed across the country. . . .   I’m not sure if the answer has been created yet,  but I’ve left a trail of disorder and messes throughout my house.

 

Which is why this photo seemed so attractive to me tonight:

LH Collider bj

It is, of course,  the Large Hadron Collider in Europe where they’ve been trying to find the Higgs boson,  and just like me,  they’re not sure if they’ve created an answer yet.  I enjoy watching them try, though.

gluon green blue antiblue Here’s the graphical representation of the blue-green-antiblue, etc.  motion of  one of the quarks in question.      You may not have read the latest comment by Krauss and Dent, two scientists in Louisiana who said enthusiastically: “The standard model says that the fields of all fundamental forces should merge at extremely high energies, meaning there is also a unified, high-energy field out there. The new scalar field would have zero energy density, but it can use the Higgs to link up to this high-energy field, and in the process it acquires energy of its own.”      “Should merge” !!    Amazing!   (If true.)   (As reported in New Scientist today.)

Well, if you can’t muster up enthusiasm for that,  maybe you can “see” the beauty of a representation of a  gluon plasma.

gluon plasma

Or if you skipped high energy physics in school:

gluon mr gluon

(I’m teasing you, of course.)

The field is exciting, though.   Really.    And if you just look again at the Collider, you can see the beauty of the machine they’ve built.   Some journalists who don’t know what they’re doing call the Higgs the “god particle.”    Looking for the god particle that holds us all together.

And the big irony of it all is:  the scientists built a beautiful machine to look for “god.”

Where’s my next step?   England.   And the Church.   Faith and reason, working together, creating Beauty, to find God.

salisbury inside

Pythagoras and  Euclid and other great Greek mathematicians, as well as Plato and other philosophers understood that mathematics, geometry, and music are all linked to the reality of God.   When the Church scholars,  the religious scholars,  of the Middle Ages studied their writings closely,  they recognized that link, and went on to apply such relationships to their architecture, among other things.

The above picture is England’s Salisbury cathedral, built over 700 years ago.   It doesn’t look quite like the Large Hadron Collider,  but you can – or at one time  you could – reach God there, where He was physically represented in the beauty of geometry and proportion.    The below picture is the outside. . . .

salisbbury out

In fact, the cathedral is geometry and mathematics set in stone, and is, then, a place where the reality of God meets human intellectual endeavor.

It’s not a place to “feel” your way to God, but to use your intellect and reason to discover the God that reveals himself to you.   If you could only “hear”  the mathematics inside the cathedral –

salisbury down

 “The primary dimension is 39 feet by 39 feet (at its main transept at its easts-west axis…)  and is the basis for all the cathedral’s remaining dimensions.   Both the length and the width of the nave’s ten bays is 19.5 feet, exactly one half of “39.”  The nave itself consists of 20 identical spaces measuring 19.5 feet square and another ten spaces measuring 19.5  by 39 feet….”   You’d have to see the blueprint to get the full impact.  Or be there, inside.

Or at least try, with your mind,  to reach a God who combines our faith and our reason to apprehend such Eternal Beauty….

I think a little Euclid tonight is just what I needed.

 

EAST BY NORTH (Lookit what you got !!!)

June 9, 2013

Dinosaur skype cooepr    I’ve written before how Cooper knows how to initiate a Skype call.  Here he is skyping with his dinosaur (and me).    Little Mr. Electronic Gadget Man.   When I was at his house last week, he liked to dig in my suitcases and purse.   I had brought radios, an alarm clock, a wristwatch that chimes on the hour, cameras, cell phone, various chargers, an electronic spectrometer,  a radiation detector. . . .  I like electronic gadgets too!

Every once in a while he’d reach in and find something new and “wonderful.”   His face would light up and he would exclaim, “Oh, Grrrrma!!   Lookit what you got!!!”  

Such fun!!     (And for the next couple of days buzzers and alarms and my radio would start up at odd times. . . .)     But that little phrase of his  proclaimed all the delight his 2 1/2 year old body could possibly contain!

I found that a very handy phrase to express some of my delight at the scenery I’ve been seeing.

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I would round a curve and see spectacular mountain views, then I’d round the next curve or up and over the next hill, and the view would be even more spectacular!   And inside,  I could say:  “Oh, my Lord God and Creator of All Things!   Lookit what you got!”  

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Then after the mountains came a long day’s drive through the many-faceted emerald green hills of the high plains.

Green green

“Oh, My God!   Lookit what you’ve got!”       Your beautiful world!!    And you gave us the ability to see the beauty and lose our breath at the sight of some things.    Deo gratias!

To my great sorrow I’ve come to accept that my cameras cannot capture what I’m seeing and my words cannot give you what I’m feeling.    How could I say it all?

One word summary?     Gratitude.

The weather report was not good,  and the clouds darkened things, but up ahead there seemed to be blue sky pushing away the clouds,  just about where I needed to be in an hour or so.

Weather

Eventually, as I drove eastward through the bright green, the ground began to give out from under us!

Ground Falls away

And that is the next story.

CALIFORNIA BOUND 3.3 (OUT ON MY OWN)

June 1, 2013

This is Part 3 of the dinosaur experience:    OUT ON MY OWN

silh

We were given a choice:  Go back on the shuttle to the Visitor Center and the parking lot;  or walk back through the paleontologists’ fields and  experience the natural surroundings where the dinosaur bones were found.   Everyone else went back on the shuttle.   I had the entire dinosaur land to myself!

The trailhead began with a fifty-foot rocky descent, somewhat outlined by the pretty golden sandy rocks.

D silent pathway

The pathway led between tall rocky hills that were full of fossils.  Many were just small marine skeletons like clams and little frogs,  but some rock formations aroused the imagination:

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I was at least a half hour’s walk away from anything.   There was no one around.   No sign of human life.   No sound,  because I was down in a valley between high rock hills.  It was not just solitude — it was me, a human mind — solitary.   I thought of the black bear warning.  I thought of mountain lions.  Scorpions.   Broken ankles.   Panic attacks and heart attacks.

D pathway between cliffs

But what I thought about most deeply were the rock formations that spoke of great geological upheavals, the very substance of the earth under immense hydrogeologic forces and deep pressures.   Here is an area of rock that shows  sediment frozen in place by such pressure.

D swirled rocks

What happened there?

Here are some rocks that started out as foamy masses that hardened with the air bubbles still evident:

D foamy rocks

Various sediment layers got smashed down together into hard strata and then more upheavals lifted them up and tossed them around.  And again they landed, this time with their stripes slanted upwards and broken apart again:

D slanted rocks

Harder rock remained after the softer rock eroded from around them, leaving precariously placed rocks way up high,  seemingly ready to slide down upon hikers on this pathway.

D rocks falling

I am a very, very small point in this vast landscape.

More sideways strata

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I began to think more and more about the  forces of hydraulics on a planetary scale cracking apart whole continents, breaking them up, slamming them into each other,  until all land is pulverized,  whirled around as in a giant earth blender — then allowed to settle out into new distributions, forming new strata, only to be broken up again as heavier areas settled onto less stable areas, cracking apart the newly formed mini continents, again and again until at last. . . . we have the seven known continents of this era.

“Giant sandbar”  indeed.   These millions of dinosaur carcasses were picked up by flood waters,  swirled around like so much biological debris, and eventually settled down into great deposits all around the planet.    Untold years of erosion eventually exposed a few of these deposits.

New human civilizations had to begin anew . . . made of people who had long forgotten how to turn evil impulses into technological nightmares, enabling tyrants to control and kill large numbers of innocent people, building power upon power, defying the very God who had created them.

Now there were people who lived with good and evil impulses on a smaller, local scale.  They left messages for each other in these ancient rocks.

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Anthropologists have a pretty good guess about what these pictures mean,  but I can’t say I believe that they’re one hundred percent correct.

SAMSUNG I could walk right up to these petroglyphs and touch them,  but they were not for me.  I had nothing to say to these people.   We are all their descendants, but we have not done well.

A moment of intense sadness came over me.   Eras and aeons of time, one after the other, each one ending in massive destruction across the planet.  What happens to this beautiful earth?    What awesome catastrophes have mangled these rocks and tortured this world?

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What do I know of the Fall of Angels?   the corruption of mankind?   the necessary destruction of worlds that had become incorrigibly evil?   how soon the next necessary destruction?

I began to grow very tired.   I’m an old lady sometimes.   I’m driving out West to see my grandson, but when I recite the category of very real modern evils I do not want him to experience the world as it is right now, and I see no signs of increasing goodness, only increasing badness.  Do you think mankind will eventually do better?   Do you think there is reason for optimism?   The goodness we might see is only a drop of rain falling on the tongue of a man clinging to a wet log floating in the salt sea, far from land.

And yet we live on.  Hope is the virtue that teaches us that the Creator of this, our home planet, has declared that He will make a New Heaven and a New Earth;    and meanwhile, with His help,  we can go on, and we can Hope to become worthy of living there forever.

Without fear of extinction or planetary upheaval.

UP FROM THE SLOUGH

February 24, 2013

The words of the Gospel for this 2nd Sunday in Lent are so tragically foreign to us in this culture, in these times.

transf

“After six days….Jesus took Peter, James, and John…..and went up to the top of the mountain….where He was transfigured…before their eyes….”    From about 50 A.D.  to about 1950 A.D.  we’ve had good teachings which delve into the supernatural and spiritual meanings of this event.  Such teachings are able to nourish our souls and help sanctify our lives

We can still find these teachings, but we live in a difficult world today.   We live in a darkened, cynical, wicked, despairing world.    If the Transfiguration occurred on a mountain top,  we live today in a polluted moral pigsty that depresses our souls, our minds, our emotions, and our hopes.

We live in a slump.   A swamp.   A slough.   The Slough of Despond.

trans slough

The phrase is, of course, taken from a classic piece of English literature.    To know this literary work is to understand much about the greatness our country was known for.    No need to avoid it because of your politics or religion;  it transcends both.  This literary masterpiece is the allegory called Pilgrim’s Progress.

And the Slough of Despond affects us all and we need to climb out of it or else we will be destroyed, painfully.

“After six days…”   The six days of Creation gave us a beautiful world with many delights that link us to the power and glories of our Creator.   After our Fall and the pollution of our souls and our world,  the Gospel news is an even more beautiful link to our Creator-Redeemer.

So, in the Gospel today,  “after six days” we are asked to ascend upward with Jesus and to see Him no more as a man, a great prophet and teacher, but to see Him in His glory, as we move our minds from this physical world upward to the spiritual world that exists around us.

transf mt

There is Mt. Tabor in the distance, where the Transfiguration likely happened.  It seems so far away to our eyes, in the distant misty horizon — yet it exists!   It’s worth the mental effort and the spiritual climb.  It will enliven and then nourish our souls, and prepare us for a happy future life everlasting.

We’ve become familiar and comfortable with the life below, on the plains in front of the mountain, but there is a consequence:  that’s where the Slough of Despond is — and the name of those plains is Megiddo.

Where the battle of Armageddon will be fought.