On the Longing of Creation To Be Set Free

In the first reading for Tuesday of this week, St. Paul speaks of the longing of creation to be set free. He almost personifies creation:

For indeed, creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Romans 8:19-21).

Yes, creation itself eagerly awaits the day when God will say (in the words of an old spiritual), “Oh, Preacher, fold your Bible, for the last soul’s converted!” Then creation itself will be set free from its bondage to death and decay and will be gloriously remade into its original harmony and the life-possessing glory that was once paradise.

Isaiah takes up a similar theme we often hear in Advent”

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:6-9).

Hence, when Christ from His judgment seat shall finally say, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5), and when with John we see “a new heavens and a new earth” (Rev 21:1), I have little doubt that animals will share in that recreated and renewed kingdom where death shall be no more (Rev 21:4).

In several recent posts I have raised alarms about the anti-human dimensions of much of the environmentalist and climate change agendas. But none of this should be taken to mean that I don’t love the beautiful works of God’s creation. I love the passages above about how creation is longing and yearning.

Call me a bit sentimental but I have often thought that perhaps, in our interaction with our pets, God is giving us a glimpse of the harmony we will one day enjoy with all creation. Perhaps our pets are ambassadors for the rest of creation, a kind of early delegation sent by God to prepare the way and begin to forge the connections of the new and restored creation. Maybe they are urging us on in our task of making the number of the elect complete so that all creation can sooner receive its renewal and be restored to the glory and harmony it once had. Who knows? But I see a kind of urgency in the pets I have had over the years. They are filled with joy, enthusiasm, and the expectation of something great.

They show joyful expectation! Yes, there was a kind of joyful expectation in the dogs of my youth: running in circles around me, dashing to greet me when I arrived home, and jumping for joy when I announced a car ride or a walk. My cats have always sauntered over to meet me at the door with a meow, an arched back, and a rub up against my leg. Somehow our pets manifest the passage above: creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed (Romans 8:19).

While I realize that we humans often project what we want their behavior to mean, I am still fascinated by the way our pets come to “know” us and set up a kind of communication with us.

Dogs, especially, are very demonstrative, interactive, and able to make knowing responses. Cats are more subtle. My cat, Jewel, knows my patterns. She also knows how to communicate to me that she wants water, food, or just a back rub. She’s a big talker, too, meowing each time I enter the room. Sometimes I wish she could just tell me what she wanted!

Yes, this interaction with our pets is indeed mysterious. I am not suggesting that animals are on a par with humans intellectually or morally; Scripture is unambiguous that animals are given to us by God and that we are sovereign stewards over them. However, animals—especially our pets—are to be appreciated as gifts from Him. Scripture is also clear that animals will be part of the renewed creation that God will bring about when Christ comes again in glory.

They are part of the Kingdom! Without elevating pets (no matter how precious to us) to the full dignity of human beings, it is not wrong to think that they will be part of the Kingdom of God in all its restored harmony and beauty.

One day when Christ comes again, creation, now yearning, will receive the healing for which it longs.

Cross-posted at the Catholic Standard: On the Longing of Creation To Be Set Free

Anti-Human Themes in Modern Environmentalism

When I was a teenager in the 1970s, I enjoyed much of the popular music of the day but paid little attention to the words. It was usually the rhythm and melody that got my attention; the lyrics were more like another instrumental track than something to analyze. As I got older and especially when I became a writer, the words and their message became much more important to me. When I listen to the ’70s music now, I’m surprised by some of the radical, impure, and foolish philosophies we teens of that time “grooved” to.

One of my favorite groups was the Eagles, though I preferred their lyrical songs like “Desperado” to their hard-driving rock songs like “Life in the Fast Lane.” Among their more lyrical offerings was a song entitled “The Last Resort.” It has a beautiful melody and builds from a simple piano accompaniment to a full-on orchestra. I was oblivious at the time to the preachy and even anti-human lyrics.

It was written in 1976 by bandmembers Don Henley and Glenn Frey and reflected the sentiments of the newly emerging environmentalist movement (the first “Earth Day” was in 1970). Its lyrics argue, in effect, that man destroys everything he calls paradise; he ruins everything he sees as beautiful.

Don Henley would later say that “The Last Resort” was one of his favorite songs

because I care more about the environment than about writing songs about drugs or love affairs or excesses of any kind. The gist of the song was that when we find something good, we destroy it by our presence—by the very fact that man is the only animal on earth that is capable of destroying his environment. The environment is the reason I got into politics: to try to do something about what I saw as the complete destruction of most of the resources that we have left. We have mortgaged our future for gain and greed. [1]

His comments convey the anti-human belief that somehow, by our mere presence and capabilities, we destroy whatever is pristine and naturally beautiful. This pessimistic and cynical view of the 1970s has only gotten worse today. Notice also that “the complete destruction of most of our resources” he spoke of still hasn’t occurred more than forty years later. Before I critique any further, let’s examine the lyrics.

The first part of the song describes a young woman from Providence, Rhode Island. To his credit, Henley begins by featuring a young, liberal interloper. She is depicted as one of the dope-smoking hippies who experimented with commune life in the 1960s and 1970s. She sets out for the Rocky Mountains to live like “the red man,” but the presence of filthy communes wrecks the place and “laid the mountains low.”

She came from Providence
The one in Rhode Island
Where the old-world shadows hang
Heavy in the air
She packed her hopes and dreams
Like a refugee
Just as her father came across the sea

She heard about a place people were smiling
They spoke about the red man’s way
And how they loved the land
And they came from everywhere
To the Great Divide
Seeking a place to stand
Or a place to hide

Down in the crowded bars
Out for a good time
Can’t wait to tell you all
What it’s like up there
And they called it paradise
I don’t know why
Somebody laid the mountains low
While the town got high

The second part of the song addresses suburbia. The human plague is depicted as a chilly wind that blows down the mountains all the way to Malibu. The claim is made that we wrecked the deserts, the canyons, and the coast; that rich developers raped the land with ugly houses and neon lights. The natural beauty was appreciated as a kind of paradise by the dwellers, but Henley argues that their mere presence means that paradise is lost, destroyed.

Then the chilly winds blew down
across the desert
Through the canyons of the coast
to the Malibu
Where the pretty people play
hungry for power
To light their neon way
and give them things to do

Some rich men came and raped the land
Nobody caught them
Put up a bunch of ugly boxes
and Jesus people bought them
And they called it paradise
The place to be
They watched the hazy sun
sinking in the sea

Part three laments that, having ruined every paradise in the continental U.S., some now set their sights on Lahaina (in Hawaii). Yes, you too can sail to a far-off land and destroy it the way the Catholic Missionaries did to California! They just had to get in an anti-Catholic jab. To radicals, the Catholic Church is a mortal enemy. Protestants and unbelievers get a pass; somehow was Catholic missionaries that brought “the white man’s burden,” the “white man’s reign.” Catholics are also mocked for singing in our parishes of a paradise “up there.” We’re so awful, though, that apparently if we ever got there, we’d ruin that too just by being there. The lyrics are tinged with the lament of Jean Paul Sartre in his play No Exit: “Hell is other people” So, in this final part of the song, we have all three of the favorite whipping boys of the radical left: humans, white men, and Catholics:

You can leave it all behind
and sail to Lahaina
Just like the missionaries did
so many years ago
They even brought a neon sign
‘Jesus is Coming’
Brought the white man’s burden down,
brought the white man’s reign

Who will provide the grand design,
what is yours and what is mine?
’Cause there is no more new frontier,
we have got to make it here
We satisfy our endless needs
and justify our bloody deeds
In the name of destiny
and in the name of God

And you can see them there
on Sunday morning
Stand up and sing about
what it’s like up there
They called it paradise,
I don’t know why
You call some place paradise,
kiss it goodbye.

Things have only gotten worse severe since this song was written in the 1970s. For too many environmentalists, mankind is the problem; like a plague of locusts, we must be limited or even removed completely.

As I have written here before, Catholics should be aware that radical environmentalists, including climate change extremists, have “solutions” that no Catholic can countenance. Many of them are advocates of abortion, euthanasia, and forced sterilization. They support government involvement in the economy in ways that contravene the principle of subsidiarity, violate the natural rights of the human person, and disproportionately harm the poor and developing nations.

Another problem with the radicals’ stance is that they see can little or nothing positive in man’s role in the environment. We are viewed as an unnatural interloper. We have surely transgressed in some ways against the natural world, and it is right that we work to reduce pollution and waste. However, I do not believe that there is a “climate emergency.” I’ve been hearing similarly dire predictions all my life, but we’re still here! But I digress; I’m neither a politician nor a scientist.

The point is that for all our errors or excesses, humans have also improved and even helped to advance the potential of the natural world. We have increased agricultural yields, driven back diseases, and made many parts of the world more productive and beautiful. We seldom clear-cut forests anymore. We carefully harvest trees, which are a renewable resource, and we replant them. Why is a city or a suburb inherently bad or ugly? Farms are beautiful, too, and collectively they feed billions. Humans have done some wonderful things to unlock nature’s potential and, as Scripture says, to subdue its unrulier dimensions. The Catholic and biblical view is that we are supposed to be here; we are to oversee the world as stewards and extend, in a way, the work of creation.

Contrary to the songwriters’ allegations, we do not necessarily destroy paradise just by being there. We often improve on the created world through human ingenuity, making use of its resources to feed, clothe, and shelter human beings, each beautiful one made in God’s image. We are not enemies of paradise; we are part of it. God gave it for us to enjoy in moderation and with care.

For all the finger-wagging that so many in the environmental movement do, they also drive cars on paved roads and live in homes with electricity, heat, running water, and air-conditioning. They have wood in the structure of their homes, which built on land that likely once belonged to indigenous people. They eat of the fruits of modern agriculture and fly on planes to business meetings and vacation destinations.

All of us can help by polluting less and wasting less, but human beings are important; we are not a plague on planet Earth. God gave us this earth to use with care and reason. Catholics should not accept the radical environmentalist vision in toto. The Catholic understanding of our role in the natural world is stated well in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

To human beings God even gives the power of freely sharing in his providence by entrusting them with the responsibility of “subduing” the earth and having dominion over it. God thus enables men to be intelligent and free causes in order to complete the work of creation, to perfect its harmony for their own good and that of their neighbors. Though often unconscious collaborators with God’s will, they can also enter deliberately into the divine plan by their actions, their prayers and their sufferings. They then fully become “God’s fellow workers” and co-workers for his kingdom (CCC # 307).

Anti-human attitudes have no place in Catholic thinking. Our summons is to live up to what the Catechism so beautifully states. Whatever your views on the condition of the environment and the climate, stay Catholic, my friends, stay Catholic.

I still like the song for its melody and arrangement. The words I can live without, except that they illustrate well the problems we face today in upholding human dignity and understanding our proper role with respect to the environment.

Cross-posted at the Catholic Standard: Anti-Human Themes in Modern Environmentalism

The Remarkable Beauty of Fog

The time-lapse video below does a wonderful job of recording the beauty of fog. Most of us don’t remark on it in “real time”; it just seems to sit there and brood. Like clouds, fog is dynamic and undulating, moving so slowly that it rarely catches our attention. If time is collapsed, as is done in this video, the fog seems to flow like a river over the landscape, sometimes cascading like a waterfall. It is a beautiful sight. Put this in your wonder and awe file.

Praise the LORD, you from the earth,
fire, hail, snow, and fog, winds and storms
that carry out his command.
(Psalm 148: 7-8)

Fog: One of God’s wonderful creations!

Cross-posted at the Catholic Standard: The Remarkable Beauty of Fog

Man Is Not an Intruder in Creation

There is a fundamental precept among climate change activists and radical environmentalists that man is an interloper in the natural world. All would be pristine if it weren’t for us. There seems to be little appreciation that humans are part of creation, that we are supposed to be here, part of the interplay among living organism in which there is both giving and taking.

The role of the human person in creation is developed quite explicitly in the Bible. In the very opening pages of the Scriptures we read of Adam and Eve:

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that crawls upon the earth.” Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit contains seed. They will be yours for food” (Genesis 1:28-31).

Man is no mere observer or denizen of creation; he has the authority of a steward. The Hebrew word used in this passage is a strong one: kabash (subdue). It means to bring something into submission, to impose a kind of order. Scripture also says, Then the LORD God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it (Gen 2:15).

It is remarkable that these things are said even before Original Sin. Thus, even in the paradise of Eden there is something imperfect, something undone. Man was to work with God in the ongoing work of maintaining creation and helping it reach its potential and achieve its goals.

Original Sin harmed both man and the rest of creation. God said to Adam, Cursed is the ground because of you; through toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it will yield for you, and you will eat the plants of the field (Gen 3:17-18). In spite of this, God reiterates the role of the human person:

And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on every living creature on the earth, every bird of the air, every creature that crawls on the ground, and all the fish of the sea. They are delivered into your hand. Everything that lives and moves will be food for you; just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you all things” (Genesis 9:1-3).

It is this sovereign stewardship that is celebrated in Preface Five for the Sundays of the year:

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

For you laid the foundations of the world and have arranged for the changing of times and seasons; you have formed man in your own image and set humanity over the whole world in all its wonder, to rule in your name over all you have made and forever praise you in your mighty works, through Christ our Lord.

And so, with all the Angels, we praise you,
as in joyful celebration we acclaim: Holy, Holy, Holy …

All these texts are an answer to the modern, secular, extremist notion that reduces man to an unnatural intruder in the created world. We are not. We are meant to be here. The world was made for us by God, and we are to exercise a dominion that brings order and greater productivity to the created order by God’s grace.

In our best moments, we have done this beautifully. Advances in agricultural science have almost miraculously raised crop yields such that abundant food can be made available worldwide for billions. Forest management has permitted us to reap the benefits of trees while keeping our forests from being depleted through replanting and other measures. Fisheries, animal husbandry, wildlife management, nature conservancies, and national parks bless millions and encourage appreciation for the natural world. We have developed an amazing ability to use the raw minerals and materials of the earth to build and make wonderful things.

Further, the rise of hospitals in the early Christian era and medical study that followed in the West has driven back disease, dramatically lowered infant mortality, and relieved an enormous amount of human suffering. Modern Western economies have raised the standard of living for huge numbers of people, drawing many out of crushing poverty and subsistence living and making food and consumer goods available in rich variety.

There surely have been times when we have polluted, been wasteful, destroyed forests, and engaged in agricultural policies that contributed to crises such as the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. However, we have also learned much, especially in the modern age.

It is unjust to demonize humanity in the name of environmentalism. We are tasked by God to take the world He gave us and make good decisions about how it should be used: some land for farming, some for forests, and some for cities and other developments. It is our role to help unlock the full potential of the natural world by using its resources to make everything from medicine to food, from paint to steel, from grapes to wines and jellies.

It is important to resist accepting the premises of an increasingly radicalized movement. Man is not the enemy. Too many activists propose morally unacceptable solutions such as abortion, sterilization, and euthanasia in the name of “population control.” Other proposals include heavy-handed government intrusion to limit family size, eliminate entire industries, and ban certain fuel sources violate subsidiarity and are likely to have a disproportionate effect on the poor. Creating hysteria about climate change and warning of impending extinction is an old tactic of this movement. I have been hearing similarly dire predictions all my life, but here we still are. Believe what you want about climate change and its causes, but be careful to note what this movement has become and the dramatic, anti-human policies it has adopted.

Humanity is the crowning glory of this planet. We are not intruders into the world of nature. God made this world and put us here in it. Irresponsible stewardship is a sin, but extremist solutions are also a sin—against the dignity of the human person.

Cross-posted at the Catholic Standard: Man Is Not an Intruder in Creation

On the Cosmology of Fireworks

One of the great paradoxes of creation and our existence in God’s world is that many blessings are unlocked by explosive, even violent, forces. The cosmos itself is hurtling outward in a massive explosion. Here we are, living part way through that explosion.

When I consider the fireworks on the Fourth of July, I often think that each of those beautiful, fiery explosions is a miniature replica of the cosmos. Everywhere in the universe, the burning embers we call stars and galaxies glow brightly as they hurtle outward at close to one hundred million miles per hour. Yes, from one great singularity, God sent the power of His fiery, creative love expanding outward, giving life, and seeming almost limitless. The cosmos is unimaginably large, but its creator is infinitely large.

Even here on Earth, a relatively cool and stable bit of dust compared to the Sun, we stand upon a thin crust of land floating over an explosive sea of molten, fiery rock. The Book of Job says,

As for the earth, out of it comes bread; Yet underneath it is turned up as it were by fire (Job 28:5).

This fiery cauldron produces the rich soil in which we grow our very bread. The smoke and gases of the fires provide essential ingredients of the atmosphere that sustains us. The molten fires beneath us also create a magnetic field that envelops Earth and deflects the most harmful of the Sun’s rays.

Yes, all around us there is fire with its explosive violence, yet from it come life and every good gift.

To small creatures like us, God’s expansive love can seem almost violent. Indeed, there are terrifying experiences near volcanos and from solar bursts that remind us that love is both glorious and unnerving. It is an awesome thing to fall into the hands of a living God (Heb 10:31).

In some of our greatest human works, we too use violent means. The blades of our plows cut into the earth, violently overturning it. We raise animals and then lead them to slaughter for food and/or clothing. We break eggs to make omelets. We stoke fires to cook our food and warm our homes. We smelt iron and other ore we violently cut from the earth. Even as we drive about in our cars, the ignition of the fuel/air mixture in the engine causes explosions, the energy from which is ultimately directed toward propelling the vehicle.

Violent though much of this is, we do these things (at least in our best moments) as acts of love and creativeness. By them we bring light, warmth, and food. We build and craft; we move products and people to help and bless.

Yes, there is a paradoxical “violence” that comes from the fiery heat of love and creativity. The following is an excerpt from Bianco da Siena’s 14th century hymn to the Holy Spirit, “Come Down, O Love Divine”:

Come down, O Love divine,
seek thou this soul of mine,
and visit it with thine own ardor glowing;
O Comforter, draw near,
within my heart appear,
and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn,
till earthly passions turn
to dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
and let thy glorious light
shine ever on my sight,
and clothe me round, the while my path illuming
.

Fire—can’t live with it, can’t live without it. Let the fire burn; let the seemingly transformative “violence” have its way. It makes a kind of paradoxical sense to us living in a universe that is midway through its fiery, expansive explosion of God’s love and creativity.

Disclaimer: I am not affirming gratuitous violence for selfish and/or merely destructive ends. The term “violence” is used here in a qualified manner, as an analogy to convey the transformative and creative power of love phenomenologically.

Cross-posted at the Catholic Standard: On the Cosmology of Fireworks

O Tempus! Time Belongs to God, Not to Us

The ancient Greeks had at least three different words for time:

Chronos is close to what we call “clock time.” It answers the question of where we are on the scale used to note sequential time. For example, 3:00 PM refers to an agreed point in the middle of the afternoon.

Aeon refers to the fullness of time or to “the ages.” It is akin to our notion of eternity, not as an inordinately long time but as a comprehensive experience of all time summed up as one. Only God experiences this fully, but we can grasp aspects of it. For example, we can look back on our life as a whole and see how many different things worked to get us to where we are now. In so doing, we can come up with a comprehensive meaning to the events of the past. Although the future is hidden from us, we can still conceive of it and steer our lives intelligently toward it. God sees the past, present, and future all at once. Only God lives in pure aeon, the fullness of time.

Kairos is related to our concept of something being timely. There is often a particularly fitting or opportune moment for something. We might say “It was time to move on,” or “It was time to retire.”

This famous passage from Ecclesiastes sets forth the kairos notion of time and ends with a reference to eternity:

There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

… I have seen the business that God has given to mortals to be busied about. God has made everything appropriate to its time … (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11a).

Yes, there is a time for everything. We like to think we determine when that is, but more often events and time itself determine what is timely and appropriate. We are not the master of time and events. Something bigger, caught up in God’s providence, sets the agenda. We may wish to laugh or celebrate, but sometimes there comes the awareness that now is not the right time. Even a happy occasion like a birthday or an anniversary can be overtaken by other events and a time to laugh becomes a time to cry.

In my spiritual reading I recently came across the following mediation on time in Jesus’ own earthly life. It is worth pondering, especially to the degree that we think we can be the master of time:

When Luke writes that Jesus “increased in wisdom and in stature” (Lk 2:52), he is saying by this that Jesus respected time. He was not in a hurry. He could wait until “time” was right. This is also abundantly clear from his unusually long, hidden life at Nazareth.

We, on the other hand, are, in practice, inclined to deny time. We try to step over time, make decisions that we are not ready to make, and carry out task that have not been given to us ….

Everything good comes from God, but he does not give everything at once. Sin is to want to have something that God does not yet wish to give, … to seize immediately what he wishes to bestow only gradually.

… The New Testament speaks insistently about patience. It is a question of waiting, of staying awake, of being prepared. We cannot go into the wedding feast whenever we wish, but only when the bridegroom comes (Matthew 25:1-13). Another text warns “Behold I am coming like a thief.”

(Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D. in Eternity in the Midst of Time, pp. 39-40)

Thus, time and the Lord of Eternity insist that we wait and that we be ready. Time belongs to God. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev 1:8).

Every Easter we bless the Paschal Candle, which denotes the Year of the Lord. As the priest uses the stylus to cut or denote the year, he says,

Christ yesterday and today,
the beginning and the end,
Alpha and Omega,
all time belongs to him,
and all ages;
to him be glory and power,
through every age and forever. Amen
.

Yes, all time belongs to Him. He has set the limit of our days. He has always known us (see Jeremiah 1:5). He summoned us to be; He knit us together in our mother’s womb and every one of our days was written in His book before one of them ever came to be (see Psalm 139). He is the Lord of time and history. He is the Lord of the present, and our future has always been present and known to Him.

We do well to remember all of this and to be grateful and humble. Our language about time bespeaks a certain pride and even a sense that we can beat or master time somehow. Consider some of these saying regarding time:

    • Making time for things
    • Killing time
    • Wasting time
    • Turning back the hands of time
    • Fighting against the clock
    • Being behind the times
    • Having too much time on our hands
    • Being a day late and a dollar short

Yes, we often think we can make time, or alter it, or know how much time we should have. Instead, we should humbly admit that we cannot alter time, turn it back, kill it, or make it.

Other expressions speak to our recognition that certain things are appropriate to certain times. Why exactly this is remains mysterious. Thus, we say things like this:

    • It’s high time
    • No time like the present
    • Right time, right place
    • This is the moment of truth
    • This is my hour of need
    • I’m having a hard time
    • I’m having a moment
    • I’m having a whale of a time
    • We had the time of our lives!
    • I finished in the nick of time
    • The time is ripe
    • Time flies
    • It will happen in due time
    • It has stood the test of time
    • Time is on our side
    • For the time being
    • You caught me at a bad time
    • Time is of the essence
    • God will bide his time
    • He’s doing time (in jail)

Expressions such as these show how time frames us and shapes our experience. Time is experienced, not altered or mastered. Time belongs to God; by it, He frames our life and shapes our experience. We sense time’s passage, its appropriateness, its givenness.

Be humble about time. You are not its master, God is.  Festina lente!  (Make haste, slowly).

The video below is set to Carl Orff’s composition of “O Fortuna,” which contains a far darker assessment of fate as the wheel of fortune turns. The world and all its glories are fading!

Cross-posted at the Catholic Standard: O Tempus! Time Belongs to God, Not Us

If You Think You’re in the Fast Lane, You’re Right!

Have you been feeling a little rushed lately? Well, you might be surprised to find out how fast you’re actually moving, even when you think you’re “standing still.”

      • Earth, at the latitude of Washington, D.C., is spinning at a rate of about 750 miles per hour [1].
      • At the same time, the spinning Earth is rotating around the Sun at approximately 67,000 miles per hour [2].
      • And the Sun around which we move so rapidly is itself rotating around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy at about 483,000 miles per hour [3].
      • Finally, the entire Milky Way Galaxy is spinning and moving outward at about 1,339,200 miles per hour [4].

It’s dizzying to consider our speed and motion: a spinning planet, rotating around a sun, which is rotating around the center of a galaxy, which is careening through space. So, if you think you’re standing still, think again; we are actually hurtling through space at mind-boggling speed.

Yes, you’re on the move. You’re moving so fast that you met yourself coming back! Don’t let anyone tell you you’re loafing.

Here are some biblical “speed texts.” Hurry up and read them!

      • Look! The Lord advances like the clouds, his chariots come like a whirlwind, his horses are swifter than eagles (Jer 4:13).
      • I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands, O Lord (Psalm 119:60).
      • Hurry! Go quickly! Don’t stop! (1 Sam 20:38)
      • God has told me to hurry (2 Chron 35:21).

Cross-posted at the Catholic Standard: If You Think You’re in the Fast Lane, You’re Right!

Behold the Stars

The video below is another one for your wonder and awe file. It is a time lapse of the stars as they move across the sky. While their movement is due more to the spinning of Earth on its axis at nearly 1000 miles per hour (at the equator, less north or south of it), if you think they are just standing still out there, you are mistaken. At the same time, our rotating planet is orbiting the Sun at approximately 66,000 miles per hour, while the Sun around which we move so rapidly is itself revolving around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy at about 483,000 miles per hour. Finally, the Milky Way Galaxy is moving through the universe at about 1.3 million miles per hour [1].

It is all dizzying to say the least. Most of us in or near light-polluted cities see little of the stars, but all around us are billions of galaxies each with billions of stars. I am not sure why God made a universe that is so immense; perhaps it is just His immense love.

Enjoy this video and be amazed.

Cross-posted at the Catholic Standard: Behold the Stars