Days of Advent, Seasons

Advent Day 24: Alpha and Omega …

I am making the whole of creation new. . . . It will come true. . . . It is already done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.
— Revelation 21:5-6

Is this Jesus of Nazareth speaking here or Someone Else? Whoever it is, is offering an optimistic arc to all of history, and it is not just the humble Galilean carpenter. This is much more than a mere “religious message”; it is also a historical and cosmic one. It declares a definite trajectory where there is coherence between the beginning and the ending of all things. It offers humanity hope and vision. History now appears to have a direction and a purpose; it is not just a series of isolated events!
— Richard Rohr adapted from Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi (Original Post: Daily Meditations

Desiderata

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
— Max Ehrmann from Desiderata

Christ Is The Model For Creation

Christ is the model for creation so that, “what happened between God and the world in Christ points to the future of the cosmos. It is a future that involves the radical transformation of created reality through the unitive power of God’s love.” This universe, therefore, has a destiny; the world will not be destroyed. Rather, “it will be brought to the conclusion which God intends for it from the beginning, which is anticipated in the mystery of the Incarnate Word and glorified Christ.
— Ilia Delio from Christ in Evolution

Pale Blue Dot

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
— Carl Sagan from Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Planetary Pilgrims

The great Jewish theologian Abraham Heschel said, “The root of religion is what to do with awe, wonder, and amazement.” He is correct since without a prayer of wonder we can easily attempt to manipulate God by tricks of pious praying, fasting, lighting votive candles, and reciting repetitive prayers. To incorporate the vista of the Milky Way galaxy with its billions of stars into your prayers is to pray with wonder. Light travels 5,878 trillion miles in a year, and it would require a journey of 2 million light years to reach the closest neighboring galaxy to ours! To contemplate such an immeasurable distance between our planet Earth and our next-door galaxy is to pray the prayer of awe, and so be plunged into the mysterious.

Albert Einstein believed the most beautiful emotion we can experience is mystery. He said anyone who is a stranger to the mysterious, who cannot any longer wonder or stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead! To move from an indoor Christian, insulated from the weather and creation style of prayer, to praying with creation and the cosmos is to come alive. It is to become a planetary pilgrim and a pioneer of prayer who lives in a prayer of communion with God, with all the Earth, our own galaxy, and the wondrous expanding universe.
— Edward Hays from Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim

 

Circles & Meteors

(photo credit)