One of the greatest nights of my life was spent alone. My husband and sons were off camping with the Boy Scouts and I took myself to Montauk, and found a small beachfront and parked myself on a blanket under the sky. I simply watched the constellations roll by, and all the shooting stars falling. Such depths of sparkling beauty. Such a night of wonder.
Electric light is wonderful — it’s near-miraculous — but we give up an awful lot to have it all about us, making us feel safe and less afraid. We give up our understanding of the spaciousness of the mystery of the Creator, among other things, and we give up our willingness to know we are small:
Does the fact that we can no longer see the stars have anything to do with our loss of wonder? . . . It seems like when we were more aware of milky ways and horizons, it was easier to believe. Could Joan of Arc have led her army, could she even have thought to, could she have trusted enough, without having a sense of something greater, bigger than herself?
We have obliterated the stars with our artificial light – but perhaps we’ve blinded ourselves, too. Without the wonder, the greatness of the galaxies in our sight, we’ve lost the ability to believe in, or expect, miracles.
When you cannot see the glory of God’s creation, how can you wish to glorify the Lord? No longer seeing anything greater than ourselves, we turn inward, we worship our own thoughts, our invention, our desire.
Each generation–and perhaps my boomer generation more than any other–thinks of itself as the most enlightened, most informed, most aware, but how can that be?
We see the world through 19 inch computer screens, and 40 inch television screens. We melt the sand to create 36 inch windows, and we think that’s as big as the world gets.
That night in Montauk, alone on a deserted beach, I felt very small, but remarkably safe and unafraid, too, because all about me was evidence of something so much greater than myself, something powered by the unstoppable “yes” of love.
Found over at Mark Shea’s place: something to enlarge the view and un-narrow the perspective! Stick with it — it’s a boffo finish!
God has all the essential characteristics of what we mean by a “person,” in particular conscious awareness, the ability to recognize and the ability to love. In that sense he is someone who can speak and who can listen. That, I think, is what is essential about God. Nature can be marvelous. The starry heaven is stupendous. But my reaction to that remains no more than an impersonal wonder, because that, in the end, means that I am myself no more than a tiny part of an enormous machine. The real God, however, is more than that. He is not just nature, but the One who came before it and who sustains it. And the whole of God, so faith tells us, is the act of relating. That is what we mean when we say that he is a Trinity, that he is threefold. Because he is in himself a complex of relationships, he can also make other beings who are grounded in relationships and who may relate to him, because he has related them to himself.
– Pope Benedict XVI, (from God and the World)