Chapter 3. The Universe and The Sun
The Nativity.Drawn by Rudolf Koch. Courtesy of Arion Press.
The grandness of the universe is only a minute reflection of the grandeur of God. The universe began about 12 billion years ago and could contain 3 thousand million billion stars. As Copernicus realized that the Sun was at the center and the planets revolved around it (De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium), may we place God at the center of our hearts and our lives. May the heavenly lights lift our eyes, hearts, minds, and souls to God and remind us of our Heavenly goal. Jesus is the Son of God, the Light of the World, and eternal, not passing away like the sun and moon, the stars, or even the universe. The elevation of the Sacred Host—the Blessed Sacrament is like an eternal sunrise. Jesus in His Transfiguration and Resurrection is close to us—"Emmanuel—God with us." We adore and receive the Real Presence of Jesus.
May the sun and the moon remind us of the Mother of Jesus who is our Mother too, the Queen of Heaven who stands with the moon at her feet and the stars as a crown surrounding her head. May we honor her as our mother and listen for her inviting us to listen to the voice of her Son and to do whatever He tells us. May Mary shower graces from Heaven upon us like radiant gems and shining stars.
Jesus calls us the "light of the world" (Mt 5:14). How are we light to others? Do we let our light shine by good deeds and example? When we radiate God's Goodness through good works, Jesus shines through us. As a lamp is not hidden under a bushel basket but instead placed on the lamp stand for all to see, may we utilize our talents and gifts to spread God's Love in our families, work places, and communities. Then God's Light and Love will dispel the darkness of crime, terror, and war. The universe will be anew right here in this small corner, this earth shining brighter and radiating God's Goodness, a shiny blue and green gem.
So the sun and the moon stopped and stood still until Israel defeated its enemies. The sun stood still and didn't go down for about a whole day.
I often think of the heavens
your hands have made,
and of the moon and stars
you put in place.
You created the moon
to tell us the seasons.
The sun knows when to set,
You won't be harmed
by the sun during the day
or by the moon at night.
He lets the moon and the stars
rule each night.
God's love never fails.
Strange things will happen to the sun, moon, and stars. The nations on earth will be afraid of the roaring sea and tides, and they won't know what to do
1 Corinthians 15:41 (NIV)
The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
Revelation 12:1 (NIV)
A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.
And the city did not need the sun or the moon. The glory of God was shining on it, and the Lamb was its light.
... I sing the wisdom that ordained
the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at God's command,
and all the stars obey.
—Isaac Watts (1674–1748). I Sing the Mighty Power of God (Praise for Creation and Providence) .
He [the sun] gives light as soon as he rises.
—Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790). An Economical Project .
... Must in death your daylight finish? My sun sets to rise again.
—Robert Browning. At the "Mermaid" , st. 10.
I was continuing to shrink. To become, what? The infinitesimal? What was I? Still a human being, or was I the man of the future?... So close, the infinitesimal and the infinite, but suddenly I knew they were really the two ends of the same concept. The unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet, like the closing of a gigantic circle. I looked up, as if somehow I would grasp the heavens. The universe, worlds beyond number, God’s silver tapestry spread across the night. And in that moment I knew the answer to the riddle of the infinite. I had thought in terms of man’s own limited dimension. I had presumed upon nature. That existence begins and ends is man’s conception, not nature’s, and I felt my body dwindling, melting, becoming nothing. My fears melted away and in their place came acceptance. All this vast majesty of creation—it had to mean something. And then I meant something, too. Yes, smaller than the smallest—I meant something, too. To God, there is no zero. I still exist. Even athletes need to sleep.
—Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1921–1990). Jack Arnold. trans. by Gerhard P. Knapp (1995). Romulus the Great, act I (1956). With Permission.
Night unto night makes known God's message
The sun sets beneath the western horizon.
The blue sky grows black as daylight fades.
Bright stars shine brilliantly upon the night sky.
Planets wander about, chasing one another.
The sun's rays have gone and the earth becomes cold.
The clear, star-dusted dome covers the horizons.
Blue, green, white, yellow, orange, and red lights
Adorn the Heavens as light travels for eons to the earth.
The ground is cold; winds sweep the earth.
The constellations play their historic roles of myths.
The universe is vast and galaxies keep watch
As time passes upon the earth.
Bats flutter about in the darkness, searching for food.
Bullfrogs call out to each other; insects fly about.
Fish jump out of the warm waters to catch their food.
Loons call out their weird songs of laughter.
Squirrels and chipmunks scurry about, then find rest.
Ducks sleep in their nest; insects and arachnids go to work.
The spruce appear to catch fire by the rising moon.
The moon, large and full, begins its ever-continuous journey.
Although the earth turns and travels, we seem to be still.
The characters of stories dance about in the dome.
Constellations rise and fall
Then disappear below the horizon.
Night hours pass quickly; time never sits still.
A faint glow appears along the eastern horizon.
Stars begin to disappear from sight.
The appearance of the rising sun ends the night.
A dense fog covers the waters and fleets over the shore.
Mist rises above the lake and travels about.
All God's creatures awaken and begin their day.
The sun will soon burn off the fog, as the earth warms again.
—Anthony R. Brach (1981).
Simply looking up at the sky can uplift our minds and hearts. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets move us to awe and wonderment. Cloud formations and light phenomena, anticrepescular rays, light pillars, nacreous clouds, and eclipses fascinate us. Shooting stars—meteor showers, comets, and the moon in its waxing, full, and waning phases draw our attention. As we lift our eyes to the skies like the three wise men from the east, may we offer God our prayers of praise and thanks.
Despite its distance of 149.6 million kilometers, the sun lights and heats the earth. Sunlight produces ozone that protects life from harmful ultraviolet light. Solar storms, sunspots, and auroras remind us of the sun's enormous power, and our all-powerful Creator. May we seek ways to use solar energy efficiently and effectively to provide power, to light, heat, and cool our homes and communities.
(C) 2002 by Anthony R. Brach.