“Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy hands have made.”
It’s incredible how big the universe is. I mean, wow! The universe is big. Really big. Unbelievably big. The immense size of our universe is simply staggering.
The Milky Way (our galaxy) has over 100 billion stars and is 100,000 light years in diameter! And get this: there are billions of galaxies. Earth is like a small pebble floating in colossal space.
For a moment, we might even despair of earth’s seeming insignificance in the scheme of things. After all, our sun only has about five billion years to go before it burns out and dies of old age (estimates vary).
Despair? I think not. Let us look out into our universe just as far as we can. We see many things, but there is one thing we don’t see: life. Besides our own planet, the universe seems to be barren of life. So our little planet is special, very special. We are teeming with life. Life! Beautiful life.
Now if we think about this interesting set of circumstances – at least from a theological perspective – it is not hard to see that God has blessed Earth with His special providence. In ages past it was though that Earth was the center of the universe, but we now know this is not the case. Rather, if I might be permitted to say, Earth seems to be at the center of God’s heartfelt love for creatures. Just as Mary was blessed among all women, Earth seems to be blessed among all planetary bodies.
Now it is possible that there may be life out there in some distant galaxy a gazillion light years away. God’s prerogative does not preclude such a scenario. Perhaps one day we will be visited by some alien creature who also owes his life to God’s gratuitous love!
But as is stands, it appears that the only “alien” to have ever visited our planet was Jesus Christ; and he came with the most benign intention and wonderful purpose: to save us, and thus to make us children of God.
God’s plan of salvation will one day take us beyond time and space, to “loftier demarcations” of infinite scope and of eternal significance, where we may look upon our Heavenly Father’s face, and upon the universe he made, and say with great awe and love, “How Great Thou Art.”
(Dear Father, I never really understood how omnipotent your omnipotence is! For you are infinite, which means the universe is no bigger than a small bread basket compared to you! To think then, for a moment, who you are and that I am your creature!)
Inspiration: Studying natural science with Bridget; The Illustrated Atlas of the Universe by Mark A. Garlick; Chapter One of Called to Holiness by Ralph Martin; and F.W. Faber’s fascinating discussion of natural science in The Blessed Sacrament, pages 255-276. Faber refers to planet Earth as “God’s garden.”
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