Friday, September 03, 2010

Holidays and Hurricanes

Tonight we in New England await for Hurricane Earl to pass by us, or brush the shoreline, or veer off to the east and leave us. It is muggy, misty and "close" as the day's heat is slow to dissipate and the humidity hugs our hallways.

This is the beginning of the last legal holiday which we Americans and Canadians celebrate before Thanksgiving. We Sisters at our Boston convent plan on an "All American" cookout on Monday to celebrate and to wish the best for one of our Sisters who is leaving to serve in our Rome Generalate Community. Of course the very name of the holiday means that it honors workers. This term covers all kinds of work. And, we Catholics have a Saint who is the Patron of Workers--St. Joseph. One of our best selling book titles is "St. Joseph, Help for Life's Emergencies." It is available at Catholic bookstores and at Even though the Church honors St. Joseph as "The Worker" on May 1st, we can always remember him on Labor Day. He labored in the carpenter shop at Nazareth. There were no Home Depots or Lowes stores selling electric saws or lathes. He experienced what it meant to pour his sweat and strength into fashioning wooden objects for all sorts of needs.

On another note, the anticipation of a hurricane with all the potential it carries for damage, floods, and high winds reminds me of the awesomeness of God the Creator. I beg to differ with the scientist Stephen Hawking who recently was quoted as saying that God did not create the universe. Hawking's expertise lies in gravitational singularities and black holes. The "law" of gravity holds an important place in his theory. I may be misreading him, but it seems to me that Hawking does not recognize an ultimate "Law Giver" who set the law of gravity in motion. Astronauts in space experience what it is to be without gravity. I once had a science professor who pointed out the delicate balance of life on planet earth. Just a few molecules off of carbon or hydrogen or other vital elements and we along with the rest of animate beings would cease to breathe. The same professor was fascinated by the Black Hole theory. He was convinced that creation of this universe began when that "hole" in space began to expand rather than contract and disappear. The professor whom I refer to is a fervent Catholic who saw many signs in nature of a loving Creator. Where did that first black hole come from? As St. Thomas Aquinas said, we look to the "Uncaused Cause" who is the same as the first Law Giver, God the Creator.

Psalm 136 sings the praises of God the Creator "whose steadfast love endures forever." The late singer Rich Mullins made the Christian praise and worship song, "Awesome God", a very popular song among young people. Some of the lyrics go like this: "Our God is an aweome God. He reigns from heaven above with wisdom, power and love. Our God is an awesome God...". At one time I actually mastered hand gestures to accompany this song.

Our closest neighbors, across the street from us, have the Clayton Observatory, which helps us to see some of the awesome parts of the universe through its powerful telescope. I always enjoy our visits to the Observatory and the good neighbors we have at the Dexter and Southfield Schools. The few classes I attended in astronomy were eye openers which truly led me to a deeper awe at the immensity of our universe.
Scientists, physicists, astronomers and folks of higher learning of all stripes may yet discover when our universe came to be, or when that first exploding black hole began the millennial process of creation. God has infinite patience, and he is the Lord of time and eternity. May we honor him in our resting and in our labors and "give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever" (Psalm 136:26) Enjoy the holiday!