The Lost Science Found

At my parish, I’m the liturgy consultant for weddings. Good news, that I don’t get to play many of them, except for those of friends. Good news also that I get to meet many fascinating people and talk about one of the happiest days of their lives.

Today I met a young woman who is marrying a man who hopes to fly to Mars. His timing seems about right. Her husband will be in his mid-thirties when NASA returns to the moon. If scientists can solve the many problems of long-term spaceflight to another planet, he might be of an age to command a mission to the Red Planet when the time comes. Is that cool or what?

One of the most enjoyable things about meeting with engaged couples is the enthusiasm many young people have for life–and not just about the love of their life.

I was thinking back to my own late college days after this meeting today. I regular read and post on astronomy and its various disciplines, and you may well wonder what happened to this interest of mine when I was younger. I wasn’t even an astronomy major when I was in college. I’m not sure I can tell you why, other than I had it in my head to be a doctor until I actually made it to college. By far the most enjoyable courses I took were in astronomy. I was a little afraid of the physics (my alma mater has a rigorous physics department which had rather subsumed the astronomy profs). But motivation is a great tool for mastering difficult educational challenges. Too bad I waited till grad school to discover that!

Anyway, when I was a senior biology-geology major, I applied for a NASA summer program in Houston. I was sure that a decent student with a geology background would stand out enough to get considered along with the astrophysics, astronomy, and engineering majors. I was already growing disenchanted with academia, as I’d experienced it. Looking back, I probably just attended the wrong university.

But I took the rejection from Houston bitterly hard. It was the first academic opportunity for which I was really on fire. And the experience pretty much soured me on any future in science. Soon after graduation, I fell into a job as a telemarketer for my university. And when a permanent position opened up in the Development Department, I lost out to a friend who wasn’t even an alum. Then I found out I wasn’t even seriously considered for the position. And that pretty much soured me on my alma mater. Which may well have been part of God’s subtle guidance that led me into ministry.

Today, of course, geology is all the rage as an associate discipline of astronomy. Space probes examine planets and moons. We theorize about planets orbiting far stars. And these planets and moons have the substances one finds poked about by earthling geologists.

For the last ten years, since Galileo began probing Jupiter and its moons, I’ve gotten excited all over again about all things space, not just looking at pretty pictures on the web, but dusting off old things I knew about geology and other sciences.

I can’t tell you why I enjoy astronomy so much to share it with others. It has an artistic appeal, undeniably. Much of it deals with knowledge of things far away, and that has a certain spiritual allure. And perhaps there is something to be said about such things that lift our attention away from the firm ground to things high above.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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14 Responses to The Lost Science Found

  1. Dick Martin says:

    Interesting! I would hope some day you would study the greatest Book ever written and use your intellect to show people how to travel back to their celestial home in Heaven and spend eternity with their Father God. Then we can travel with the speed of thought. Your important position now will require a greater responsibility . better get busy. The scriptures are the only writings, written by God Himself.

    • Todd says:

      Hello, Dick. As you are not keen to admit, I not only study the Bible but pray it and pray with it. This may be indeed galling to you, but I don’t plan to abandon a catholic and Catholic approach to Christian faith.

      One must use more than human intellect to draw closer to God. We’ve been given more than brains–we are also people of emotions, of a social life and interaction with others. It involves listening to brothers and sisters in belief, and not just attempting to align everybody to one’s own way of thinking.

  2. Jen says:

    As Brian May’s proven, it’s never too late. :)

  3. Dick Martin says:

    Your comments are full of holes according to my Christian Faith. Your Catholic approach is just that; taught by tradition of men and the doctrine of devils. When you study the bible it will lead you to all truth. We are three part beings 1. Spirit- that is who we are. 2. Soul – this is you intellect, emotions, your will, social life, interaction with others. things of your mind. Unreliable .3. Body.

    • Todd says:

      Dick, I think you have hit on the issue at hand. You speak of “your” Christian faith, but Christians have always been assembled into communities. No single person, no matter how earnest, speaks for the entire Body. But Christ.

      Do you have a Biblical citation for your three-part theory? I’ve never heard the soul as inclusive of what you describe.

  4. Dick Martin says:

    If you read and study the Bible ,pray it and with it then answer the most fundamental question; ” what do I need to Do to attain Heaven”? Listening To brothers and sisters in BELIEF–What do you believe that you would share? If there is difference between Catholic teaching and (Bible) Fundamental Christianity.. which would you side with?

  5. Dick Martin says:

    Fundamental Christianity is: Christ centered. Christ is His title. Jesus is His name. All things are predestined; for God knows all things, every decision you will make and you destiny in advance. His need to redeem you ; His Coming, Death and Resurrection Need for us to be Born Again. If you don’t agree with this: yours is a Man Made Invention. How Sad. You should listen to your Heart (The Spirit of God)–Who will lead you into all Truth–not man made inventions.

    • Todd says:

      We believers have been cautioned in the Scriptures about saying, “Lord, Lord.” About judging others who do not walk with us, yet do the work of God.

      Fundamental Christianity was a product of the age of reason, and the particularities of 19th century America. Maybe it was inevitable. Perhaps it was even inspired by the Holy Spirit. I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand. We Catholics can learn much from it.

      But it does have problems: selective ignorance of Scripture, too many leaders indulging the cult of personality, too dismissive of the rich prayer traditions of the whole of Christianity. Too many gaps to be the whole answer. Not plugged in fully with Jesus Christ. The sacraments are totally centered on Christ, which I can’t always say is true of the more performance-driven worship of Evangelical Protestants.

  6. Dick Martin says:

    Totally centered on Jesus through the Sacraments. I don’t think so! 1. The word of God ( Jesus) compares the parallels of Old testament’s sacrifice and Jesus’s sacrifice; and the Catholic Mass ;
    Hebrews 10:11-14
    And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. ( Old Testament and the Mass.) Can never take away sin.
    But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,
    from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. ( Jesus offered ONE for sins FOREVER.)
    For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. ( In that He made us PERFECT). Can’t get any better than that. 2. There is nothing in the New testament about Indulgences; 3. about candles,4. incense burning,5. need for a priest as a go-between you and God, The New Testament put a stop to these things. All the Law was fulfilled with Jesus’s death. 5. Purgatory has never existed and does not appear in the New Testament.
    1 Corinthians 3:11-15
    For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
    Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
    each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.
    If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
    If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. This scripture is used by Catholics to prove Purgatory. This is speaking to someone who is building out of different material. When tested by fire ( Persecution for being a Christian) your WORKS will either stand or fall. Then you will receive a reward or a lack of reward. Jesus suffered for your sins; He paid for your admission into Heaven which you could not pay for your self.

  7. Dick Martin says:

    Todd; Three part theory: !st. Thessalonians 5: 23. – Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it These are listed separate and have different meanings .

  8. Dick Martin says:

    When you accept the Free gift of eternal life, not of works so you won’t boast; your Spirit Man who is dead in trespasses and sins becomes alive (sealed) with the Holy Ghost of Promise unto salvation. Born again; Perfect in every way and can’t be reversed . Your soul remains unchanged but it’s necessary to renew your Mind ( our harddrive);, throwing out ( Deleting); what is not of God and renew with God way,s, His thoughts, mature in His Nature. Our Body is to be controlled by our Spirit. To walk in the Spirit not in the flesh. Our flesh walk gains us nothing. Dust to dust.we will live on the New Earth in our immortal bodies after the Resurrection. Hope to meet you there. Dick

  9. Todd says:

    For the Catholic way, works are not an issue. We are saved by the grace of Jesus. The sacraments of our tradition are wholly centered on Christ, a personal depth that suggests all of his earthly ministry: a physical presence (incarnation) as well as his sacrifice (what we refer to as the Paschal Mystery).

    Sometimes, I think our evangelical sisters and brothers over-think some aspects of faith.

  10. Dick Martin says:

    For the Catholic way, Works are not an Issue? The Bible speaks of WORKS as elementary.
    Hebrews 6:1
    Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, In order to go on into maturity you must understand about Works. Repenting of DEAD Works is necessary. What makes your works Dead? If you are not Born Again all the works you do :God does not pay any attention to them. They are Dead . But the exact same Works after you are Born Again are called GOOD Works. God see’s them and it pleases Him. Works are important after your Born Again but has not bearing on you salvation. If you study Hebrews 10:11 it will explain Daily sacrifices vs, One sacrifice forever. Once you receive Jesus’s sacrifice ;He becomes your complete propitiation ( Total Appeasement) for you Sins. Not even the smell of smoke(Sin) is detectable. thus The word purgatory is not in God’s dictionary. Does not exist. Your destiny is either Heaven or Hell. Is this another selective ignorance of scripture? Bad statement on your part.

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