Do any of you readers know Arthur C. Clarke’s short story “The Star”? A Jesuit priest is troubled by the discovery that the Star of Bethlehem was a supernova that destroyed a civilization. He asks his God:
… there were so many stars you could have used. What was the need to give these people to the fire, that the symbol of their passing might shine above Bethlehem?
One Ignatian impulse is gratitude. We might give thanks for the Star of Bethlehem. And certainly we should be grateful for the incarnation it heralded.
Another impulse is compassion. Sometimes, as Atheist Max is ready to tell us, compassion seems to conflict with the notion of a loving God. Sometimes, it is fitting to shed tears for an event that involved suffering, even if good came out of it in the end. And sometimes, we just feel the compassion and shed the tears anyway.
The image is of a 1994 supernova near the galaxy NGC 4526; credit here.