Sunday, May 30th, 2004
Carlos Fuentes in his novel The Campaign writes that God doesn’t need the Church but the Church needs God.
The universe is a big place. It’s so big and mysterious that the human mind perceives just a tad of it, a mere slice. String Theory claims that our senses only experience a few of its surface dimensions, four of them. Our eyes are trained to see colors and sizes so everything becomes color and size. I see what seems large but proportionally what is it? I’ve always liked those small to large video takes, where we see from space and swoop down to the eye of a frog. Proportion. But it’s not just about proportion. Medieval mystics, such as Hadewijch, who wrote about and gave advise on how to live, had their own way of getting close to the mysteries of the world and explaining them.
When I read about Michael Sheridan’s letter in Colorado Springs concerning Catholic politicians and their votes, I have to snicker (recalling Fuentes) at its cynicism, but it’s a snicker that bugs me, because such an action at this time and in this place seems to me small-minded, foolish, mean, and dismissive of a great tradition of human thinkers and dismissive, ultimately, of human proportion. The universe demands big thoughts, big eyes, big leaps, big telescopes, and small gestures that matter because they’re a piece of that thing which in its whole, even in some of its parts, is too grand and wonderous to understand. Consider the size of a nebula or the power of a black hole or the intricacies of a string. Compared to these hate and ignorance are about as insignificant as it gets.
Prayer in its many forms is a small thing, but it’s still a way of speaking to the Nebula and to those places where the lamps are born.