Sunday, December 23, 2012

He shines not on them but from within them

From the NASA Space Advent Calendar which is HERE.

 First prize winner of the 2012 Hubble Hidden Treasures competition, image processing category. Josh Lake (USA) submitted this stunning image of NGC 1763, part of the N11 star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud. ESA/Hubble had previously published an image of an area just adjacent to this, based on observations by the same team. Josh took a different approach, producing a bold two-color image which contrasts the light from glowing hydrogen and nitrogen. The image is not in natural colors -- hydrogen and nitrogen produce almost indistinguishable shades of red light that our eyes would struggle to tell apart -- but Josh's processing separates them out into blue and red, dramatically highlighting the structure of the region. As well as narrowly topping the jury's vote, Josh Lake also won the public vote. 
(NASA/ESA/Josh Lake)

The Sun burns in the sky like the Face of God, but we do not know his countenance as terrible.  His light is diffused in the air and the light of God is diffused by Hagia Sophia.

We do not see the Blinding One in the black emptiness.
He speaks to us gently in ten thousand things,
in which His light is one fullness and one Wisdom.

Thus He shines not on them but from within them.
Such is the loving-kindness of Wisdom.

All the perfections of created things are also in God;
and therefore He is at once Father and Mother.
As Father He stands in solitary might surrounded by darkness.
As Mother His shining is diffused, embracing all His creatures
with merciful tenderness and light.

-Thomas Merton, "Hagia Sophie" III. High Morning. The Hour of Tierce, Collected Poems pp. 366-367 


  1. I was struck by the observation of the French Catholic priest, Abhishiktananda, that when you ask Christian children "where is God?" they point to the sky. When you ask the same question of Hindu children they point to their hearts...

    1. That is interesting, J. Of course, both answers are "correct". This inner/outer thing is so mysterious, it's like we're each and all holograms. I'm also fascinated with the similarities of sub-atomic physics to outer space. Between the smallest particles of matter, there is this immensity of "space". Nothing-ness.


God speaks

God speaks, and God is to be heard, not only on Sinai, not only in my own heart, but in the voice of the stranger. — Thomas Merton, Emble...