Thursday, December 13, 2012

silence that is a fount of action and joy

From the NASA Space Advent Calendar which is HERE.

 A nearly perfect ring of hot, blue stars pinwheels about the yellow nucleus of an unusual galaxy known as Hoag's Object. This image captures a face-on view of the galaxy's ring of stars, revealing more detail than any existing photo of this object. The entire galaxy is about 120,000 light-years wide, which is slightly larger than our Milky Way Galaxy. The blue ring, which is dominated by clusters of young, massive stars, contrasts sharply with the yellow nucleus of mostly older stars. What appears to be a "gap" separating the two stellar populations may actually contain some star clusters that are almost too faint to see. Curiously, an object that bears an uncanny resemblance to Hoag's Object can be seen in the gap at the one o'clock position. The object is probably a background ring galaxy. 
(NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team, STScI/AURA)

There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity,
a dimmed light,
a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness.
This mysterious Unity and Integrity is
Wisdom, the Mother of all,  Natura naturans.

There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity,
a silence that is a fount of action and joy,
It rises up in wordless gentleness and flows out to me
from the unseen roots of all created being,
welcoming me tenderly,
saluting me with indescribable humility.

This is at once my own being, my own nature,
and the Gift of my Creator's Thought and Art within me,
speaking as Hagia Sophia,
speaking as my sister, Wisdom. 

- Thomas Merton, Hagia Sophia, Dawn. The Hour of Lauds, Collected Poems, p. 361

I also want to add this Lax poem from "Circus of the Sun" here:

In the beginning (in the beginning of time to say
the least) there were the compasses: whirling
in void their feet traced out beginnings and endings,
beginning and end in a single line.  Wisdom danced
also in circles for these were her kingdom: the sun
spun, worlds whirled, the seasons came round, and
all things went their rounds: but in the beginning,
beginning and end were in one.

And in the beginning was love.  Love made a sphere:
all things grew within it; the sphere then encompassed
beginnings and endings, beginning and end.  Love
had a compass whose whirling dance traced out a
sphere of love in the void: in the center thereof
rose a fountain.

- Robert Lax, "The Circus of the Sun - morning" 


  1. I cannot tell you how much I am relishing your pairing of these NASA photos with Merton's poetry! Sheer beauty! They would make a lovely book.

    1. Thanks Barbara! That means a lot to me.

    2. Barbara is right, it would make a wonderful book...
      You are creating an amazing fusion of astronomical science, image, poetry and theology.
      I think perhaps I should have mentioned Thomas Merton in that list!