Friday, December 7, 2012

... which is night, which is starlight, which is silence ...

From the NASA Space Advent Calendar which is HERE.

The full beauty of the Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543), seen in a detailed view from Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), showing a bull's eye pattern of eleven or even more concentric rings, or shells, around the Cat's Eye. Each 'ring' is actually the edge of a spherical bubble seen projected onto the sky -- that's why it appears bright along its outer edge. Observations suggest the star ejected its mass in a series of pulses at 1,500-year intervals. These convulsions created dust shells, each of which contain as much mass as all of the planets in our solar system combined (still only one percent of the Sun's mass). These concentric shells make a layered, onion-skin structure around the dying star. The view from Hubble is like seeing an onion cut in half, where each skin layer is discernible.
(NASA, ESA, HEIC, and The Hubble Heritage Team, STScI/AURA)
When the angel spoke, God awoke in the heart of this girl of Nazareth and moved within her like a giant. He stirred and opened His eyes and her soul and she saw that, in containing Him, she contained the world besides.
The Annunciation was not so much a vision as an earthquake in which God moved the universe and unsettled the spheres, and the beginning and the end of all things came before her in her deepest heart.
And far beneath the movement of this silent cataclysm Mary slept in the infinite tranquility of God, and God was a child curled up who slept in her and her veins were flooded with His wisdom which is night, which is starlight, which is silence.
And her whole being was embraced in Him whom she embraced and they became tremendous silence.
-- Thomas Merton, The Ascent to Truth (Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1951, p 317)


  1. Such beauty. Such mystery. This reminds me of the opening of Augustine's Confessions where Augustine wonders at the mystery of God dwelling in us in his fullness, yet that same God containing the entire cosmos.

    I usually read your posts without comment, but this one is so beautiful I just had to comment so as to share in such a beautiful wonderous Truth which is beyond comprehension.

  2. Thanks Beth....this one reminded me of Robert Lax poem "Morning"

    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, and 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.

    1. Thanks, Deborah, for the Lax poem. Merton and Lax were on the same wave length!


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