There’s been a lot said recently about the atomic bomb as we near the 78th anniversary of its detonation. There is a moment in the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the brilliant physicist and leader of the team that developed the atomic bomb, when many years ago as a young teacher and scholar, one of his contemporaries caught him in front of a blackboard, chalk in hand, staring into space and mumbling over and again, “the point is…”.
I think of today of St. Bonaventure, who helped us move the thinking of Philosophy to a deeper, more profound, and beautiful way of understanding of God in Theology, of how we as humans, in our pursuit of science and knowledge, as noble and important as is, we can lose the point of the entire enterprise, and when we do, we can fail, oh, so miserably. In so many ways, we can treat human lives as just figures on a board, not as the creation of a God who has placed each of us here for a holy and beautiful reason.
The pursuit of the secrets of this world and beyond are important and valuable, but a deeper understanding align them properly and help make our world more understandable, clearer, and better. The need will always be there to find a context that allows us not just to search into the “How?” of these things, we can come to a deeper and more profound meaning of the “Why?”- the workings of what is at the very heart of the Divine. This will allow us to open the door to the ethical implications of these important findings- of using not just how to make discover and create new things, but how to develop and use them in ways that make a difference to this earth and her inhabitants.
Einstein said this about God: “I want to know His thoughts; the rest are just details.” He was not a religious man, but he had the point. With all we know, there is so much we don’t – of our world, our universe, but no less, mysteries of our hearts and souls.
A few years ago, someone asked me what the most important thing is I’ve learned as a priest- I answered that as St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Philippians 3:8:
Yes, I will go further: because of the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, I count everything else as loss.
God has given us so much: faith, hope, love, life, this world, family, friends- everything begins and ends with Him.
We are called to be grateful for all He has given us- even the challenges. Apart from Him, we are lost, like that gifted professor, enriched with all this human wisdom, staring blankly at the board, asking that question. Then we return to the true Teacher and listen… and learn.
One of Oppenheimer’s ways of dealing with the extraordinary stress he encountered through his life was his love of poetry. When I reflect on what Christ calls us to in this world where things change and fall over and again, these lyrics come to my mind:
Everybody says love makes the world go round…
I hear a bubbling and I hear a sound of my heart beating
and I turn around and find you standing at the door.
You know me, I like to dream a lot… of this and that, and what is not…
and finally I figured out what was what… It was the power of the heart.
Search for the “How” in the mysteries- just keep asking “Why?” The answers will lead you to Christ. This world will change- The heart of Christ’s love remains- let’s find our joy and hope in Him.
Look up. Look ahead.
“The Power of the Heart” was written by Lou Reed
~ Fr. John Sheridan
PRAYER FOR THE THIRD WORLD DAY FOR GRANDPARENTS AND THE ELDERLY 2023
Mother of faith and hope,
an example for this humanity bent by indifference,
make me as willing as You
to accept the will of God,
to magnify and praise His Mercy.
Mary, Mother of fortitude,
you who knows my heart,
do not allow me to become discouraged.
I confidently surrender my life into your hands.
Heal my wounds.
May your tenderness accompany me on the way.
Your presence, Mother of love,
brings us to experience the joy
of seeing our families united.
Help me to transmit the tenderness and Love of God
to the grandchildren and youth
so that, in addition to praying for them,
we can pray with them.
Mary, may the gift of the Holy Spirit intercede for me:
sustain my weakness;
breathe into my heart the consolation
that I may leave traces of faith among the young,
bearing witness to the beauty of life,
knowing that life has a limit
and that beyond it lies before us our Father’s embrace.
Dicastery for Laity, Family & Life—USCCB web site