Tag Archives: Milky Way

Sunday Devotional: Being Thankful

Psalm 92:2-6

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praise to Your name, Most High,
To proclaim Your love at daybreak,
Your faithfulness in the night,
With the ten-stringed harp,
with melody upon the lyre.
For you make me jubilant, Lord, by Your deeds;
at the works of Your hands I shout for joy.
How great are Your works, Lord!
How profound Your designs!

Milky Way

Milky Way

Study after study find that gratitude, not money, is the key to being happy. Happy people tend to:

  • express gratitude on a regular basis;
  • practice being optimistic;
  • engage in frequent acts of kindness;
  • savor joyful events; and
  • practice forgiveness.

Just remember: Whatever we have — our body and mind, talents and skills, family and friends, and life itself — are all wholly and entirely gratuitous (unearned) gifts from the Creator.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice always.
Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
 

Blue Tit-Blaumeise3

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

~Éowyn

Creation: Earth in the unimaginably vast Universe

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” -Psalm 19:1

Do you want to see how our Earth, that tiny blue marble in the solar system, compares to other bodies in the Universe?

Here are some visual aids (Source: BabaMail):

1234567891011121314151617181920212223242526272816

Try to imagine the truly awesome, mind-boggling Being who created all this — this unimaginably vast Universe that our puny human pea-brain can’t even begin to grasp or comprehend.

It is said that when St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), the towering intellect and theologian, was near death, he was given a glimpse of the Godhead. Humbled and awed, he whispered, referring to all of the many and brilliant works he had written in his lifetime: “All is straw.”

No wonder our Lord Jesus the Christ, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead who humbled Himself by incarnating as vulnerable body and flesh, instructed us that:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:16)

H/t FOTM’s Catherine

~Eowyn

Sunday Devotional: Light of the World

jesus-christ-crucification-crossJohn 8:12

I am the light of the world,
says the Lord;
whoever follows me
will have the light of life.

Milky Way from Yellowstone Natl ParkThe Milky Way, as seen from Yellowstone National Park

Ephesians 5:8-14

Brothers and sisters:
You were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light,
for light produces every kind
of goodness and righteousness and truth.
Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness;
rather expose them,
for it is shameful even to mention things done by them in secret;
but everything exposed by the light becomes visible,
for everything that becomes visible is light.
Therefore, it says:
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”

~Eowyn

Creation: The Milky Way

Mark Gee is the winner of the Earth & Space category and the overall winner of Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013.

This is his breathtaking winning photo — of the Milky Way, taken from Cape Palliser, New Zealand.

Click pic to enlarge. You must! :)

The Milky Way from New Zealand Source: The Guardian

H/t FOTM’s Joseph

~Eowyn

Creation sings of the Living God

Milky WayThe Milky Way (click to enlarge – you simply must!)

The Evidential Power of Beauty

by Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.June 25, 2013

“Beauty is the battlefield where God and Satan contend for the hearts of men.”– Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

“Late have I loved thee, Beauty so old and so new; late have I loved thee. Lo, you were within, but I was outside, seeking there for you, and upon the shapely things you have made I rushed headlong — I, misshapen. You were with me, but I was not with you. They held me back far from you, those things which would have no being, were they not in you.” – Augustine, The Confessions

A friend once told me the story of how she first met God. She doesn’t remember her age; it must have been about 4 or 5. Her family lived in the countryside on the rim of one of our big eastern cities. And one June evening, cloudless, moonless, with just the hint of a humid breeze, her father took her out into the back yard in the dark and told her to look up at the sky. From one horizon to the other, all across the black carpet of the night, were the stars — thousands of them, tens of thousands, in clusters and rivers of light. And in the quiet, her father said, “God made the world beautiful because he loves us.”

That was more than 50 years ago. My friend grew up and learned all about entropy and supernovae and colliding galaxies and quantum mechanics and the general theory of relativity. But still, when she closes her eyes, she can see that carpet of stars and hear her father’s voice. God made the world beautiful because he loves us.

Creation is more than an accident of dead matter. It’s a romance. It has purpose. It sings of the Living God. It bears his signature.

The story of my friend offers several lessons we might consider this week as summer begins and life starts to briefly slow down.

First, the most powerful kind of witness doesn’t come from a classroom or pulpit. It doesn’t need an academic degree or special techniques. Instead, it grows naturally out of the lives of ordinary people–parents and spouses and friends; people confident in the love that God bears for them and eager to share it with others; people who know the world not as a collection of confused facts but as a symphony of truth and meaning.

Second, nature is sacramental. It points to things outside itself. God speaks and creation sings in silence. We can’t hear either if we’re cocooned in a web of manufactured distraction, anxiety and noise. We can’t see the heavens if our faces are buried in technologies that turn us inward on ourselves. Yet that’s exactly what modern American life seems to promote: a restless and relentless material appetite for “more,” that gradually feeds selfishness and separates each of us from everyone else.

Third and finally, every experience of real beauty leads us closer to three key virtues: humility, because the grandeur of creation invites awe and lifts us outside ourselves; love, because the human heart was made for glory and joy, and only the Author of life can satisfy its longings; and hope, because no sadness, no despair, can ultimately survive the evidence of divine meaning that beauty provides. If the world we see taking shape around us today in the name of a false freedom often seems filled with cynicism, ugliness, little blasphemies and sadness, we need to ask why. And then we need to turn our hearts again to the God of beauty – Augustine’s “Beauty so old and so new” — who created us, who sings his longing for us in the grandeur of the world he made, and who renews our souls.

God lives in the summer rain, the stars in the night sky, the wind in the leaves of the trees. He speaks to us through a creation alive with his love. We need to be silent, and watch and listen. And then we need to join in nature’s symphony of praise.

This article was originally published at http://archphila.org

peach roses3From Eowyn’s garden – after a summer rain, 2013.

~Eowyn

Creation: Largest structure in Universe

“Praise you the Lord:
for it is good to sing praises unto our God…
He determines the number of the stars;
he calls them all by their names.
Great is our Lord, and of great power:
His understanding is infinite.” -Psalm 147:1-5

Milky WayMilky Way

A light-year is a unit of length equivalent to about 6 trillion miles (or 10 trillion kilometres). As defined by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), a light-year is the distance that light travels in a vacuum in one Julian year.

The light-year is mostly used to measure distances to stars and other distances on a galactic scale. Note that the light-year is a measure of distance rather than, as is sometimes misunderstood, a measure of time.

Imagine the distance of 4 BILLION light years.

That’s the length of a recently-discovered largest structure in our Universe.

Large Quasar Group

Agence France-Presse reports that on Jan. 11, 2013, astronomers said they had observed the largest structure yet seen in the cosmos, a cluster of galaxies from the early Universe that spans an astonishing four billion light years.

The sprawling structure is known as a large quasar group (LQG), in which quasars — the nuclei of ancient galaxies, powered by supermassive black holes — clump together.

From Wikipedia, here’s an artist’s rendering of ULAS J1120+0641, a very distant quasar powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun.

Artist's_rendering_ULAS_J1120+0641Photo credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

The discovery in the deep Universe was made by a team led by Roger Clowes at the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute at Britain’s University of Central Lancashire.

It would take a spaceship traveling at the speed of light four thousand million years to get from one end of the cluster to the other.

To give a sense of scale, our galaxy (the Milky Way) is separated from its nearest neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, by two and a half million light years.

Clowes said in a press statement issued by Britain’s Royal Astronomical Society (RAS): “While it is difficult to fathom the scale of this LQG, we can say quite definitely it is the largest structure ever seen in the entire Universe. This is hugely exciting, not least because it runs counter to our current understanding of the scale of the Universe.”

The paper appears in a RAS journal, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

~Eowyn

Creation: Phoenix galaxy

“Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.” -Isaiah 40:26

“Phoenix” galaxy

A newly discovered, yet unnamed star system, nicknamed Phoenix, is believed to be the largest galaxy in the Universe.

The AP reports, August 15, 2012, that astronomers spotted the galaxy, using NASA’s Chandra X-Ray telescope. They published their findings in an article in the journal Nature, coauthored by MIT’s Michael McDonald and Harvard University’s Ryan Foley:

  • The Phoenix galaxy produces 740 new stars each year, and more new stars a day than our Milky Way spawns in a year.
  • It is about 5.7 billion light years away from Earth.
  • The Phoenix galaxy is in the center of a cluster of galaxies that give off the brightest X-ray glow astronomers have ever seen.
  • One strange thing is that the galaxy, although it is quite mature at about 6 billion years old, doesn’t behave like a mature galaxy. McDonald explains that mature galaxies usually are “red and dead” because “they don’t do anything new.” But the Phoenix galaxy “seems to have come back to life for some reason,” which is why the team of 85 astronomers nicknamed it “phoenix,” after the mythological bird that rises from its ashes.

“Our” Milky Way galaxy

~Eowyn