Skip to comments.Wonder and Awe File: On the Magnificence and “Minificence” of Creation
Posted on 06/11/2014 12:30:32 AM PDT by markomalley
I know, I made the word up: minificence. Ill define in a moment. But I want to ponder with you for a moment the awesome mystery of size and numbers as we look out and as we look in.
Outer Space: As we look out on to Gods Universe we cannot even fathom how huge, how magnificent, is the size of the universe. We cannot comprehend such size. If we were to make a scale model of the Milky Way Galaxy and reduce each star to the size of a grain of sugar, it would two thousand miles wide and a thousand miles high. And thats just one Galaxy, and there are billions of galaxies in the universe which is expanding rapidly outward. Even the nearest star is over 25 thousand billion miles away.
And we are whirling around and outward! The earth revolves at 1000 miles per hour (at the equator) even as the earth itself moves at 66,000 miles per hour around the sun. But sun is also rotating around the center of the milky way Galaxy at 483,000 miles per hour. And the Milky way galaxy is also flying outward and away (according to doppler shift) at 1.3 million miles per hour.
Inner Space: But what is equally amazing is how vast a universe exists, hid from our unaided eyes, in what we might call inner space, that tiny, almost invisible world of microbiology. In just a drop of pond water may exist hundreds of thousands of bacteria and microorganisms, a veritable universe unto itself. Indeed, in every human body exists trillions of microorganisms in a kind of microbial fauna. Eighty different types of microorganisms live in the mouth alone. Every square centimeter of human bowel contains as many as ten billion organisms. Every square centimeter of skin contains 10 million individual bacteria. Even on our eyelashes are colonies of helpful bacteria and microorganisms that help keep harmful bacteria away. These massively numbered civilizations, universes really, of microorganisms, are only known recently with the invention of powerful microscopes. And to the micro-world of microorganisms, our bodies must seem as massive as the universe of outer space seems to us. If a microorganism could think, it would look upon our mere tiny bodies as a vast universe to large to really comprehend. Instead of trillions of stars, there are trillions of microorganisms. And to a microbe on eyelash, a bacteria on the toe exists millions of light years away.
Minificence and Magnificence! If outer space is magnificent (from the Latin magnus meaning large or great) then inner space is (according to me) minificent (from the Latin minimus meaning small or tiny). The abundance of life in these small worlds is unimaginable. To the microorganisms which accompany me I am a universe too vast to comprehend. But I am but one man and there are over six billion human beings on this planet. And I, even we collectively, am not large at all. I am an infinitesimally small speck, on a slightly larger but still tiny speck of dust rotating around a fiery spark called the sun in a galaxy of over 200 billion other fiery sparks (or stars). And this is just one galaxy and there are over 125 billion other galaxies in the known universe so large that it would take over 100 million light years to cross it.
Time for wonder and awe! Weve moved from inner space to outer space in a matter of moments but we really cannot comprehend numbers like these. Its time for wonder and awe. God does all this with a simple word, and it is so. He knows the depths of our souls, the tiniest forms of life that cling to us. Every hair of our head is numbered and known to him. He knows the farthest fringes of the universe. He made the stars and calls them by name. Ah the Lord:
He who dismisses the light, and it departs, calls it, and it obeys him trembling; Before whom the stars at their posts shine and rejoice; When he calls them, they answer, Here we are! shining with joy for their Maker. (Baruch 3:33-35).
One of the great hymns says: O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder; Consider all the works Thy hands have made. I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed. Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee; How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Do not forget to meditate on Gods wonders. It is a great antidote to pride. God has done unspeakable and marvelous things. And more is unseen than seen.
The book of Sirach says: Beyond these, many things lie hid; only a few of his works have we seen. (Sirach 43:34)
Msgr Pope ping
The idea that the knowledge of man can come close to embracing all the wisdom of God is a hard one to release, but release it we must.
I’m doing a Consoling the Heart of Jesus retreat and this week we’re learning about St. Therese and Her Little Way. This is helpful.
My daughter went through Seton Home School. They put confirmation names on their diplomas. They said that half the girls, like my daughter, chose Therese, after the Little Flower. She seems to be the saint for our times.