Saturday, November 1st, 2008
Yesterday Pope Benedict XVI addressed the members of the Pontifical Academy of Science as they gathered in Rome for their plenary session and an international conference entitled “Scientific Insight into the Evolution of the Universe and of Life.” Among those attending the Pope’s audience was the world-famous mathematician and physicist Stephen Hawking (pictured above). What catches our eye is that, in his address, the Holy Father drew on the doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas to outline an understanding of creation that underscores God’s continued relationship with created being.
The whole text is worth reading, of course, but it’s nice to see Aquinas here still going to bat for the Church and her teaching.
To state that the foundation of the cosmos and its developments is the provident wisdom of the Creator is not to say that creation has only to do with the beginning of the history of the world and of life. It implies, rather, that the Creator founds these developments and supports them, underpins them and sustains them continuously. Thomas Aquinas taught that the notion of creation must transcend the horizontal origin of the unfolding of events, which is history, and consequently all our purely naturalistic ways of thinking and speaking about the evolution of the world. Thomas observed that creation is neither a movement nor a mutation. It is instead the foundational and continuing relationship that links the creature to the Creator, for he is the cause of every being and all becoming (cf. Summa Theologiae, I, q.45, a. 3).
The proceedings of the conference will certainly provide excellent prep for our upcoming St. Albert’s Day Lecture.
Let us all rejoice in the Lord and keep a festival in honor of all the saints.
Let us join with the angels in joyful praise to the Son of God.
When pondering the mystery of today’s feast, St. Bernard of Clairvaux asked himself a classic question, and in the movements of his soul he discovered the classic answer. From the second lesson of today’s Office of Readings:
Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this feasday mean anything to the saints? What do they care about earthly honors when their heavenly Father honors them by fulfilling the faithful promise of the Son? What does our commendation mean to them? The saints have no need of honor from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning.
Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. Wee long to share in the citizenship of heaven, to dwell with the spirits of the blessed, to join the assembly of patriarchs, the ranks of the prophets, the council of apostles, the great host of martyrs, the noble company of confessors and the choir of virgins. In short, we long to be united in happiness with all the saints. But our dispositions change. The Church of all the first followers of Christ awaits us, but we do nothing about it. The saints want us to be with them, and we are indifferent. The souls of the just await us, and we ignore them.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
O Christ, hear us.
O Christ, graciously hear us.
O God the Father of heaven. Have mercy upon us.
O God the Son, Redeemer of the world.
O God the Holy Ghost.
O Holy Trinity, one God.
Holy Mary. Pray for us.
Holy Mother of God.
Holy Virgin of virgins.