There is a design of the world that is born from … the Spirit Creator. Believing that this is at the basis of all things, illuminates every aspect of life and gives us the courage to face the adventure of life with confidence and hope. —Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
We are not here by accident! A mysterious Love has created a universe where human beings can rejoice and celebrate the divine imagination. And what wonders of love and imagination our God has. We know very little of the depths of the Trinity’s divine plan. But the little that we do know is mind-blowing!
It begins approximately 14.7 billion years ago with the Big Bang, a massive explosion that produced our rapidly expanding universe. After about a billion years of expanding and cooling, galaxies began to form, eventually numbering in the billions, each with hundreds of millions of stars. About 4.6 billion years ago, an explosion of a great star in the Milky Way galaxy produced our solar system, which includes our planet, Earth. It took billions of years for life to develop on our Earth, and we can trace back our human ancestors one and a half million years.
It takes effort to even imagine such an immense, spatial-temporal universe. The Earth’s place in our galaxy is like a grain of sand in an area the size of Australia. If the history of humans on earth is fitted into a one-year period, the birth of Jesus occurs on 31 December at noon. Even limited attempts to reflect on the immensity of the universe, therefore, can foster in us disciples a deeper sense of awe and wonder before the One who created and sustains it.
One theologian has suggested we should simply take a good look at our hand, while reminding ourselves that it is the product of a 14 billion-year evolutionary process! We are stardust that has become conscious.
All of creation and God’s ‘evolutionary’ plan of salvation reaches its ultimate climax in the Incarnation. The Word made flesh reveals it is not just some massive mystery far away in the darkness of outer space. No, it is close by, in a tiny Jewish baby. The Spirit that guides creation overshadowed Mary of Nazareth and she conceived this baby. The divine presence that continually transforms chaos into order achieved its purpose despite a Roman census and crowded inn. The infant in the manger grown to adulthood is the fullness of humanity. The multitude of angels suggests that this birth has cosmic significance. The outcast shepherds remind us that divine love embraces all the members of the human family, including those on the margins.
Which should lead us to conclude: if the creation and incarnation are so wonderful, just imagine how much more wonderful our Trinitarian God is! We Catholics join with the early Christians and cry out: ‘Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!’ The past is prologue. The best is yet to come! No wonder the saints cannot wait to encounter the Trinity fully, the maker of heaven and earth.
This article is part of a series of reflections entitled ‘I Believe…Help My Unbelief’: Meditations on the Creed by Br Mark O’Connor FMS.
Br Mark O’Connor FMS is the Vicar for Communications in the Diocese of Parramatta.