Looking to the Heavens

Since I was a child, I've always enjoyed watching the night sky. I can vividly remember watching my first meteor shower, my first falling star, and lunar eclipse. These were wonderful and almost magical experiences that opened me to something much greater and grander than anything else I'd know.  

Astronomy has always piqued my interest of the sciences, the unknown, creation, and God.  I've enjoyed reading and learning about their intersections and complementarity.   I've particularly enjoyed reading posts from The Catholic Astronomer - The Vatican Observatory Foundation Blog (http://www.vofoundation.org/blog/) and ruminating on those ideas and events.

It's this interest, curiosity, and passion of a star-gazing amateur that led me to write a community session for high school youth to explore the night sky entitled Look to the Heavens: A Catholic Star Gazing Party for this season of Youth Ministry Access (www.YouthMinistryAccess.org). It's a session ideal for the upcoming Perseid meteor shower (one of the brighter meteor showers of the year). This meteor shower tends to peak around August 9-13.

In preparing for this season, I found a wonderful YouTube video called The Hubble Ultra Deep Field in 3D that I think helps develop the gifts of wonder and awe. It's a well made video that stirs my prayer life and childhood memories altogether.  The video is a narration accounting a brief history of the Hubble Space telescope.

I shared my ideas for this high school youth session with a good friend who is also a mom of two little ones. She's a long time family friend and someone I can count on for honest feedback.  After reviewing my ideas, she called me with wonderful insight and a surprisingly profound experience of prayer.

In watching the video, she discerned God was affirming that He sees all she does even when some people think not much maybe happening. She felt comforted and encouraged that God does in fact notice the challenging and loving work of a stay-at-home mom. It was something she knew all too well but had somehow forgotten in the busyness of daily life.

Her experience is something that comes to mind when I look up at the night sky.  It reminds me of how grand yet personal God is in our lives.

This summer, don't miss the opportunity for personal prayer with the beautiful night sky.  Also, consider hosting a star party with your young people to have them contemplate all the wonders that linger above our heads each day and night. 

What does the night sky mean for you?  What memories do you have of lunar eclipses or meteor showers?  What do they communicate to you about God?