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God And Black Holes

God And Black Holes

Dear Friends,

This past week, an important confirmation of Einstein's theory of General Relativity was confirmed, namely the existence of gravity waves. It was done by using special instruments on Earth to detect the colliding and merging of two black holes. The moment of their collision was detected as a chirp on a recording.  This event, scientists are saying, caused a ripple in space-time that was 50 times greater than the output of all the stars in the universe combined!  That, my friends, is a big deal. Some are calling this the greatest breakthrough in physics since Galileo pointed his telescope into the sky

Previously, all astronomy has been done using instruments that could detect electromagnetic energy, specifically those things that luminesce or light up the sky such that telescopes could see them.  What we have not been able to see are objects that do not luminesce and are dark.  But, with new instruments that can detect a different signature, gravity, potentially new telescopes will be able to see these hidden things as well as "see" deeper and therefore longer ago in the universe.

Once again, the heavens proclaim the glory of God! Who knows what amazing things we will discover with such a confirmation and instruments sensitive enough to detect this distant objects.  I just reminds me of how small we are, how amazing it is that we can create such technology, how massive our universe is, and how amazing it is that God created it all for us to discover. I give praise to God for giving us minds to think and abilities to create such technology. Hopefully soon we will be able to discover things we never knew about our place in the Cosmos. Knowing about our universe helps us know more about God, for all that God has created says something about him.  In addition, knowing more about our universe helps us understand our place in it, how relatively tiny we are and how radical God's love is that he would place us in the universe .  It continues to demonstrate that God doesn't just love the big  and flashing things he made, but also us, his small and tiny persons which he endowed with reason and the freedom discover the place in which we live.  It also reminds me how awesome and great heaven must be if this existence as we are coming to know it is already amazingly beautiful and deep with mystery.  

Here is a video that explains this discovery in simple words...

Tragedy, Grief, And The Lord

Dear Parishioners,

The past several weeks we have experienced more than our share of tragedies and funerals in our faith communities.  It is in these times that sorrow befalls upon us and tempts us to despair and hopelessness. But, do not give in to this darkness.  Let the light of Christ pierce the darkness with a light of hope that only God can give!   Know with the fullness of your being that God is at work, and his divine power and genius is more than capable of turning darkness and tragedy into light and triumph!

I am reminded of one of my favorite Scripture verses which is constantly opened to in my office.  The verses come from the Book of Lamentations and are the words of a faithful, yet suffering individual.  The whole book is one big lament, yet almost exactly in the middle of the short book, a piercing ray of hope is uttered about the truth of God:

"My life is deprived of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is; My enduring hope, I said, has perished before the Lord...
But this I will call to mind; therefore I will hope:
The Lord ’s acts of mercy are not exhausted, his compassion is not spent; They are renewed each morning—great is your faithfulness!
"The Lord is my portion, I tell myself, therefore I will hope in him.
The Lord is good to those who trust in him, to the one that seeks him;
It is good to hope in silence for the Lord ’s deliverance.
(Lam 3:17, 21-26)

Yes!  The mercies of the Lord are not exhausted by the grief and sadness that befalls us.  The word "mercy" translated in the New American Bible comes from the Hebrew word, Hesed which signifies an unchanging, constant devotion, a loving kindness that forgives with a divine mercy.  Even when one our youngest members tragically dies in an accident, as happened this past week, God is active, alive, and ready to catch us when we fall.  

It is for these things and more that our Lord suffered so much.  It is for these things that Jesus desired to die so that we would not have to die eternally.  Our God is mighty to save and full of compassion.  So, do not be afraid when tragedy strikes, when loss is so great that you do not know what to do.  Simply lean on our Lord.  Shout out to him who listens with perfect understanding. Share the entirety of your grief.  Even your anger... let him know of it.  Just remember, he loves you.  He suffers with you.  You don't need to be anything other than yourself when you approach him.  You don't have to have the "right " words.  Just give him your broken heart.  And by his amazing grace, he will triumph over the darkness so that you can rejoice with him.  

So, let God sit with you in your grief.  Let him turn your sadness into joy.  Listen to the Lord while he speaks his words of love to you. Yes, he loves you even when you are lost.  Let him be your way, truth, and life.  May all glory and praise be to our God who is our Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!


Fr. William Holtzinger

Rejoicing Amidst Tragedy

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! ...Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” - Phil. 4:4-7

At this time of the liturgical season, we are being encouraged to set our hearts on the joy that comes from God. Yet, joy and rejoicing may very well be the last thing on some of our minds. The stress. The politics. Personal losses. Financial stresses. Family drama. The loss of a beloved friend or spouse. And more poignantly, the news of tragedy of the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Netown, CT. How can we possibly rejoice? How can we possibly be free of anxiety when some of us are, honestly, full of these things?

In one sense, I have no complete answer. But, with God in our lives, all things are possible. So, therein lies what I know. It’s not about an intellectual thing. It’s not about being able to solve all the problems. Rather, it is about being in right relationship with our Lord Jesus.

You see, he came knowing that we are a deeply troubled people. Our Father in heaven is not ambivelant or ambiguous about these horrible problems in our world. He wants to be our Shepherd through the thickets of our life. He wants to be the healing for those who are brokenhearted.

He will guard your hearts and minds (cf. Phil. 4:7). He will pour grace upon you if you just ask. Yet, sometimes we simply don’t ask. Often we fear letting go and letting God harvest us and bring us to himself. I wonder if we fear that we will be treated like the chaff which is burned in the unquenchable fire (cf. Lk. 3:17) because we feel our sins or pains are too great or that our Father is some kind of angry God. It is true that sins keep us away. It is true that our suffering is a temptation to walk away from God. But, do not fear! Love, and love will be returned. Let yourself go into the loving arms of our God who knows the fullness of our ills and pains. He desires to heal us. He was with each of those children and teachers at their moment of need, and he is active even now in their eternal destiny. God is not deterred by the evil of our world. He is not thwarted by such evil schemes. Yet, we all suffer when even one of us are harmed (cf. 1. Cor. 12:25-26). Our Lord Jesus has also suffered and can certainly sympathyze with us (cf. Peter 2:21).

I cannot fully explain the "why's" of the tragedies of life and especially the horrible events this past week in Newtown, CT. There is no way for us to heal ourselves completely of our pains. God, too, is saddened by these things. Yet, it is our faith that gives us the perspective of God’s providence and his desire to make all things new (cf. Rev. 21:5). The record of God’s mercy in the Bible is very clear. He has righted many wrongs, and he will continue doing so until the final day when his son comes again, and all will be made right in the justice of God. On that day, God will wipe away the tears from our eyes. On that day, we will be able to be glad and exult with all our hearts, for the Lord will have removed the judgement against us, turned away our enemies, and will have no more misfortunes to fear (cf. Zeph. 3: 17).

"Merciful Lord, turn toward us and listen to our prayers: open the gates of paradise to your servants and help us all who remain to comfort one another with the assurances of faith until we all meet in Christ and are with our brothers and sister for ever" (§175 Prayer of Commendation from the Order of Christian Funerals).

And so, we give you thanks for giving us these little ones and adults whose lives and deaths have caused us to pause.  Thank you for the joy and love which they brought to the world.  We praise you for you are great and have conquered death.  We ask you to take these beloved souls to you where they may also rejoice in your mercy for all eternity.

So, rejoice in the Lord who heals the broken hearted. I say again, Rejoice!


Fr. William Holtzinger