The feast of the Epiphany is
a good time for us to stop and reflect on another wonderful “power of the
universe” on which we pondered during our summer retreat: radiance. Radiance is an ever-present manifestation
of the Creator in the cosmos. Everything in the universe is
radiant, giving off rays at all times though we may not detect
them. Even at the depth of the
earth, everything radiates. Radiance
is the way the universe communicates with itself. It is what makes things happen.
In the SUN we find the model
of the interactions taking place throughout the universe, from within the
tiniest particles to the largest galaxies. The sun radiates at two levels. At its core it compresses hydrogen into
helium and as it does enormous energy is emitted as light. Light did not exist
in the Universe until it was created by such reactions. Light at first leaves the sun as waves,
which collapse into particles, into photons. In this way light is transmitted
to the surface of the Earth. This is what enables us to see. The sun gives off a second
form of radiation known as gravitons, which penetrate into the depth of the
Earth, setting up a reaction there. This in turn causes the attraction between
the Earth and the Sun.
The MOON does not simply reflect
the light of the sun. The photons that reach the moon from the sun interact
with the surface of the moon and the moon creates its own photons that in turn
reach us as moonlight. The moon also bathes the earth with gravitons and the
earth responds through the movement of the tides. Something is actively going on when the moon shines!
HUMAN beings also radiate. Consider what one glance can do, what profound effects it can have. Our perception also can be seen as having two levels: surface level and depth level. The surface level sees what is immediately presented. In our industrial society we have become accustomed to seeing things at this level. We take the part for the whole. Generally we have sliced off depth perception. Yet think of the peace that can envelop us when we gaze at the ocean or the night sky or a person we love. It is the poets, artists, musicians and mystics among us who see beyond the surface while those who make decisions in our society, including faith groups, do not often hear their voices. We are being addressed; we are being spoken to, by the voices in the universe. It is an encounter with radiance. In this resonance and reverberation, we find our true identity; we wake up to who we are. Resonance is the primary form of prayer of the universe. Deep seeing is natural to us. It only requires contemplation. We only need to take time to be alone, to be with ourselves, to be with other beings.
Saint Francis: When
reflecting on Radiance we spent the day with St Francis of Assisi, the saint
for whom the whole world was radiant. “What can I say about fire? The words that poured from it were never ending. There was
nothing I could not see in it as I gazed at it in the darkness of night, dark
as faith is dark in the moment before the radiance of dawn. It was sweet to me
to pray, with fire: “all praise be yours, my Lord, for Brother Fire, through
whom you brighten the night. How beautiful he is, how happy robust and strong.”
Scripture: “When Moses came down from the mountain, he was not aware that the skin of his face was radiant having been speaking with God” (Ex.34: 29). “Jesus appearance was changed before them. His Face shone like the sun and his clothes became bright as light.”(Matt 17:2)
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