America magazine had an article about the cosmos and recent developments in Cosmology – the study of the universe and world around us. The medium for the study of the universe is the light energy we are able to ‘see’ via the Hubble telescope and X-ray and Radio telescopes and the like. I found it fascinating. If I could sum up the summary of recent discoveries in Cosmology, here is what we know.
The ordinary matter that forms planets, stars and galaxies (as well as humans) cannot account for all the gravitational strength we observe in the heavens. So scientist speak about something they have termed “Dark Matter” which contributes to gravity’s pull. (“Dark” Matter because we can’t ‘see it.) However, here is the interesting piece. The universe continues to expand at an ever increasing rate. If the rate of expansion was constant after the big bang or slowing down because of gravity, that would make sense. But the rate of expansion is increasing. Why? Scientists posit there must be some mysterious force pushing everything apart. Like the dark matter which cannot be seen, that force is now called “Dark Energy”. (An unfortunate name choice, I think) So, put it all together, our universe is composed of 72% Dark Energy, 23% Dark Matter and just 5% “atoms’ – or regular matter.
I found myself fascinated by the so called Dark Energy. Translation: There is an energy field stronger than gravity accelerating the expansion of space. There is something at the heart of this universe, that compromises ¾ of all the ‘STUFF” of the cosmos, that keeps wanting to push outward, to fill the void, to expand the universe, to keep things moving forward. And though I am sure scientist would cringe at my interpretation of that bit of data, what does it do to your prayer if you rename the force – the dark energy that is accelerating the universe – as the “Holy Spirit”? Think about it.
The Spirit is unseen. He is described as the love between Father and Son, the energy that exists as the Father pours himself into the Son and the Son pours himself back into the Father. The same Spirit drove the early disciples out of that upper room where they would have collapsed under their own gravity, and sent them to push the Love of God to all the corners of the known world. The Spirit gave the disciples the energy they would need to Baptize all nations. The Spirit continues to birth the church and inspire men and women, you and I, to expand our love beyond just our little circle of friends and acquaintances – to keep going, to keep filling ALL the places where we go and live with Love.
And then, if you think about how vast this universe is, and what kind of dark energy it takes to accelerate GALAXIES, imagine that same force, given to you at baptism and reinforced at Confirmation also contained in your heart and soul, relentlessly giving you the energy and strength you need to love even more fervently and amazingly.
And if the proportions that fill the known cosmos stay the same on the individual scale as on the cosmic scale –then 72% of who we are, is that Spirit energy, driving us, pushing us, encouraging us. GO, THEREFORE, AND BAPTIZE ALL NATIONS. Go, therefore. GO!
So, the next time you are outside, looking at the cosmos, think of those vast spaces, not empty, but filled – with energy, with unseen matter, – and with GOD’s love and spirit – wanting to set you afire, to push you into all the places where God still needs to be made known…