It was time for my morning prayer ritual. I stepped onto the back deck of my mountain home at 3am for my hot tub rendezvous with God. The frigid air smacked my skin. Its sting was amplified by the 30 mile per hour wind. With haste, I removed the cover. In an instant, I was engulfed in the 104-degree water. The crisp winter air allowed the brilliant light of Ursa Major to pierce the night sky. This distant constellation formed God’s heavenly question mark. There I pondered life’s big questions. Click below to discover more.
For over 20 years, I have been enjoying my early morning hot tub prayer time with God. Year round, whether hot and muggy or cold and freezing; whether on crystal clear nights, or rainy or snowy mornings; some time between 2 and 5am I venture into the dark solitude to chat with God. I pray out loud because it seems as if God and I are the only two awake at that hour. Many 4th Day Letters, like this one, were inspired during these warm aquatic retreats.
As I said, from my vantage point the Ursa Major constellation appeared as a large question mark in the sky. On this dark, frigid, moonless night, these stars appeared brighter than usual. They beckoned me to reflect on the four mysteries that mankind has been preoccupied with since the dawn of creation.
Who am I?
Where did I come from?
What is my purpose?
Where am I going?
Our Christian sensibilities tell us that we were created by God. We are unique from all other creatures in that we were created with a soul, and we were created in God’s image. We believe that God made us to know, love and serve Him in this life and we believe we are destined to be with Him forever in the next life.
Not everyone shares these beliefs. Some believe that the existence of the world and everything in it, including mankind, are a result of accidental random mutation and chance. Studies show that more and more people today believe that science and religion are in conflict.
In his homily on Epiphany Sunday, Bishop Robert Barron pointed out that the appearance of the Magi, at the birth of the Christ-child, brought science and faith together. He pointed to the prevailing theological belief that the Magi were from the Chaldean culture and likely very wise men with a deep understanding of astrology and astronomy. In other words, they were the scientists of their time. He made the case that science is the process of looking for intelligence in intelligibility. Said differently, it is the process of looking for order in chaos.
Science uses logic and reasoning to discover patterns in nature. If there were no discernable patterns, science could not exist. There would be no purpose in studying an un-patterned world. The Magi’s knowledge of the patterns in the night sky allowed them to spot a unique star, and that star led them to Jesus. Science pointed them to God.
Barron continued by expounding on John’s Gospel 1:1. There it states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In Christology, “Logos” is another name or title of Jesus Christ. By substituting Logos for Word, this passage would state, “In the beginning was Logos, and Logos was with God, and Logos was God.” From logos we get the word logic. Therefore, logic and reasoning are attributes of God Himself. As a result, science and faith are not in conflict, quite the opposite, science, logic, and reasoning will inevitably lead back to the creator.
In his encyclical, “Fides et Ratio” Pope John Paul II states, “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.”
Okay, enough of the deep heavy stuff, let’s jump back into the hot tub. There I was staring up into the sky, reflecting on life’s four big questions. While contemplating these mysteries, suddenly two things happened. A shooting star blazed across the darkness and moments later the strong cold wind blew in some clouds temporarily obscuring my view of Ursa Major. My thoughts drifted to the verse from James 4:14, “You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears.” The recognition of the brevity of life seemed to amplify and add urgency to the questions I was pondering.
Like other nights before, God spoke to me through nature. Ursa Major has long been used in navigation because it points to the Polaris star, more commonly known as the North Star. Perhaps on this night, Ursa Major was pointing me to God Himself. Eventually, it was time for me to emerge from the warmth of my aquatic cocoon. I headed straight to my computer so that I could share this experience with you.
I encourage you to make time to ponder these four big questions. As you seek order in the chaos of life, my prayer is that your answers will lead you to Logos (Jesus) and He will lead us to the Father and to eternal life.
Heavenly Father, my soul yearns for truth. It seeks answers to life’s most difficult questions. It seeks peace. Faith and logic both point me in the direction of your Son. He is my North Star. He is my truth and life. Keep me always close to Him. Amen!
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Bonus Music Meditation
The song “Fall On Me” by Andrea and Matteo Bocelli has always spoken to me, not only as a song between a parent and child, but as a song between God and man. The video depicts the passage of life and time. It exemplifies God’s love. In a strange way, this song also seems to speak to me about life’s big questions. Click here to enjoy this wonderful music video.