Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

When the wise men looked to the stars, they contemplated the God they saw as the author of creation.  Looking to the stars was a venerable custom to understand the present and future events, and of course we all take a furtive glance at the astronomy column. Gazing at the stars to find truth has some merit when we recall the lines from the Book of Deuteronomy (4:19), admonishing the people of Israel not to confuse that which was created by God for a lesser idol.

“And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon, and the stars–all the heavenly array–do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.”

The greatness of creation reflects the Creator, as Pope Francis mentions throughout his encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’. This tradition of finding God in the work of His hands has received ample exposition, starting with the Old Testament and following through with the great works of Thomas Aquinas. Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical Fides et Ratio notes how the intellect reflecting on the world can reveal much about God. The application of the intellect on the material world and the world of human experience as the basis for deepening the faith has been a foundation of Jesuit education.  Beginning with Ignatius himself and his years of study of St. Thomas Aquinas at the University of Paris, he implemented this trajectory of reason informed by faith reflecting on the world to support the faith; a system of thought he saw as crucial for a “Jesuit Education” and one that later Jesuits implemented in their course of studies known as the Ratio Studiorum. The word “consider” comes from the Latin siderus, star.  So, when we “consider” something, like the wise men, we look at the world with the eyes of faith and hope which in turn should take us to the love of God and our neighbor.

January 11th, 2018