Friday, January 4, 2013
In October 2012, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed a Year of Faith commemorating the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council.
What is more fitting to start the new year than with the beauty of Palestrina's "Kyrie" in the "Missa Papae Marcelli"? Listen to this extraordinary polyphonic music composition of Giovanni Palestrina of the 16th century Renaissance:
Listening to this sacred music lifts up the heart to God in praise and thanks for his creation. Beauty can never be hidden or eclipsed because it is the work of God. Humans express it in painting, architecture, videos, theater works, literature and above all in the "angelic" language: music. In abstract mathematical expressions too, there is, according to scientists, certain elegance that stimulates a feeling of satisfaction. For thousands of years, cosmologists have been watching the movement of great stars in the cosmos as a sign of wonder. Wonder is the cause not only of poetic expressions but also of scientific explorations. It seems that as scientists advance in understanding the complex relationships in living organisms and in physics they also advance in appreciating the beauty of the very small constituents of the universe. Quantum physics revealed certain communication between sub-atomic particles over large distances. The complexification of the living cell and its relationship to the growth of organisms is another finding in molecular biology that shows the development from the very small to the large. Much of scientific advances in space exploration, nuclear energy, manufacturing, and medicine, has been made using computing systems which test the movement of objects through simulation and artificial intelligence machines. Yet, the most significant advances today are taking place in communication networks that transform the entire global economy into one global village.
Why are we never settled in life? Why do we always wonder about finding more beauty in creation? What drives us to explore things? Probably because we search for the perfect beauty: The search for God.
In Genesis it is written "God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good" (Gen 1: 31). God's creation is good. When we contemplate the beauty of his creation, we feel the hands of a loving God who cares and, according to our Christian belief, he died so that we can live with him. But we will never rest until we rest in God according to Augustine. The faith that moves mountains grows gradually as we contemplate the creation of God and his works; and in eternal life the elect will contemplate God himself in his limitless beauty. We give thanks to God as Palestrina did in his music even when there are troubles around. And God is still working in the world (John 5, 17). The drama of God is that he cannot rest until we rest in him. Let us thank him. This is the beginning of faith!