The great American poet and author, Herman Melville, wrote his most celebrated novel, Moby-Dick in 1851. The story has been on my mind this week as Texas prepared to be swallowed up by Hurricane Harvey. In Moby-Dick the ship Essex is attacked by a whale and destroyed. The story tells the tale of survival for the crew as they face storms, thirst, illness, and survival. At one point in the novel he writes, "But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life."
"But nature is always subtle, more intricate, more elegant than what we are able to imagine." Carl Sagan, the great scientist and Astronomer wrote these words to help us remember earth is a mere speck in space. As our Regis community gathered on the athletic field to view the eclipse, we placed our special glasses on our eyes to view the wonders of the universe.
Could these monumental planetary demonstrations of God's presence among us be telling us something? Meister Eckhart, the great Dominican Friar said, "What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action." Put another way, if the random eclipse and hurricane are experienced by us without any contemplation, or reflection they are simply insignificant random moments. Just like our trips to the grocery store for water during the hurricane, they distract us from the mystery of the moment. We start living for what's ahead instead of what's right in front of us.
Reflecting on these events during the first week of school I shutter to think what's next in store for the school year? Straight out of the gate we've been met with a reminder of what we're called to as a Sacred Heart school. Our personal and active faith in God (Goal One), hopefully is jarring us to ask ourselves what is this "ungraspable phantom of life"-God calling us too? Perhaps a realization we're not as great, or popular as we think we are. Maybe being called to a social awareness that impels us to action (Goal Three), is reminding us the glasses were wearing are only partially revealing how much we need to care for others who need our help.
Contemplation is under-rated especially with our Regis boys and maybe that's natural when boys love to run and sing as they develop their minds and hearts with each other. Telling a boy to sit still and be quiet goes against every aspect of boyhood. They are hurricanes of energy and bright blinding eclipses that have the power to pulverize our vision, and sometimes our patience.
It's the opening kickoff to the 2017-18 school year where we're celebrating the bicentennial year of Sacred Heart education. Our themes are centered around crossing new frontiers with contemplation, inspired by the life of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, RSCJ. Could the events of week one not be more obvious to our mission?
I encourage you to contemplate what's happening before our eyes when we look up into the sky, or out to sea. To me it's really much more fascinating than a trip to the grocery store, or a boxing match on pay per view tv.