What God writes in the skies, the oceans, the wind, and the rain provides a glimpse of his purpose for our lives, rooted in his incomparably generous love. Since we are made in his image, this love gives meaning to our lives, so it makes sense to be on the lookout for signs of his presence in the world around us. In fact, recent scientific discoveries point resolutely to the existence of our Creator, revealing all the structures of the universe’s intelligent design by a “someone” with a purpose and a plan.
Writing for the Wall Street Journal on Christmas Day 2014, author Eric Metaxas described the sheer, astronomical impossibility of the universe without God. Citing the supposedly random accomplishment of a mathematically inconceivable multitude of subtle, interdependent astrophysical conditions needed for the universe to even exist— never mind for the earth to support life—he uses up-to-date research to demonstrate the futility of resistance to the reality of God. Facts and numbers, not philosophies, are convincing a growing number of scientists—even astrophysicists who formerly had deeply-held atheistic beliefs—that a Creator must, in fact, exist.
Throughout history, the human heart has been capable of discerning God’s presence in the beauty, balance, and intricacy of nature, experiencing an understandable awe when confronted with the delicacy and individuality of everything from souls to snowflakes. Sadly, in modern times, science and technology have been distorted into objects of worship, and many people have set their hopes on a futuristic, manmade utopia in which discomfort and suffering will supposedly be eliminated for good. Religion has been chucked wholesale, considered superfluous in the light of humanity’s impressive accomplishments. It’s wonderfully ironic that science and technology are now becoming allies to faith.
Furthermore, suffering has not, in fact, been banished by human achievements, and the egoistic drive to eliminate God from our view of the universe and replace his glory with our own paltry successes has failed to result in greater peace, hope, or love. The fad in our times is to apply our own personal meaning to everything, a designer reality in which the goal is to have a personal “truth,” which can then peacefully coexist with everyone else’s personal truth. On the surface, it all seems rather friendly and sophisticated. But look deeper and you discover lives without any solid meaning or moral standards, subject to all sorts of pressures and fluctuations, because if everything is true, then nothing is true.
Witness the proliferation of spiritually destructive New Age practices that have thrust our sophisticated society backward into the superstitions of the ancient pagan world. Resurgent occult influences like fortune-telling and séances, earth worship, witchcraft, and a fascination with reincarnation have blended together in a consumer’s paradise of pick-and-choose “beliefs,” a smorgasbord of junk spirituality that proudly eschews anything “organized.”
Fortunately for us, we have the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, which, with the constant help of the Holy Spirit, has guarded the faith and morals of Catholics for more than two thousand years. More recently, we have been blessed by a remarkable set of teachings—introduced by St. John Paul II—called the “theology of the body.” By more profoundly illuminating the sacramentality of our bodies, this theology helps us to live lives of great beauty and meaning in a world insensible to God’s exquisite language of love. Catholic author Emily Stimpson sums it up this way: John Paul II’s response to that problem was to offer the world a reading lesson. The theology of the body is like Hooked on Phonics for the sacramental worldview, offering the contemporary mind a step-by-step lesson plan for how to read the world rightly once more. It does that by taking men back to the beginning, back to the Garden, where it uses the human body as the starting point for rediscovering the meaning inherent in all creation.
This blog is taken from the book True Radiance: Finding Grace in the Second Half of Life by Lisa Mladinich. A former actress turned Catholic catechist and author, today Mladinich holds up the mirror to our faith in Christ and illumines the dignity and purpose we possess as women made in the image