I was somewhat taken by the way the First reading for Saturday of the 6th Week throughout the Year in the edition approved for England, Scotland and Wales has translated Hebrews 11:1ff. :
“Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen. It was for faith that our ancestors were commended.
It is by faith that we understand that the world was created by one word from God, so that no apparent cause can account for the things we can see.”
Years ago I memorized those verses in the translation from the New American Bible edition, but I must say that the thought contained in the third sentence as per the Jerusalem Bible is different or at least seems so to me. It would seem that I have less reason to be impatient or Pauline with, for example, exponents of the “Big Bang Theory”:
“It is by faith that we understand that the world was created by one word from God, so that no apparent cause can account for the things we can see.”
As silly as that sounds, seriously it helps me class a lot more “scientists” or “sophisticates” among those who don’t know their right hand from their left. I can pray that their hearts be touched and they might know the God Who spoke that “one word” and know the enormity of their human life destroying experiments (I am shuddering at the horror of embryonic stem cell research).
Years ago, I knew one of the Polish priests who survived the concentration camp at Dachau and the “medical experiments” which left him with malaria bouts and nightmares for the rest of his life. In the same way today, countless pre-born brothers and sisters will never encounter us this side of Heaven. My concern here today in particular is for the darkness of the souls of those pseudo-scientists back then in the pay of the Nazi regime and now today for the souls of batteries of no less wretched folk whom some would excuse from moral consequences simply on the basis of their geekyness…
St. Augustine, in The City of God, goes on and on in an attempt to reason with proud pagans and free them from the embrace of folly. Ultimately, then and now the challenge is to argue in favor of, or better, prepare the encounter with the one and only God, Who spoke that “one word” and it all was made. Sadly, too many of those who profess the faith don’t appreciate the fact that that “one word” was and is a word of love for you and for me by name. By His one word we stand over and above His creation.
This Saturday has given me reason for insistent prayer that “scientists” and “sophisticates” might be saved and that the Lord would bless our world with a new “Augustine” to tirelessly argue the case for the sake of their change of heart and new insight in the lives of those who claim the faith but do not possess it enough to imagine that “one word” and thereby live as creatures in God’s world of an inestimable dignity and worth, willed for us by Him Who has revealed Himself to us in His Son as our loving Father.