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Mystery, Wonder and Awe

Scriptural Story

Moses and the Burning Bush
Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, "I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up." When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." Then he said, "Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." He said further, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God."
Exodus 3: 1 - 6

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Description and Related Concepts

Mystery , in biblical usage, generally refers to a divine secret that is being, or has been, revealed in God's good time, denoting primarily what God has decreed shall take place in the future (i.e. the eschatological secret to be made known).

The term is actually only used once in the synoptic Gospels (Mk. 4: 11, Mt. 13: 11, Lk. 8: 10) in the context of the Parable of the Sower; namely, that it is only to the apostles and disciples of Jesus that the secrets of the kingdom of God have been revealed and entrusted.

St. Paul further refines this notion of mysterion by linking it directly to the risen Christ in whom is the realization of salvation and which is effected presently through the Church, the Body of Christ. Thus the paschal mystery of Jesus' suffering, death, rising and ascension lies at the very heart of God's salvific plan for all of creation.

In a more general theological sense, mystery is any religious truth known only through divine revelation and accepted on faith. Since the content of the revelation will always elude complete understanding, it often excites curiosity and may elicit wonder and awe.

Wonder may be understood as a response of a person who beholds some mystery or gains some new or deeper insight into the nature of a "natural" or seemingly "supernatural" reality. It may be a feeling of surprise, astonishment, amazement or admiration. It also may be born of a new or deeper insight related to a seemingly ordinary or everyday occurrence but which is now appreciated in a new way.

Awe may be understood as a person's mixed feeling of reverence, fear and wonder in the face of something majestic, sublime, or sacred. The effect of awe may be temporarily immobilizing and often elicits a display of homage, worship and/or deference.

Anchor Concepts: Creativity/Design, Discovery, Faith, Lifestyle, Redemption, Revelation, Solidarity, Transformation/Conversion

Related Concepts:

  • SACRAMENTALITY (PRINCIPLE OF)
  • SACRAMENT
  • WORSHIP
  • HUMILITY
  • WORLD VIEW
  • REVELATION
  • CREATION
  • NATURE
  • PASCHAL MYSTERY
  • SALVATION
  • CONVERSION
  • INSIGHT
  • TRANSCENDENTAL
  • SUPERNATURAL
  • DIVINITY
  • DISCOVERY
  • WISDOM
  • WEB OF LIFE
  • PRAYER
  • SPIRITUALITY
  • CREATION SPIRTUALITY
  • MYSTIC
  • MYSTICISM
  • DESIGN
  • AESTHETICS
  • ORIGINALITY
  • GIFTS/TALENTS
  • WONDER
  • AWE
  • MYSTERY
  • CREATIVITY
  • TRUTH
  • RESURRECTION
  • INCARNATION
  • INSIGHT
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Scripture References

Six Days of Creation and the Sabbath
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. And God said, "Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, "Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it." And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. And God said, "Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth." And it was so. God made the two great lights--the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night--and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky." So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
Genesis 1

Moses and Pharaoh
The Lord said to Moses, "See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and I will multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. When Pharaoh does not listen to you, I will lay my hand upon Egypt and bring my people the Israelites, company by company, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out from among them." Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the Lord commanded them. Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh. The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "When Pharaoh says to you, 'Perform a wonder,' then you shall say to Aaron, 'Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, and it will become a snake.'" So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did as the Lord had commanded; Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers; and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same by their secret arts. Each one threw down his staff, and they became snakes; but Aaron's staff swallowed up theirs. Still Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. Then the Lord said to Moses, "Pharaoh's heart is hardened; he refuses to let the people go. Go to Pharaoh in the morning, as he is going out to the water; stand by at the river bank to meet him, and take in your hand the staff that was turned into a snake. Say to him, 'The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you to say, "Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness." But until now you have not listened.' Thus says the Lord, "By this you shall know that I am the Lord." See, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall be turned to blood. The fish in the river shall die, the river itself shall stink, and the Egyptians shall be unable to drink water from the Nile.'" The Lord said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt--over its rivers, its canals, and its ponds, and all its pools of water--so that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout the whole land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.'" Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and of his officials he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the river, and all the water in the river was turned into blood, and the fish in the river died. The river stank so that the Egyptians could not drink its water, and there was blood throughout the whole land of Egypt. But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts; so Pharaoh's heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them; as the Lord had said. Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he did not take even this to heart. And all the Egyptians had to dig along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the river. Seven days passed after the Lord had struck the Nile.
Exodus 7

The Lord Answers Job and Job's Response
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements--surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? "Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?-when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors, and said, 'Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped'? "Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, so that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it? It is changed like clay under the seal, and it is dyed like a garment. Light is withheld from the wicked, and their uplifted arm is broken. "Have you entered into the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this. "Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness, that you may take it to its territory and that you may discern the paths to its home? Surely you know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great! "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war? What is the way to the place where the light is distributed, or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth? "Who has cut a channel for the torrents of rain, and a way for the thunderbolt, to bring rain on a land where no one lives, on the desert, which is empty of human life, to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground put forth grass? "Has the rain a father, or who has begotten the drops of dew? From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the hoarfrost of heaven? The waters become hard like stone, and the face of the deep is frozen. "Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth? "Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, so that a flood of waters may cover you? Can you send forth lightnings, so that they may go and say to you, 'Here we are'? Who has put wisdom in the inward parts, or given understanding to the mind? Who has the wisdom to number the clouds? Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens, when the dust runs into a mass and the clods cling together? "Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they crouch in their dens, or lie in wait in their covert? Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food?

"Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the deer? Can you number the months that they fulfill, and do you know the time when they give birth, when they crouch to give birth to their offspring, and are delivered of their young? Their young ones become strong, they grow up in the open; they go forth, and do not return to them. "Who has let the wild ass go free? Who has loosed the bonds of the swift ass, to which I have given the steppe for its home, the salt land for its dwelling place? It scorns the tumult of the city; it does not hear the shouts of the driver. It ranges the mountains as its pasture, and it searches after every green thing. "Is the wild ox willing to serve you? Will it spend the night at your crib? Can you tie it in the furrow with ropes, or will it harrow the valleys after you? Will you depend on it because its strength is great, and will you hand over your labour to it? Do you have faith in it that it will return, and bring your grain to your threshing floor? "The ostrich's wings flap wildly, though its pinions lack plumage. For it leaves its eggs to the earth, and lets them be warmed on the ground, forgetting that a foot may crush them, and that a wild animal may trample them. It deals cruelly with its young, as if they were not its own; though its labour should be in vain, yet it has no fear; because God has made it forget wisdom, and given it no share in understanding. When it spreads its plumes aloft, it laughs at the horse and its rider. "Do you give the horse its might? Do you clothe its neck with mane? Do you make it leap like the locust? Its majestic snorting is terrible. It paws violently, exults mightily; it goes out to meet the weapons. It laughs at fear, and is not dismayed; it does not turn back from the sword. Upon it rattle the quiver, the flashing spear, and the javelin. With fierceness and rage it swallows the ground; it cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet. When the trumpet sounds, it says 'Aha!' From a distance it smells the battle, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting. "Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars, and spreads its wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes its nest on high? It lives on the rock and makes its home in the fastness of the rocky crag. From there it spies the prey; its eyes see it from far away. Its young ones suck up blood; and where the slain are, there it is."

And the Lord said to Job: "Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Anyone who argues with God must respond." Then Job answered the Lord: "See, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but will proceed no further." Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: "Gird up your loins like a man; I will question you, and you declare to me. Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be justified? Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his? "Deck yourself with majesty and dignity; clothe yourself with glory and splendour. Pour out the overflowings of your anger, and look on all who are proud, and abase them. Look on all who are proud, and bring them low; tread down the wicked where they stand. Hide them all in the dust together; bind their faces in the world below. Then I will also acknowledge to you that your own right hand can give you victory. "Look at Behemoth, which I made just as I made you; it eats grass like an ox. Its strength is in its loins, and its power in the muscles of its belly. It makes its tail stiff like a cedar; the sinews of its thighs are knit together. Its bones are tubes of bronze, its limbs like bars of iron. "It is the first of the great acts of God-- only its Maker can approach it with the sword. For the mountains yield food for it where all the wild animals play. Under the lotus plants it lies, in the covert of the reeds and in the marsh. The lotus trees cover it for shade; the willows of the wadi surround it. Even if the river is turbulent, it is not frightened; it is confident though Jordan rushes against its mouth. Can one take it with hooks or pierce its nose with a snare?

"Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook, or press down its tongue with a cord? Can you put a rope in its nose, or pierce its jaw with a hook? Will it make many supplications to you? Will it speak soft words to you? Will it make a covenant with you to be taken as your servant forever? Will you play with it as with a bird, or will you put it on leash for your girls? Will traders bargain over it? Will they divide it up among the merchants? Can you fill its skin with harpoons, or its head with fishing spears? Lay hands on it; think of the battle; you will not do it again! Any hope of capturing it will be disappointed; were not even the gods overwhelmed at the sight of it? No one is so fierce as to dare to stir it up. Who can stand before it? Who can confront it and be safe? --under the whole heaven, who? "I will not keep silence concerning its limbs, or its mighty strength, or its splendid frame. Who can strip off its outer garment? Who can penetrate its double coat of mail? 14 Who can open the doors of its face? There is terror all around its teeth. Its back is made of shields in rows, shut up closely as with a seal. One is so near to another that no air can come between them. They are joined one to another; they clasp each other and cannot be separated. Its sneezes flash forth light, and its eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn. From its mouth go flaming torches; sparks of fire leap out. Out of its nostrils comes smoke, as from a boiling pot and burning rushes. Its breath kindles coals, and a flame comes out of its mouth. In its neck abides strength, and terror dances before it. The folds of its flesh cling together; it is firmly cast and immovable. Its heart is as hard as stone, as hard as the lower millstone. When it raises itself up the gods are afraid; at the crashing they are beside themselves. Though the sword reaches it, it does not avail, nor does the spear, the dart, or the javelin. It counts iron as straw, and bronze as rotten wood. The arrow cannot make it flee; slingstones, for it, are turned to chaff. Clubs are counted as chaff; it laughs at the rattle of javelins. Its underparts are like sharp potsherds; it spreads itself like a threshing sledge on the mire. It makes the deep boil like a pot; it makes the sea like a pot of ointment. It leaves a shining wake behind it; one would think the deep to be white-haired. On earth it has no equal, a creature without fear. It surveys everything that is lofty; it is king over all that are proud."

Then Job answered the Lord: "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 'Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.' I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
Job 38: 1-42:6

God's Glory in Creation and the Law
The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them; and nothing is hid from its heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from the insolent;
do not let them have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19

The Majesty of God's Rule
The Lord is king, he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed,
he is girded with strength.
He has established the world;
it shall never be moved;
your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their roaring.
More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters,
more majestic than the waves of the sea,
majestic on high is the Lord!
Your decrees are very sure;
holiness befits your house, O Lord, forevermore.
Psalm 93

God the Creator and Provider
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honour and majesty,
wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your chariot,
you ride on the wings of the wind,
you make the winds your messengers, fire and flame your ministers.
You set the earth on its foundations, so that it shall never be shaken.
You cover it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they flee;
at the sound of your thunder they take to flight.
They rose up to the mountains,
ran down to the valleys to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass,
so that they might not again cover the earth.
You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
they flow between the hills, giving drink to every wild animal;
the wild asses quench their thirst.
By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation;
they sing among the branches.
From your lofty abode you water the mountains;
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use,
to bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden the human heart,
oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart.
The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
In them the birds build their nests;
the stork has its home in the fir trees.
The high mountains are for the wild goats;
the rocks are a refuge for the coneys.
You have made the moon to mark the seasons;
the sun knows its time for setting.
You make darkness, and it is night,
when all the animals of the forest come creeping out.
The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God.
When the sun rises, they withdraw and lie down in their dens.
People go out to their work and to their labour until the evening.
O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
creeping things innumerable are there,
living things both small and great.
There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.
These all look to you to give them their food in due season;
when you give to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works--
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.
Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
and let the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 104

Song of Quiet Trust
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great
and too marvellous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time on and forevermore.
Psalm 131

The Inescapable God
O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,"
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them--they are more than the sand;
I come to the end--I am still with you.
O that you would kill the wicked, O God,
and that the bloodthirsty would depart from me-
those who speak of you maliciously, and lift themselves up against you for evil!
Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
I hate them with perfect hatred;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139

Everything Has Its Time
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

Fear of the Lord Is True Wisdom
The fear of the Lord is glory and exultation, and gladness and a crown of rejoicing. The fear of the Lord delights the heart, and gives gladness and joy and long life. Those who fear the Lord will have a happy end; on the day of their death they will be blessed. To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; she is created with the faithful in the womb.

She made among human beings an eternal foundation, and among their descendants she will abide faithfully. To fear the Lord is fullness of wisdom; she inebriates mortals with her fruits; she fills their whole house with desirable goods, and their storehouses with her produce. The fear of the Lord is the crown of wisdom, making peace and perfect health to flourish. She rained down knowledge and discerning comprehension, and she heightened the glory of those who held her fast. To fear the Lord is the root of wisdom, and her branches are long life.
Sirach1: 11-20 

The Works of God in Nature
The Works of God in Nature I will now call to mind the works of the Lord, and will declare what I have seen. By the word of the Lord his works are made; and all his creatures do his will. The sun looks down on everything with its light, and the work of the Lord is full of his glory. The Lord has not empowered even his holy ones to recount all his marvellous works, which the Lord the Almighty has established so that the universe may stand firm in his glory. He searches out the abyss and the human heart; he understands their innermost secrets. For the Most High knows all that may be known; he sees from of old the things that are to come. He discloses what has been and what is to be, and he reveals the traces of hidden things. No thought escapes him, and nothing is hidden from him. He has set in order the splendours of his wisdom; he is from all eternity one and the same. Nothing can be added or taken away, and he needs no one to be his counsellor. How desirable are all his works, and how sparkling they are to see! All these things live and remain forever; each creature is preserved to meet a particular need. All things come in pairs, one opposite the other, and he has made nothing incomplete. Each supplements the virtues of the other. Who could ever tire of seeing his glory?

The Splendour of the Sun
The pride of the higher realms is the clear vault of the sky, as glorious to behold as the sight of the heavens. The sun, when it appears, proclaims as it rises what a marvellous instrument it is, the work of the Most High. At noon it parches the land, and who can withstand its burning heat? A man tending a furnace works in burning heat, but three times as hot is the sun scorching the mountains; it breathes out fiery vapours, and its bright rays blind the eyes. Great is the Lord who made it; at his orders it hurries on its course.

The Splendour of the Moon
It is the moon that marks the changing seasons, governing the times, their everlasting sign. From the moon comes the sign for festal days, a light that wanes when it completes its course. The new moon, as its name suggests, renews itself; how marvellous it is in this change, a beacon to the hosts on high, shining in the vault of the heavens!

The Glory of the Stars and the Rainbow
The glory of the stars is the beauty of heaven, a glittering array in the heights of the Lord.

On the orders of the Holy One they stand in their appointed places; they never relax in their watches. Look at the rainbow, and praise him who made it; it is exceedingly beautiful in its brightness. It encircles the sky with its glorious arc; the hands of the Most High have stretched it out.

The Marvels of Nature
By his command he sends the driving snow and speeds the lightnings of his judgment. Therefore the storehouses are opened, and the clouds fly out like birds. In his majesty he gives the clouds their strength, and the hailstones are broken in pieces. The voice of his thunder rebukes the earth; when he appears, the mountains shake. At his will the south wind blows; so do the storm from the north and the whirlwind. He scatters the snow like birds flying down, and its descent is like locusts alighting. The eye is dazzled by the beauty of its whiteness, and the mind is amazed as it falls. He pours frost over the earth like salt, and icicles form like pointed thorns. The cold north wind blows, and ice freezes on the water; it settles on every pool of water, and the water puts it on like a breastplate. He consumes the mountains and burns up the wilderness, and withers the tender grass like fire. A mist quickly heals all things; the falling dew gives refreshment from the heat.

By his plan he stilled the deep and planted islands in it. Those who sail the sea tell of its dangers, and we marvel at what we hear. In it are strange and marvellous creatures, all kinds of living things, and huge sea-monsters. Because of him each of his messengers succeeds, and by his word all things hold together.

We could say more but could never say enough; let the final word be: "He is the all." Where can we find the strength to praise him? For he is greater than all his works. Awesome is the Lord and very great, and marvellous is his power. Glorify the Lord and exalt him as much as you can, for he surpasses even that. When you exalt him, summon all your strength, and do not grow weary, for you cannot praise him enough. Who has seen him and can describe him? Or who can extol him as he is? Many things greater than these lie hidden, for Id have seen but few of his works. For the Lord has made all things, and to the godly he has given wisdom.
Sirach 42: 15- 43: 33  

The Birth of Jesus Foretold
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God." 38 Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.
Luke 1: 26-38

The Shepherds and the Angels
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for see--I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!"
Luke 2: 8-14

The Transfiguration
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, "This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!" Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
Mark 9: 2-8

Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids--blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be made well?" The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me." Jesus said to him, "Stand up, take your mat and walk." At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, "It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat." But he answered them, "The man who made me well said to me, 'Take up your mat and walk.'" They asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, 'Take it up and walk'?" Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, "See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you." The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. Therefore the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the sabbath. But Jesus answered them, "My Father is still working, and I also am working." For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was not only breaking the sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God.
John 5: 1-18

The Resurrection
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.' This is my message for you." So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me." While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, "You must say, 'His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.' If this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story is still told among the Jews to this day. Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Matthew 28

Future Glory
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Romans 8: 18-30

Prayer for the Readers
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3: 14-20

The New Heaven and the New Earth
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away." And the one who was seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." Then he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
Revelation 21: 1-8

Other Scripture References (See Appendix A)

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Church Teachings

Documents of Vatican II

2 In His goodness and wisdom, God chose to reveal Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of His will by which through Christ, the Word made flesh, man has access to the Father in the Holy Spirit and comes to share in the divine nature. Through this revelation, therefore, the invisible God our of the abundance of His love speaks to men as friends and lives among them, so that He may invite and take them into fellowship with Himself. This plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words having an inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them. By this revelation then, the deepest truth about God and the salvation of man is made clear to us in Christ who is the Mediator and at the same time the fullness of all revelation.
Dei Verbum, (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation)

5 If this faith is to be known, the grace of God and the interior help of the Holy Spirit must precede and assist, moving the heart and turning it to God, opening the eyes of the mind, and giving "joy and ease to everyone in assenting to the truth and believing it." To bring about an ever deeper understanding of revelation, the same Holy Spirit constantly brings faith to completion by His grace.

6 Through divine revelation, God chose to show forth and communicate Himself and the eternal decisions of His will regarding the salvation of men. That is to say, He chose "to share those divine treasures which totally transcend the understanding of the human mind."

This sacred Synod affirms, "God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certainty from created reality by the light of human reason"; but the Synod teaches that it is through His revelation "that those divine realities which are by their nature accessible to human reason can be known by all men with ease, with solid certitude, and with no trace of error, even in the present state of the human race."
Dei Verbum, (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation)

5 The wonders wrought by God among the people of the Old Testament were but a prelude to the work of Christ the Lord in redeeming mankind and giving perfect glory to God. He achieved His task principally by the paschal mystery of His blessed passion, resurrection from the dead, and glorious ascension, whereby "dying, he destroyed our death and, rising, he restored our life." For it was from the side of Christ as He slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth the wondrous sacrament which is the whole Church.
Sacrosanctum Concilium, (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy )

1 By her relationship with Christ, the Church is a kind of sacrament of intimate union with God, and of the unity of all mankind, that is, she is a sign and an instrument of such union and unity.
Lumen Gentium, (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church)

2 By an utterly free and mysterious decree of His own wisdom and goodness, the eternal Father, created the whole world. His plan was to dignify men with a participation in His own divine life.
Lumen Gentium, (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church)

5 The mystery of the holy Church is manifest in her very foundation, for the Lord Jesus inaugurated her by preaching the good news, that is, the coming of God's Kingdom, which, for centuries, had been promised in the Scriptures: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand." In Christ's word, in His works, and in His presence this kingdom reveals itself to men. The word of the Lord is like a seed sown in a field. Those who hear the word with faith and become part of the little flock of Christ have received the kingdom itself. Then, by its own power the seed sprouts and ripens until harvest time.

The miracles of Jesus also confirm that the kingdom has already arrived on earth: "If I cast out devils by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you."

Before all things, however, the kingdom is clearly visible in the very person of Christ, Son of God and Soon of Man, who came "to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Lumen Gentium, (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church)

7 In the human nature which He united to Himself, the Son of God redeemed man and transformed him into a new creation by overcoming death through His own death and resurrection. By communicating His Spirit to His brothers, called together from all peoples, Christ made them mystically into His own body.

In that body, the life of Christ is poured into the believers, who, through the sacraments, are united in a hidden and real way to Christ who suffered and was glorified. Through baptism we are formed in the likeness of Christ.
Lumen Gentium, (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church)

48 The Church, to which we are all called in Christ Jesus and in which we acquire sanctity through the grace of God, will attain her full perfection only in the glory of heaven. Then will come the time of the restoration of all things. Then the human race as well as the entire world, which is intimately related to man and achieves its purpose through him, will be perfectly re-established in Christ.
Lumen Gentium, (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church)

10 The truth is that the imbalances under which the modern world labors are linked with that more basic imbalance rooted in the heart of man. For in man himself many elements wrestle with one another. Thus, on the one hand, as a creature he experiences his limitations in a multitude of ways. On the other hand, he feels himself to be boundless in his desires and summoned to a higher life. ...

Nevertheless, in the face of the modern development of the world, an ever-increasing number of people are raising the most basic questions or recognizing them with a new sharpness: what is man? What is this sense of sorrow, of evil, of death, which continues to exist despite so much progress? What is the purpose of these victories, purchased at so high a cost? What can man offer to society, what can he expect from it? What follows this earthly life?
Gaudium et Spes, (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)

10 The People of God believes that it is led by the Spirit of the Lord, who fills the earth. Motivated by this faith, it labors to decipher authentic signs of God's presence and purpose in the happenings, needs, and desires in which this People has a part along with other men of our age. For faith throws a new light on everything, manifests God's design for man's total vocation, and thus directs the mind to solutions which are fully human.
Gaudium et Spes, (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)

18 It is in the face of death that the riddle of human existence becomes most acute. ...Man rebels against death because he bears in himself an eternal seed which cannot be reduced to sheer matter. All the endeavors of technology, though useful in the extreme, is unable to satisfy that desire for a higher life which is inescapably lodged in his breast. Although the mystery of death utterly beggars the imagination, the Church has been taught by divine revelation, and herself firmly teaches, that man has been created by God for a blissful purpose beyond the reach of earthly misery. ...For God has called man and still calls him so that with his entire being he might be joined to Him in an endless sharing of a divine life beyond all corruption. ...Faith arouses the hope that they have found true life with God.
Gaudium et Spes, (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)

22 The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light. ...Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear.
Gaudium et Spes, (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)

39 We do not know the time for the consummation of the earth and of humanity. Nor do we know how all things will be transformed. As deformed by sin, the shape of this world will pass away. But we are taught that God is preparing a new dwelling place and a new earth where justice will abide, and whose blessedness will answer and surpass all the longings for peace which spring up in the human heart.
Gaudium et Spes, (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)

59 Therefore the human spirit must be cultivated in such a way that there results a growth in its ability to wonder, to understand, to contemplate, to make personal judgments, and to develop a religious, moral, and social sense. ...This sacred Synod, therefore, recalling the teaching of the first Vatican Council, declares that there are "two orders of knowledge" which are distinct, namely faith and reason. It declares that the Church does not indeed forbid that "when the human arts and sciences are practiced they use their own principles and their proper method, each in its own domain." Hence, "acknowledging this just liberty," this sacred Synod affirms the legitimate autonomy of human culture and especially of the sciences.
Gaudium et Spes, (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)

1 Men look to the various religions for answers to those profound mysteries of the human condition which, today even as in olden times, deeply stir the human heart: What is a man? What is the meaning and the purpose of our life? What is goodness and what is sin? What gives rise to our sorrows and to what intent? Where lies the path to true happiness? What is the truth about death, judgment, and retribution beyond the grave? What, finally, is that ultimate and unutterable mystery which engulfs our being, and whence we take our rise, and whither our journey leads us?
Nostra Aetate, (Declaration of the Church to Non-Christian Religions)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

1 God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Saviour. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.

27 The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for ...

28 In many ways, throughout history down to the present day, men have given expression to their quest for God in their religious beliefs and behaviour: in their prayers, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, and so forth. These forms of religious expression, despite the ambiguities they often bring with them, are so universal that on may well call man a religious being ...

35 Man's faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God. But for man to be able to enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself to man and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith. The proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose on to faith and help one to see that faith is hot opposed to reason.

36 "Our holy mother, the Church, holds and teaches that God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason." Without this capacity, man would not be able to welcome God's revelation. Man has this capacity because he is created "in the image of God."

37 In the historical conditions in which he finds himself, however, man experiences many difficulties in coming to know God by the light of reason alone ...

38 This is why man stands in need of being enlightened by God's revelation, not only about those things that exceed his understanding, but also "about those religious and moral truths which of themselves are not beyond the grasp of human reason, so that even in the present condition of the human race, they can be known by all men with ease, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error."

42 God transcends all creatures. We must therefore continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, image-bound or imperfect, if we are not to confuse our image of God - "the inexpressible, the incomprehensible, the invisible, the ungraspable" - with our human representations. Our human words always fail short of the mystery of God.

50 By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his works. But there is another order of knowledge, which man cannot possibly arrive at by his own powers: the order of divine Revelation. Through an utterly free decision, God has revealed himself and given himself to man. This he does by revealing the mystery, his plan of loving goodness, formed from all eternity in Christ, for the benefit of all men. God has fully revealed this plan by sending us his beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

208 Faced with God's fascinating and mysterious presence, man discovers his own insignificance. Before the burning bush, Moses takes off his sandals and veils his face in the presence of God's holiness. ...

213 The revelation of the ineffable name "I Am Who I Am" contains then the truth that God alone IS. The Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, and following it the Church's Tradition, understood the divine name in this sense: God is the fullness of Being and of every perfection, without origin and without end. All creatures receive all that they are and have from him; but he alone is his very being, and he is of himself everything that he is.

234 The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the "hierarchy of the truths of faith." The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men "and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin."

237 The Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the "mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God." To be sure, God has left traces of his Trinitarian being in his work of creation and in his Revelation throughout the Old Testament. But his inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel's faith before the Incarnation of God's Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit.

272 Faith in God the Father Almighty can be put to the test by the experience of evil and suffering. God can sometimes seem to be absent and incapable of stopping evil. But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. ...

273 Only faith can embrace the mysterious ways of God's almighty power. This faith glories in its weakness in order to draw itself to Christ's power. The Virgin Mary is the supreme model of this faith. ...

314 We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God "face to face," will we fully know the ways by which - even through the dramas of evil and sin - God has guided his creation to that definitive Sabbath rest for which he created heaven and earth.

341 The beauty of the universe: The order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the admiration of scholars. The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man's intellect and will.

770 The Church is in history, but at the same time she transcends it. It is only "with the eyes of faith" that one can see her visible reality and at the same time in her spiritual reality as bearer of divine life.

774 The Greek word mysterion was translated into Latin by two terms: mysterium and sacramentum. In later usage the term sacramentum emphasizes the visible sign of the hidden reality of salvation which was indicated by the term mysterium. In this sense, Christ himself is the mystery of salvation: "For there is no other mystery of God, except Christ." The saving work of his holy and sanctifying humanity is the sacrament of salvation, which is revealed and active in the Church's sacraments (which the Eastern Churches also call "the mysteries"). The seven sacraments are the signs and instruments by which the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Christ the head throughout the Church which is his Body. The Church, then, both contains and communicates the invisible grace she signifies. It is in this analogical sense, that the Church is called a "sacrament".

1067 ... the Church celebrates in the liturgy above all the Paschal mystery by which Christ accomplished the work of our salvation.

1068 It is this mystery of Christ that the Church proclaims and celebrates in her liturgy so that the faithful may live from it and bear witness to it in the world. ...

1113 The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments.

1201 The mystery of Christ is so unfathomably rich that it cannot be exhausted by its expression in any single liturgical tradition.

2143 Among all the words of Revelation, there is one which is unique: the revealed name of God. God confides his name to those who believe in him; he reveals himself to them in his personal mystery. The gift of a name belongs to the order of trust and intimacy. ...

2144 Respect for his name is an expression of the respect owed to the mystery of God himself and to the whole sacred reality it evokes. The sense of the sacred is part of the virtue of religion:

Are these feelings of fear and awe Christian feelings or not? ... I say this, the, which I think no one can reasonably dispute. They are the class of feelings we should have - yes, have to an intense degree - if we literally had the sight of Almighty God; therefore they are the class of feelings which we shall have, if we realize his presence. In proportion as we believe that He is present, we shall have them; and not to have them, is not to realize, not to believe that He is present.

2566 Man is in search of God. In the act of creation, God calls every being from nothingness into existence. ... All religions bear witness to men's essential search for God.

2567 God calls man first. Man may forget his Creator or hide far from his face; he may run after idols or accuse the deity of having abandoned him; yet the living and true God tirelessly call each person to that mysterious encounter known as prayer. In prayer, the faithful God's initiative of love always comes first; our own first step is always a response. As God gradually reveals himself and reveals man to himself, prayer appears as a reciprocal call, a covenant drama. Through words and actions, this drama engages the heart. It unfolds throughout the whole history of salvation.

2575 Here again the initiative is God's. From the midst of the burning bush he calls Moses. This event will remain one of the primordial images of prayer in the spiritual tradition of Jews and Christians alike. When "the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob" calls Moses to be his servant, it is because he is the living God who wants men to live. God reveals himself in order to save them, though he does not do this alone or despite them: he calls Moses to be his messenger, an associate in his compassion, his work of salvation. There is something of a divine plea in this mission, and only after long debate does Moses attune his own will to that of the Saviour God. But in the dialogue in which God confides in him, Moses also learns how to pray: he balks, makes excuses, above all questions: and it is in response to his question that the Lord confides his ineffable name, which will be revealed through his mighty deeds.

Other Church Documents

83 Because we have been sent into the world as a "people for life," our proclamation must also become a genuine celebration of the Gospel of life. This celebration, with the evocative power of its gestures, symbols and rites, should become a precious and significant setting in which the beauty and grandeur of this Gospel is handed on. For this to happen, we need first of all to foster in ourselves and in others a contemplative outlook. Such an outlook arises from faith in the God of life, who has created every individual as a "wonder" (cf. Ps. 139:14). It is the outlook of those who see life in its deeper meaning, who grasps its utter gratuitousness, its beauty and its invitation to freedom and responsibility. It is the outlook of those who do not presume to take possession of reality, but instead accept it as a gift, discovering in all things the reflection of the Creator and seeing in every person his living image (cf. Gn. 1: 27; Ps. 8: 5). This outlook does not give in to discouragement when confronted by those who are sick, suffering, outcast or at death's door. Instead, in all these situations it feels challenged to find meaning, and precisely in these circumstances it is open to perceiving in the face of every person a call to encounter, dialogue and solidarity. It is time for all of us to adopt this outlook and with deep religious awe to rediscover the ability to revere and honour every person, as Paul VI invited us to do in one of his first Christmas messages. Inspired by this contemplative outlook, the new people of the redeemed cannot but respond with songs of joy, praise and thanksgiving for the priceless gift of life, so the mystery of every individual's call to share through Christ in the life of grace and in an existence of unending communion with God our Creator and Father.

84 ...Like the Psalmist, we too in our daily prayer as individuals and as a community praise and bless God our Father, who knitted us together in our mother's womb, and saw and loved us while we were still without form (cf. Ps. 139: 13, 15-16). We exclaim with overwhelming joy: "I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made; wonderful are your works. You know me through and through" (Ps. 139: 14). Indeed, "despite its hardships, its hidden mysteries, its suffering and its inevitable frailty, this mortal life is a most beautiful thing, a marvel ever new and moving, an event worthy of being exalted in joy and glory." ... We are called to express wonder and gratitude for the gift of life and to welcome, savor and share the Gospel of life not only in our personal and community prayer, but above all in the celebrations of the liturgical year.
Evangelium Vitae, (Gospel of Life), Encyclical Letter of Pope John Paul II, 1995

9 The poetic style of the Genesis story conveys well the awe which people feel before the immensity of creation and the resulting sense of adoration of the one who brought all things into being from nothing. It is a story of intense religious significance, a hymn to the Creator of the universe, pointing to him as the only Lord in the face of recurring temptations to divinize the world itself. At the same time, it is a hymn to the goodness of creation, all fashioned by the mighty and merciful hand of God. ...

10 Coming as it does from the hand of God, the cosmos bears the imprint of his goodness. It is a beautiful world, rightly moving us to admiration and delight, but also calling for cultivation and development. ... (t)he Bible not only gives us a glimpse of the mysterious relationship between the Creator and the created world, but also casts light upon the task of human beings in relation to the cosmos. The "work" of God is in some ways an example for man, called not only to inhabit the cosmos, but also to "build" it and thus become God's "co-worker." ... The exhilarating advance of science, technology and culture in their various forms - an ever more rapid and today even overwhelming development - is the historical consequence of the mission by which God entrusts to man and woman the task and responsibility of filling the earth and subduing it by means of their work in the observance of God's law.
Dies Domini, (On Keeping the Lord's Day ), Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II, 1998

12 It should nonetheless be kept in mind that revelation remains charged with mystery. It is true that Jesus, with his entire life revealed the countenance of the Father, for he came to teach the secret things of God. But our vision of the face of God is always fragmentary and impaired by the limits of our understanding. Faith alone makes it possible to penetrate the mystery in a way that allows us to understand it coherently.

13 From the teaching of the two Vatican councils there also emerges a genuinely novel consideration for philosophical learning. Revelation has set within history a point of reference which cannot be ignored if the mystery of human life is to be known. Yet this knowledge refers back constantly to the mystery of God, which the human mind cannot exhaust but can only receive and embrace in faith. Between these two poles, reason has its own specific field in which it can inquire and understand, restricted only by its finiteness before the infinite mystery of God.

Revelation therefore introduces into our history a universal and ultimate truth, which stirs the human mind to ceaseless effort; indeed, it impels reason continually to extend the range of its knowledge until it senses that it has done all in its power, leaving no stone unturned. ...

16 ... Faith sharpens the inner eye, opening the mind to discover in the flux of events the working of providence. ...

17 There is thus no reason for competition of any kind between reason and faith: Each contains the other, and each has its own scope for action. ...
Fides et Ratio, (Faith and Reason) , Encyclical Letter of Pope John Paul II, 1998

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Canadian/Ontario Documents

When we dwell in the mystery of the beginning of the day, when we do not take it for granted, we are filled with gratitude for the gift of life. When we begin the day in gratitude, we are filled with wonder, joy and a sense of trust in what has been given, in what is beyond our control.

As on the first day of creation, we reflect on the mystery of the beginning of each day, the beginning of each life, and see that it is very good. It is this sense of the goodness of life and creation that we as Christians hold dear. Our faith is rooted in a sense of gratitude because the most important realities are those which we could never manufacture or produce on our own: life, love, faith and hope. Wee do not bring ourselves to birth, we cannot make others love us, we cannot manufacture faith and hope in our lives. Nor do we want to.
Awakening to Life - A Meditation, Catholic Group for Health, Justice and Life (Members include Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops), 1999

Spiritual dialogue is, finally, more than knowledge and discussion. The end of the spiritual journey is beyond the limits of human understanding, and even beyond that broadened understanding which results from sharing all we know. The point of arrival for every spiritual quest is to share in the holiness of God.
Rediscovering, Recognizing and Celebrating the Spiritual Heritage of Canada's Aboriginal Peoples - A Pastoral Message to the native Peoples of Canada, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1999

LAST YEAR, in our Easter message, we spoke of the necessity of choosing life in a society where too often human dignity is not respected and vulnerable human life is endangered. Today, on the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology, we are issuing a call to celebrate life by caring for God's creation and responding to the ecological crisis that is manifesting itself all around us in so many ways.

Every day in the media we hear about new ecological problems. Climate change from global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer are changing the conditions for life over the whole planet.

In Canada, fish stocks on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts are endangered, presenting both an ecological and an economic crisis. In Alberta, we are having to face the environmental costs of many years of large-scale logging often without adequate reforestation, inadequately planned resource development, industrial expansion and toxic waste disposal, and non-sustainable agricultural practices. The loss of parks, wilderness areas and other wildlife habitatsposes an increasing threat to endangered species and brings about the loss of biodiversity.

Pope John Paul II, in his 1990 statement Peace with All Creation, reminds us that present practices cannot continue and that fundamental change is required: "Faced with the widespread destruction of the environment, people everywhere are coming to understand that we cannot continue to use the goods of the earth as we have in the past."

Hopeful initiatives are already emerging ranging from global treaties to eliminate ozone destroying chemicals to neighbourhood recycling organizations. Much more needs to be done, however, if future generations of our children and grandchildren are not to be saddled with a life-threatening environmental deficit.

Ecological crisis impacts on life, including human life. For Christians and all human beings, this must be a priority concern. The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms that the seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation (no. 2415). Pope John Paul II repeatedly emphasizes that ecological crisis must be seen as a spiritual and moral issue.

In order to understand and respond to this great challenge, we need to reexamine our fundamental values. As Christians, we need to step back and reflect on our place in the midst of all that God has created in such abundance and beauty.

Biblical Ecological Vision
Genesis contains a clear and repeated message that creation, sun and stars, land and seas, animals and plants, is good in God's eyes. All creation is called to give praise to God (Daniel 3:35-68). Humans, very much part of God's creation, are created male and female in the image and likeness of God and have a special role and responsibility within creation. Humans are called to exercise dominion over the earth, a dominion of service, wisdom and love.

The biblical jubilee contains what we call today an eco-justice message, bringing together a call for social justice among all peoples and right relationship with the land and all creation.

Jesus in the Gospel of Luke describes his ministry in terms of jubilee (Luke 4:15-21). Jesus'

proclamation of salvation and liberation is to overcome all alienation, reconciling everything in heaven and on earth (Colossians 1:18-20).

Part of human sin has been to see ourselves as separate from the rest of creation, seeing the natural world only as a source of profit and personal gain. To overcome this sin, we need to affirm our place within the dynamic web of creation which supports and sustains all life.

We can learn much from the spiritual traditions of our aboriginal brothers and sisters which celebrate our kinship with the rest of creation and seek to strengthen the sacred circle of all creation.

Learning from Catholic Social Teaching
Catholics see creation in a sacramental way. The abundance and beauty of God's creation reveals to us something of the generosity of the Creator. God is present and speaks in the dynamic life forces of our universe and planet as well as in our own lives. Respect for life needs to include all creation.

Catholic spirituality and sacramental practice are rooted in the belief that basic materials such as water, grain made into bread and grapes made into wine can communicate and convey God's saving action into our midst.

Ecological destruction and the loss of biodiversity obscure our ability to see and experience God and are an affront to the Creator. The fate of the natural world and human life are fully intertwined. Ecological destruction harms human life, and human social injustice inevitably has ecological consequences.

A New Beginning
Scientists are telling us that in the face of rising global population and increased energy and natural resource consumption, we have a limited window of opportunity to change our environmentally destructive ways of relating to the earth. Failure to act in a timely and decisive manner will threaten the ability of the earth to nurture and sustain life as we know it. This time of jubilee preparation is a call for A New Beginning. The eco-justice message of the biblical jubilee is a challenge for us to embrace a right relationship with God, all human beings and all creation. This jubilee call is a call for us here and now to celebrate life, to care for creation.
Alberta Bishops' Statement on the Care of God's Creation , October 4, 1998

The Principle of Sacramentality: A People Who See God in All Things
All the world is suffused with the mystery of God. Therefore, all the world is also capable of revealing the mystery of God. Every search for meaning, truth, clarity and depth is in its own way a part of the human yearning that the mystery of God should communicate itself to us. The God immersed in mystery awakens our hope for encounter. There is a dreadful attitude in us at times that would use the Mystery as an excuse to quit the search. We say: "Oh well, it is a Mystery", and then feel we have justified our unwillingness to seek further or our resignation in the face of the daunting task. However, Mystery is not an excuse to fall back on when life is confusing and irritatingly vague. When we encounter Mystery, we find the birthplace of curiosity and wonder. Yet, if any of these experiences of encountering mystery are to touch the lives of men and women whose existence is wrapped in the tangible, historical and visible world, then the principle of sacramentality is required.

The principle of sacramentality is the fundamental conviction that the visible, tangible and historical material of the world around us is capable of revealing the intangible, invisible, and immaterial presence of God. In Catholic Education, we are committed to this search for the mystery of God that can be found revealed in all the world of God's creation. The principle of sacramentality serves the purpose of helping human beings in their exploration of the mystery of God.

Catholic Education aims to move a new generation to a renewed exploration of the Holy and Mysterious God. Our schools desire to lead children to God, but it is to a God who is surprise, who is delightfully unpredictable in grace and presence, astonishingly creative and of a fascinating tenderness. We are guided to a meeting with a God beyond wildest fantasy, but not beyond imagination. (pp. 1-2)
Build Bethlehem Everywhere - A Statement on Catholic Education Canadian Catholic Trustees Association (2002)

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Quotations

As I make my slow pilgrimage through the world, a certain sense of beautiful mystery seems to gather and grow.
A. C. Benson, From a College Window

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.
Albert Einstein

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
Carl Sagan

Our ancestors worshipped the Sun, and they were not that foolish.
It makes sense to revere the Sun and the stars, for we are their children.
Carl Sagan

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
Albert Einstein

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
Albert Einstein

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
Albert Einstein

Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does Nature, because in her inventions, nothing is lacking and nothing is superfluous.
Leonardo DaVinci

If we had a keen vision of all that is ordinary in human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow or the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which is the other side of silence.
Marion Evans Cross

I am taught the poorness of our invention, the ugliness of towns and palaces. Art and luxury have early learned that they must work as enhancement and sequel to this original beauty. I am over instructed for my return. Henceforth I shall be hard to please. I cannot go back to toys. I am grown expensive and sophisticated. I can no longer live without elegance: but a countryman shall be my master of revels. He who knows the most, he who knows what sweets and virtues are in the ground, the waters, the plants, the heavens, and how to come at these enchantments, is the rich and royal man. Only as far as the masters of the world have called in nature to their aid, can they reach the height of magnificence.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wisdom begins in wonder.
Socrates

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.
Helen Keller

As knowledge increases, wonder deepens.
Charles Morgan

The world will never starve for want of wonders, but for want of wonder.
Gilbert K. Chesterton

It was through the feeling of wonder that men now and at first began to philosophize.
Aristotle

Men love to wonder and that is the seed of our science.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

God moves in a mysterious way,
  His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
  And rides upon the storm.
William Cowper

Wonder is the basis of worship.
Thomas Carlyle  

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.
Albert Einstein

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Web Resources

There are a variety of sites on the world wide web that contain material related to "mystery, wonder and awe". Most seem to constitute affirmations of the appropriateness of such experiences in the development of a healthy, personal spirituality. As such, reading about someone else's experience or even understanding of "wonder" is hardly a substitute for creating opportunities wherein such experiences themselves may be made possible. That said, the following sites could be divided into four categories:

  • Sites offering images of beauty, be they from nature or from the hand of artists, that in and of themselves could evoke a sense of wonder
  • Sites offering prayer and liturgical resources and experiences
  • Sites related to care of the earth (see also Theme: Stewardship for Creation)
  • Sites related to mysticism

Images of Wonder

Hubble Space Telescope
http://hubble.nasa.gov/
Imagery from the Hubble Space Telescope is available here. Peering deep into the hidden corners of the universe, one can not only see through space but also through time since the light from these distances has taken millions of years to reach earth. More images available at http://www.stsci.edu/resources/ School friendly site at
http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/hst/index.html

Powers of Ten
http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/powersof10/index.html
"Powers of ten" allows to students to move from the outer edges of the galaxy to the inner workings of atoms, magnifications changing in powers of ten. There is a control mechanism below the image that allows for moving up and down in the scaled.

NASA
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/
Links to wonderful space imagery of earth, solar system and stars and galaxies.

Virtual Museums
http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/English/index_flash.html
This is the gateway to a rich variety of Canadian museums of art, science, nature, history, transportation and industry. The image gallery at http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/English/Gallery/index.html provides links to some excellent collections. Museums can also be search locally by province.

Louvre
http://www.smartweb.fr/louvre/
Considered by many to be one of the great museums of the world, the Louvre Museum site, Paris, contains images of their extensive collection.

Metropolitan Museum
http://www.metmuseum.org/home.asp
In formation since 1870, the Metropolitan Museum's collection now contains more than three million works of art from all points of the compass, ancient through modern times. About 3,500 objects-fifty highlights from each of the Museum's curatorial departments as well as the entire department of European Paintings-can be searched by artist, period, style, or keyword.

Museum Directory
http://vlmp.museophile.com/
An extensive directory of on-line museums provides links to museums from around the world.

National Geographic Society
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/index.html
The home page for the wonderful images and information we have come to expect from National Geographic.

Photo Library
http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/collections.html
This site features rich and amazing photographs of the ocean, atmosphere and space.

Royal Ontario Museum
http://www.rom.on.ca/
The web site of the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto features verything from dinosaurs, to rocks to tapestries.

McMichael Gallery
http://www.mcmichael.com/
Specializing in the art of the Group of Seven as well as native aboriginal artists, this site is well worth visiting.

Virtual Parks
http://www.virtualparks.org/main.html
See virtual reality panoramic views of over 2,300 wilderness locations around the Western US & Canada... from ghost towns to lighthouses, from fields of wildflowers bursting with life, to the eerie tufa towers of California's Mono Lake. Explore the John Muir Trail in the High Sierras, the rugged beauty of the Canadian Rockies, or the slickrock canyons of Utah. Requires free Quicktime player. High speed cable a real advantage for browsing this site.

Parks Canada
http://parkscanada.pch.gc.ca/index_e.asp
Some of the most wonderful sites in Canada are in our National Parks. This is the gateway for all national parks. The virtual tour of Jasper National Park can be viewed at http://www.worldweb.com/parkscanada-jasper/index.html

Astronomy - Picture of the Day
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/
This site offers not only an amazing "picture of the day" of space, but features an extensive archive. Great source of images for your presentations on creation in general, or science lessons about the universe, in particular.

Prayer and Liturgy

Passionist Community Prayer Resources
http://www.cptryon.org/prayer/index.html
Comprehensive prayer resources from the Passionist community.

Sacred Space Home Page
http://www.sacredspace.ie/
The Sacred Space online prayer page is hosted by the Irish Jesuits. It provides a variety of resources for prayer, ranging from online retreats, seasonal reflections and daily scripture meditations.

Minute Meditations - St. Anthony's Messenger Press
http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Minute/default.asp
As the name would indicate, you are invited to take a brief moment from the business of your day to pray. Useful resource for creating your own prayer services as well.

Pray With The Heart
http://prayers.pray-with-the-heart.org/
This site offers a rich collection of individual prayers, litanies, novenas and much more.

Universalis - Prayer Site
http://www.universalis.com/20040324/sitemap.htm
This site provides information related to the daily Liturgy of the Hours. It provides accurate information with regard to the prescribed readings for any given day.

Domestic Church - Prayers for Children
http://www.domestic-church.com/CONTENT.DCC/19980301/SCRMNTL/CHILDPRAY.HTM
While this is not an extensive collection of prayers written by and for use with children, it does contain some creative pieces that evoke the innocence and simplicity of children.

Catholic Prayers
http://www.catholic.net/linksframe.phtml?link=http://www.webdesk.com/catholic/prayers
This is an extensive resource both of traditional prayers and reflections as well as others inspired by contemporary events.

Daily Prayer Online
http://www.pray.com.au/
This Australian site offers both a variety of resources for prayer as well as some interesting, interactive experiences of prayer. There is a separate section on prayer in the classroom organized by grade level.

World Prayers
http://www.worldprayers.org/
The purpose of this website is to gather many of the great prayers rooted in the religious traditions of our planet into an online database representing all life affirming traditions. Many of these prayers have been used for hundreds if not thousands of years. Others are from spiritual contemporaries in today's intricate global fabric. Though these sacred verses arise from divergent paths, voices, languages, cultures and heritages, they all carry within them the same burning flame - the same impassioned love for life and the divine mysteries.

St. Joseph Software - Prayer Site
http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/index.htm
This site features resources, both traditional and contemporary, rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition.

Community of Prayer
http://www.soe.usfca.edu/institutes/icel/prayer.html
This is another rich site featuring a wide range of traditional and contemporary prayers useful for personal and/or liturgical use.

The Interview With God
http://www.theinterviewwithgod.com/
This interesting, on-line prayer experience invites you to take time to consider the place of God in your life.

Taizé Community Site
http://www.taize.fr/
This official site of the Taizé community features a wide variety of resources for prayer and worship, including on-line versions of some of their most famous musical chants

Liturgy Help
http://www.liturgyhelp.com/lithelp/mark/asp/parish.asp
LiturgyHelp.com is a comprehensive range of Lectionary based liturgical and catechetical resources designed to assist the key ministries in the parish to better prepare for liturgy and catechetics, integrating liturgy into their diverse ministries. LiturgyHelp provides very cost effective resources to individual ministers or a complete suite of web services to parish communities and ministry teams.

Liturgical Studies and Liturgical Music
http://www.users.csbsju.edu/~eknuth/itr/ltgy/
Hosted by the College of St. Benedict at St. John's University ( New York), this site offers links to many of the foundational Church documents on liturgy and worship. For anyone interested in doing serious research into the nature of liturgy, this site is an invaluable resource.

Worship Office - Archdiocese of Newark
http://www.rcan.org/worship/
This rich site offers a variety of practical resources for prayer and liturgy. It's use of the Liturgical Calendar to organize information will be particularly helpful for those looking for seasonal prayer and liturgical materials.

Anno Domini - Jesus Through the Centuries In Art
http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/Exhibitions/Annodomini/index.html
For anyone looking for images of Jesus, this site is a goldmine.

It's Catholic
http://www.disciplesnow.com/catholic/
Disciples Now is a web-based ministry for youth focused on the traditions, life, and mission of the Catholic faith community. As a informational resource, Disciples Now provides opportunities to learn, to discuss, and to celebrate the challenges of discipleship in the context of daily life.

Resources for Catholic Educators
http://www.silk.net/RelEd/
Resources for Catholic Educators is a web site offering you links, lesson plans, clip art, colouring pages, crossword puzzles, a newsletter for Catholic catechists, teachers, Directors of Religious Education, parents and all involved in the education of the faith.

Catholic Education Resources
http://www.cloudnet.com/~edrbsass/edthe.htm
This page contains resources and lesson plans for world religions and religious education. It includes many links to sites of particular interest to Catholic educators.

Oremus Bible Browswer
http://bible.oremus.org
The Oremus Bible Browser provides a simple interface to the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. A powerful search engine allows the user to track down biblical passages. In addition, the Authorized Version (or King James Version), and several other versions of the psalms are available. This is a useful resource both for research and liturgical planning.

Bible Gateway
http://bible.gospelcom.net/
BibleGateway.com is a free service for reading and researching scripture online-- all in the language or translation of your choice! It provides advanced searching capabilities based on keywords or scripture references, and various tools to enhance your study of the Bible.

Care of the Earth

Forum on Religion and Ecology
http://environment.harvard.edu/religion/religion/
This site offers a rich variety of the perspectives of the major world religious traditions on the present ecological crisis.

Earth Day Network
http://www.earthday.net/
Founded by the organizers of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network (EDN) promotes environmental citizenship and year round progressive action worldwide. Its mission is to build broad-based citizen support for sound, workable and effective environmental and sustainable development policies for all. Their web site offers an impressive collection of programs, activities, and resources, many of which are directed to the classroom from K-12.

The Earth Charter Initiative
http://www.earthcharter.org/
The Earth Charter is an authoritative synthesis of values, principles, and aspirations that are widely shared by growing numbers of men and women in all regions of the world. The principles of the Earth Charter reflect extensive international consultations conducted over a period of many years. These principles are also based upon contemporary science, international law, and the insights of philosophy and religion. The Earth Charter Youth Initiative (ECYI) is led by a core group of young people from different countries committed to the Earth Charter and active in bringing it to a larger number of young people worldwide.

Mysticism

Christian Mysticism
http://www.innerexplorations.com/chmystext/christia.htm
This site invites you to consider the relationship between the mysticism of John of the Cross and modern attempts to renew the contemplative life like centering prayer, Christian meditation and the Catholic charismatic movement.

Christian Mystics
http://www.christianmystics.com/
The tradition within Christianity of the Christian mystic is a very strong tradition, in spite of what some fundamentalists might assume. On this site, you can review the ideas and writings of traditional Christian mystics as well as discover some new, contemporary voices.

Christian Mysticism
http://www.chrmysticaloutreach.com/pages/1/index.htm
This site contains the lessons in contemplative prayer and Christian mysticism about our guide to this one reality that Jesus left to his followers two thousand years ago; the Holy Spirit. It can be heard, seen and felt within all of good heart and once open to it will guide and direct our lives to the reality that is God. This site includes some practical tips for prayer.

Inner Explorations
http://www.innerexplorations.com/
This site is self-described as a place where Christian mysticism, theology and metaphysics meet Eastern religions, Jungian psychology and a new sense of the earth. It features more than 500 web pages, 2,500 pages of text, and 1,000 images.

Catholic Encyclopaedia (1917) – Mysticism
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10663b.htm
This page offers an academic overview of mysticism as featured in the classic, 1917 version of the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

Christian Mysticism Websites
http://www.praize.com/engine/Prayer/Mysticism/
This page provides links to a variety of sites on mysticism.

Introduction to Christian Mystics – Mystics In Love
http://www.gloriana.nu/mystic.html
This site offers a basic overview of Christian Spirituality, an introduction to several mediaeval mystics and their writings, and links to related pages.

CARFLEO
http://www.ycdsb.edu.on.ca/schools/crec/
Catholic Association of Religious and Family Life Educators of Ontario provides a variety of curriculum resources for Catholic teachers on its own site as well as providing useful links to others. Included are liturgical resources.

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Links to Ontario Catholic Graduate Expectations

A Discerning Believer Formed in the Catholic Faith Community who:
CGE1a Illustrates a basic understanding of the saving story of our Christian faith
CGE1b Participates in the sacramental life of the church and demonstrates an understanding of the centrality of the Eucharist to our Catholic story
CGE1c Actively reflects on God's Word as communicated through the Hebrew and Christian scriptures
CGE1e Speaks the language of life... "recognizing that life is an unearned gift and that a person entrusted with life does not own it but that one is called to protect and cherish it." (Witnesses to Faith)
CGE1f Seeks intimacy with God and celebrates communion with God, others and creation through prayer and worship
CGE1g Understands that one's purpose or call in life comes from God and strives to discern and live out this call throughout life's journey
CGE1h Respects the faith traditions, world religions and the life-journeys of all people of good will
CGE1i Integrates faith with life
 

CGE (Overall) A reflective, creative and holistic thinker who solves problems and makes responsible decisions with an informed moral conscience for the common good.

 
A Reflective and Creative Thinker who:
CGE3a Recognizes there is more grace in our world than sin and that hope is essential in facing all challenges
CGE3b Creates, adapts, evaluates new ideas in light of the common good

CGE3c Thinks reflectively and creatively to evaluate situations and solve problems

CGE3e Adopts a holistic approach to life by integrating learning from various subject areas and experience
 

CGE (Overall) A self-directed, responsible who develops and demonstrates their God-given potential.

 
A Self-directed, Responsible, Life Long Learner who:  
CGE4a Demonstrates a confident and positive sense of self and respect for the dignity and welfare of others
CGE4b Takes initiative and demonstrates Christian leadership.
 

CGE (Overall) A responsible citizen who gives witness to Catholic social teaching by promoting peace, justice and the sacredness of human life.

 
A Responsible Citizen who:
CGE7d Promotes the sacredness of life
CGE7f Respects and affirms the diversity and interdependence of the world's peoples and cultures
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Reflection Questions

Personal and Group Reflections

Personal Reflection:

1. I describe a time when I have had an experience of mystery, wonder and awe ...

2. This experience has impacted on my sense of vocation as a Catholic teacher ...

Small Group Reflection:

1. In our experience, how has any shared individual or collective experience of mystery, wonder and awe reinforced our sense of our school's Catholic identity?

2. In what ways may these experiences have impacted on the curricula and/or the manner in which I present it in the classroom?

Strategies

1. How could we create opportunities within the life of our school community that would allow staff and students to enter more fully into the mystery, wonder and awe of God?

2. What opportunities already exist in the curriculum and the life of the school which allows staff and students to consider more deeply the mystery of God?

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