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A full solar eclipse reveals the extraordinary beauty of the sun’s corona, which in turn reveals the intricate lines of the sun’s magnetic field.  See a larger photo and read more about the solar corona here.

ht: Fr. Cory Sticha, via Plurk

The Christmas season officially ends today, with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Today’s first reading contains a favorite passage of mine, Isaiah 42:1-4.  I am partial to the translation in my brand new Ignatius Bible:

Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him,
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not fail or be discouraged
till he has established justice on the earth;
and the islands wait for his law.

I especially like the part about the bruised reed and the dimly burning wick, and the Messiah’s forbearance toward them.  It’s a beautiful expression of God’s mercy and gentleness, especially toward those who are broken and weak and perhaps seemingly worthless.

Sometimes it is tempting for us–as it was for the prophet Jonah–to grow impatient or discontent with God’s forbearance toward those whom we may consider hopeless or undeserving.  Like some of our Jewish ancestors, we may want the Messiah to be a fierce warrior who wreaks vengeance on our enemies in this world.

I’m afraid I have those moments.  And yet when I look at my life and the many times that God has spared me and cared for me, despite my unworthiness–all the times He has healed me and made me whole, all the times He has rekindled the fire of my life, my spirit, and my hope–when I remember all of His actions toward me, I realize the arrogance, injustice, hypocrisy, and ingratitude within me when I have “those moments.”  In those moments, we turn against humankind, against our own nature, and throw God’s goodness back in His face in an act of rebellion that has Lucifer’s name written all over it.

Ironically, in those moments, we are more broken and dimly burning than anybody.  And still God has mercy upon us, mend us, and fans us back to life.

Ah… His goodness and magnanimity take my breath away sometimes!

And my breathlessness has just been compounded by looking out my window at the rising moon–huge and with a golden hue, as if it had been dipped in honey.  When I was a very little child, I thought that’s what people meant when they spoke of “honeymoons”!  And that after people got married, they took a trip to the “honeymoon.”  Just thought I’d share that!  ;)

[UPDATE 1] And now a couple of hours later, the moon is higher and has that pure-white Communion Host look that is equally as breath-taking!

[UPDATE 2] As if the moon weren’t awesome enough, I just saw this at Father Z’s:

saturn

From Astronomy Picture of the Day.  Gosh, I’m starting to have regrets about not becoming an astronomer.  Yes, AGAIN.  But I still don’t “get” math, so I guess I’ll have to be content with just admiring and sighing over the beauty and splendor of our universe, and of our God.  I can live with that!

… or do you also look up at the beautiful full moon and think of a Communion Host?  Ignoring the grey splotches, of course, which isn’t hard to do when it’s so luminous and white.

I’m laughing at how my former pagan self would bristle at my “baptism” of the full moon.  She’d consider it a special kind of lunacy.

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