Saturday, November 12, 2016



We’ve all heard about the “expanding universe,” first posited by the American astronomer Edwin Hubble in 1929. But we also know that if it’s expanding, gravity should eventually slow that expansion and even reverse it. But in the 1990’s two independent  teams of astrophysicists did some calculations and concluded that not only is that expansion not slowing down, it’s actually speeding up!

Calculating the amount of energy needed to overcome the force of gravity, scientists have had to posit the existence of other things in the universe besides what we can see. They now figure that a mysterious something called “dark energy” makes up roughly 68 percent of the universe, and “dark matter” makes up another 27 percent. Do the math: the "normal" matter that we are familiar with makes up less than 5 percent of the cosmos around us!

I’m fascinated by this theory that we're surrounded by all this mysterious undetectable energy. The universe is mostly the empty space between the particles that we call the observable universe.

This week at mass we heard Jesus telling his disciples, “The kingdom of God is among you.” The kingdom that Jesus began is a whole new way of relating with God and with one another, that is, a whole new way of filling the space between us.

The kingdom exists not so much inside each of us as in the spaces between each of us. We get to decide the character of each of those spaces. I freely choose how to fill that space between me and a student, between me and a street beggar, between me and a brother monk, or a spouse, and so on.


The results of our presidential election have forced us to look at the wide spaces between various groups. I don’t need to list them, do I? It seems to me that whenever we pray “thy kingdom come,” we are committing ourselves to improve the quality of the “space between us,” on every level from the most personal to the national and international level. It is in those relationships that the kingdom will (or will not) come into being on earth as it is in heaven.

The wonderful Irish writer and poet John O’Donohue wrote a book of blessings entitled To Bless the Space Between Us  in 2008. Besides giving me the idea for this post by its title, the book offered me the following blessing, which I offer to you and invite you invoke it on our president elect.

“For One Who Holds Power.”

May the gift of leadership awaken in you as a
Keep you mindful of the providence that calls you to

As high over the mountains the eagle spreads its
May your perspective be larger than the view from
the foothills.

When the way is flat and dull in times of gray
May your imagination continue to evoke horizons.

When thirst burns in times of drought,
May you be blessed to find the wells.

May you have the wisdom to read time clearly
And know when the seed of change will flourish.

In your heart may there be a sanctuary
For the stillness where clarity is born.

May your work be infused with passion and creativity
And have the wisdom to balance compassion and

May your soul find the graciousness
To rise above the fester of small mediocrities.
May your power never become a shell
Wherein your heart would silently atrophy.
May you welcome your own vulnerability
As the ground where healing and truth join.

May integrity of soul be your first ideal.
The source that will guide and bless your work.

My the Lord of the Kingdom indeed bless the space between us in our country and in the community of nations, and give us the grace we need to establish the Kingdom on earth through our openness, our generosity, our humility and self-sacrifice. Amen.

Do I hear an "Amen!" from anyone out there?