Star Dust

The announcement that scientists have discovered the oldest material known to exist on earth in the Murchison meteorite is thrilling (see, for example, what the BBC made of it here: Older than the earth itself, older than the sun, it is literally star dust — fragments of real stars — and 7.5 billion years old. That conjures up a lovely vision of something glittery and bright. The reality, however, is slightly more prosaic. Ground up, shavings from the meteorite apparently smell like rotten peanut butter, then have to be dissolved in acid for testing.

I’m sure many a homilist will be using this report to make a point which, depending on their temperament, may include any of the following

  • our Creator God existed even before this;
  • our celebrity culture stinks and destroys those who embrace it;
  • the world was made 4,004 years ago and to deny that is to deny scripture, so this can’t be true.

Only the first appeals to me. The discoveries of science are rather like what St Bernard says of the Blessed Virgin Mary, ‘a wonder and a joy’. The Murchison meteorite and its fellows may hold more secrets to be uncovered, but the lessons we draw from them mainly depend on us and our openness to the unknown. A small mind and a small heart often go together. Let’s hope that ours will be large, with more than a scattering of another kind of star dust, the kind that really matters: love of God and others.


6 thoughts on “Star Dust”

  1. Amen

    I like how Br Guy Consolmagno the current director of the Vatican Observatory puts it when he considers God being thrilled when we his creatures figure out something like this, saying that he likes to imagine God chuckling and saying ”by George they got it, lets see what part of the puzzle they figure out next” All of God’s creation is wonderful !

  2. It’s the first one for me as well.

    I think God has already told us everything we need to know about how to pass this phase of ‘life’.

  3. With “Stardust” I cannot help but recall the chorus from Joni Mitchells 1969 record Woodstock
    “We are stardust
    Billion year old carbon
    We are golden
    Caught in the devil’s bargain
    And we’ve got to get ourselves
    back to the garden”
    I am wary of drawing a direct religious meaning or indeed the songwriters intent from a few lines of a secular pop song written 50 years ago, but I do know that this song is profound and moving. Its on You Tube of course if one wants to search it out.

    I apologise Sister, if I have breached any blog rules by mentioning a record.

    • Not at all! Please sing on. In general, the only things the community and I won’t allow are attacks on others and some rather crudely formulated subversions of Christian doctrine. Of course, I’d say we are already back in the Garden, being something more wonderful than stardust — the Body of Christ and ‘lovely in limbs not his.’

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