by Sister Mary Leah Plante, RSHM

LOS ANGELES, CA. Mystery, surprise, the only words that surface when I reflect on religion and science and an unfolding cosmos. I think when the practitioners of re- ligion and science are open, the cosmos teaches.

Science seems to have learned that even though our time is organized in days, months and years and divided into seconds, minutes, and hours; the past, present and future are all together in our every now.

Even though our liturgical seasons take a year to experience, we live the meanings of Advent, Christmas, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost in the moments of our every day waiting, birthing, renewing, sharing food and ourselves, experiencing loss, “limbo” moments, rising, absence and regularly accepting our roles of building communities the gospels envision.

Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme make us aware of the principles by which the cosmos lives and unfolds when they alert us to The Universe Story. I cannot be reminded enough of how Universe teaches appreciation for one’s uniqueness, nothing like any other. In fact, Brian Swimme has taught that the greatest contribution humans can make is to be different from everyone else—what fun! This self-appreciation goes hand-in-hand with complete acceptance of the individuality of others. These qualities create an openness to give and to receive and communion just happens! What a mystery; what a surprise!

Stories from the new sciences and the new theologies reveal close connections between elements invisible to the naked eye. Experiments have shown that anything once connected to any other remains connected even when separated by time, distance or death. Our own liturgy expresses this when we pray that life is not taken away; it has only changed.

Similar to the unfolding Cosmos, religion and science have the capacity to keep us involved in going ever more deeply into mystery. Their starting points may be different. Scientific approaches may follow the path of observing from the outside before moving inward in search of essence; religion seems to define and then con- template essence from within before moving outward. Each in its own way reveals how crucial the practices of observing, of reflecting, of spiraling into one’s deep to be with the Who or the What residing there. Familiarity with that LIFE within prepares us to believe that in its unfolding the Cosmos reveals all is one and all belong.

Source: RSHM Soundings UNRAVELLING THE MYSTERY OF “MYSTERY” Volume XIV, Number 1 Spring 2011
Sister Mary Leah Plante, RSHM, Los Angeles, CA, is the Archivist for the Western American Province.
Photo: Frantzou Fleurine-unsplash