Feeling Spacey

Honestly, I am too lazy and tired at this moment to go back and count the days since my last post. How pathetic is that? Pretty pathetic.

Most of the weekdays have had me listening to Mass in the car or on my phone at work (at lunchtime; I’m not shirking my workday responsibilities!) As always, these do not have the same oomph as being at an actual Mass. With Lent coming next week, part of my “sacrifice” will be to get to as many Masses in person as possible.

While I always seem to find something inspirational in the daily readings or the homilies, I received my greatest dose of happiness this week not from a Mass but from a BBC news story I was listening to on the radio. The story was about the first Apollo mission; more specifically, it centered around the crew members’ Christmas Eve broadcast.

The astronauts knew that this would be a momentous occasion, and they spent a lot of time thinking about the best words to capture the moment and what they were feeling. On December 24, 1968, this is what they said:

William Anders:

For all the people on Earth the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you”. 

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”

Jim Lovell:

“And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”

Frank Borman:

“And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.”

“And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you – all of you on the good Earth.”

This reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from the late John Glenn:

“But to look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is, to me, impossible. It just strengthens my faith.”

It’s interesting to note that the founder of American Atheists sued the U.S. government over the words said by the Apollo 8 crew. She was unsuccessful. I can only imagine how amazing space must be to strengthen the faith of those who travel there. Perhaps if the American Atheists founder had been invited on a mission, she might have found religion.

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