Volume > Issue > Extreme Sacrilege, Extreme Consequences

Extreme Sacrilege, Extreme Consequences


By Michael J. Miller | January 2003
Michael J. Miller translated Priesthood and Diaconate by Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller of Regensburg, Germany, for Ignatius Press.

Torrential rains hit Philadelphia many years ago. I commented on the unseasonable weather to a grade-school principal, a nun. She replied, with no trace of humor or irony, “It’s because of the space shuttle.”

Sister Maria, who always wore her habit, was a very intelligent and practical woman, so I was stunned by what I took for superstitious nonsense. Noticing my expression, she added matter-of-factly, “You can’t interfere with nature without causing some sort of reaction.”

Later on I pondered what might be the consequences of burning tons of rocket fuel and releasing giga-calories into every level of the atmosphere along with the exhaust. Sister Maria became the voice of reason, and I realized that those who expect Mother Nature to absorb the consequences without batting an eye are the superstitious ones.

There is biblical precedent for Sister Maria’s line of thinking. In chapter 12 of the First Book of Samuel, the prophet chides the chosen people for demanding a king to reign over them, even though the Lord their God is their king. “‘Now therefore stand still and see this great thing which the Lord will do before your eyes. Is it not wheat harvest today? I will call upon the Lord, that He may send thunder and rain; and you shall know and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking for yourselves a king.’ So Samuel called upon the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel” (1 Sam. 12:16-18). Instead of trusting in the Lord, the people imagined that having a king, like the surrounding nations, would bring them greater prosperity.

In August 2002 the river cities in central and eastern Europe were flooded by torrential rains. The calamitous natural disaster took its toll in human lives.

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