Not now, if ever!
On November 2, 2017 – the feast of All Souls – Fr. Fred Power, SJ passed over into eternal life. For 56 years, he promoted the Canadian Apostleship of Prayer Association and edited its Canadian Messenger magazine for 46 years. Most recently, he was Chaplain at the Canadian Jesuits Infirmary at Pickering, Ontario.
Fr. Power was a frequent contributor to igNation. In 2015, his “A Guide to Reading the Bible” covered the bible in a 44 part series. And – under the pen name of Fr. Benign, SJ – Fr. Power offered an explanation of the Catholic Catechism in the 14 part series “What We Believe.” At the age of 94, he was still contributing articles – in August of 2017 an article on writing and – today – igNation posts Fr. Power’s final article – “Not Now, if Ever” – which he submitted in late September.
Living on a 21 acre estate of parkland with a forested area leading to a deep valley and a stream provides ample opportunity for reflection on the beauty of God’s creation. Not even one blade of grass was made by a human.
At the same time, many of the retreatants who stroll on these grounds have in their hands a small cell phone that gives access to a vast library of information upon call.
All this is made possible by inventions from the world of science that never ceases to produce new wonders that defy the imagination to conceive. It can lead to such deep awe of the potential of human invention that one might be tempted to bow down in veneration of these clever humans like was done in ages past to the gods of the ancient world.
But in strolling around our parkland one walks on lawns with millions of living blades of grass with not one blade has ever been made by a human. I say so far, in response to a scientist who cautioned me about being too absolute in my conclusion.
He pointed out that a lot is known already about the ‘primordial soup’ from which life emerged, according to the generally accepted theory. that one should hesitate to be categorical about what may or may not be discovered in the future.
For the time being at least, it is safe to give God the total credit for all living things,—plants, shrubs ,trees. Insects, ants in their millions, animals on land, in the sea, in the air, and even human beings. We can include, too, other creatures like angels in whom we believe by God’s grace through revelation.
Of course, beginning life is only the first step. There is growth and duplication and offspring and proliferation and continuity of species by whatever process is relevant. .At times the continuation of the species seems to have specific .characteristics.
An example could be in bees and hornets. On Labour Day in September we had an outdoor barbecue luncheon at out Jesuit Infirmary in Pickering, Ontario. Before too long some hornets joined us seeking to share in the food.
Those hornets were homeless having been excluded from their nest by some militant hornets who had the responsibility to keep out the ones who had gathered most of the honey during the previous months.
The purpose was to save the food for the coming months for the queen hornet and her few assistants and especially for the larvae who would hatch to become the next generation of hornets.
Those hornets who were outside had served their purpose and would die before long. The new generation was safe and sound in the hive with an ample supply of food when needed.
May we mention also that honey is rather an unique food. It does not require special conditions for preservation. Pots of honey have been discovered in Egyptian tombs that was placed there thousands of years ago. The honey was easily recognized and showed no sign of decaying into garbage.
Indeed, for a scientist to duplicate life is a major problem.To develop even one species like a honey bee or hornet is not very likely, to say the least. I rest my case with its conclusion: Not now, if ever.
All photos courtesy of Brendan McManus, SJ