Why God is the Perfect Author

 

bible-1850859_640

“None can sense more deeply than you artists, ingenious creators of beauty that you are, something of the pathos with which God at the dawn of creation looked upon the work of his hands. A glimmer of that feeling has shone so often in your eyes when—like the artists of every age—captivated by the hidden power of sounds and words, colours and shapes, you have admired the work of your inspiration, sensing in it some echo of the mystery of creation with which God, the sole creator of all things, has wished in some way to associate you.”- Saint John Paul II, Letter to Artists

Not many people know how much work goes into creating a wonderful story. Whether we are writing a novel or making a movie or a painting or a play, we are creating new worlds. This process, known as “worldbuilding,” involves a lot of research and  creativity. Whenever I work on a story I’m writing, I am basically reliving the creation from Genesis.

I realize that not everyone who reads this believes in God, but it’s hard to argue that this beautiful universe that we live in came to be by mere chance. All the stars, galaxies, and planets we see when we look at pictures of space aren’t just floating balls of gas and rock. To me, they are works of art. The vastness of space reminds us that there is more to life than just our petty squabbles and the problems in our world.

Zoom down to our tiny planet and think about what this world could’ve been. I heard it said somewhere that if our planet was placed just the tiniest bit closer or the tiniest bit further from the sun, it would be uninhabitable. We are given this beautiful world with huge oceans and all sorts of different environments and climates. Variety is the spice of life.

Which begs the first question: Why do natural disasters happen?

It’s part of the worldbuilding. Earthquakes led to creating the continents. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires all clear out parts of nature, but new things grow from the destruction. Climate change is definitely a factor, but we’ve been doing a lot of damage to the ozone layer since the Industrial Revolution. There is nothing new under the sun.

God doesn’t plan for these disasters to happen. He just allows them to be a “plot twist” in our lives. Some people look at the devastation and question how God could exist. The answer is found in His best creation: our fellow human beings.

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Rita, I have seen more good people than bad get the spotlight on the news. Disasters have a way of either bringing out the best in us or the worst in us. The good news is that God created humans with the power to choose how we feel.

Which leads to Inevitable Question #2: Why do bad people exist? Why do terrorists keep attacking? Why do we constantly hear about people acting in such atrocious ways? If God created each and every person on this planet, why are there so many bad people?

Once again, it goes back to choices. God gives everyone the power to choose and choices and the consequences of these choices shape the stories of our lives. One great example can be seen in the Marvel Netflix series Daredevil. Both Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk were people who grew up in New York City and had difficult circumstances in their childhoods. However, one chose to retaliate by doing something evil (even if it meant protecting the ones he loves) and the other was put into the care of good people (even if he did have a jerk for a mentor). Wilson Fisk’s choices led to him becoming the head of the largest crime organization in the city. Matt Murdock chose to become a lawyer to defend the helpless and later chose to be a vigilante when the law wasn’t enough to take down the bad guys.

People are raised in circumstances that shape who they become. Each person has the capacity to change and rise above whatever hardships they experienced, but some choose to stay where they are. The key here is what we choose.

It’s a bit hard to wrap your head around the idea that believing in God leads to having a life with better choices and more freedom, but that’s how a good story goes. Remember how in Star Wars when Luke chooses to trust in the Force instead of the computer that was targeting the exhaust port in the Death Star? Star Wars isn’t a perfect parallel for a faith-filled life, but I do like how being a Jedi relies on having faith and being detached from consuming emotions.

What exactly is the point of this ramble? To quote the Doctor, “we are all stories in the end.” I know this post might sound crazy, but I just want to show you that this universe, this world, and each and every single person gives evidence that there is a Creator. So much work goes into creating a story. So much work gets put into creating a world and all the characters and conflicts in a work of fiction. The world that we live in is no different.

The Legacy of Pope John Paul II

Today is the first feast day of Pope St. John Paul II. Even though I was born in 1990, I still consider myself part of the JP2 Generation. It’s just that for me, I learned more about the great pope after his passing. While Leah Darrow was beginning to turn her life around as she heard the news of Pope John Paul II’s passing and Fr. Roderick was building a following for his podcast, I was lost in a California daze. As a child, I didn’t know much about the pope and took his presence for granted because at the time, my world was limited to the Central New Jersey suburbs of Monmouth County and New York City.

It wasn’t until I started college that I learned more about Pope John Paul II. I watched a performance of his beautiful play The Jeweler’s Shop, read some of his encyclicals and letters, and learned about his life. His road to sainthood was a frequent topic of conversation amongst my friends. I often found myself wishing that I could have some kind of time machine so that I could’ve seen the pope in his prime.

But it turned out that even after his death, Pope John Paul II would make a personal impact on my life. One of the beautiful things about Catholicism is that the ones we love never really leave us when they die. When it comes to the holy men and women of the Church, there’s an assurance that their souls are in heaven.

When it came time for Pope John Paul II’s canonization, I was back in California. This time I was just visiting my cousin for her 18th birthday party, which took place the same day as the canonization. Once the party was over, I went to my hotel room and watched a livestream of the canonization via YouTube. Some of my friends were quick to point out how they used Pope John Paul II’s cross in the procession while I was excited at the sight of Pope Emeritus Benedict.

Although I eventually fell asleep (time difference between California and Vatican City), I felt the presence of Pope John Paul II as I watched the livestream. I realize now that the legacy of Pope John Paul II was there and it’s best seen by what he left behind: a generation of people who were inspired by him, countless priests and bishops who strive to follow his example, and 2 popes who continue to bring the world together.

As for me, I hope that I continue to learn more about Pope John Paul II and join the others who are carrying his legacy for the next generation.