Thursday, December 21, 2006

December 21, 2006 (S4) Glutamine

Glutamine - the Carrying of the Cross (S4)

December 21, 2006 - (Oriens) - Three days to the Vigil!

Today is the winter solstice, the "turning point" for the Earth in the journey around the Sun. I was just thinking how we travel about half a billion miles in one year, which means we go over 60,000 miles an hour, or about 18 miles in a second. Real smooth ride, no?

And the Sun plays its own role in our countdown, as we await the coming of the Sun of Justice, foretold by the Prophets:

O Oriens! O Rising Dawn! Come to us with Your light and Your warmth, lest we die in the cold and the dark! Hurry, and do not delay!

The journey through Advent is nearly complete, as we today we look at that last journey of Jesus. Like Isaac so long ago, He carries the wood up the hill, to the place where God will provide the Sacrifice.

How strange the symmetries to be observed here! There are indeed four amino acids, closely related to each other, which seem to hint at the Mysteries we consider this week. For S4, then, let us choose Glutamine:

Glutamine (abbreviated Gln or Q)
RNA Codes:

Glutamine has only two codes, both of which begin with CA, and are followed by a purine (A or G). Note that these mimic the codes for Glutamic Acid, which we saw yesterday, which had a G as the first base.

Glutamine is the "amine" derived from Glutamic Acid. That is, where Glutamic Acid has the -OH (hydroxide, or alcohol) group in the side chain, Glutamine has the -NH2 or amide group.

The side chain of Glutamine is hydrophilic, suggesting our Lord's Public Life; it contains nitrogen, which suggests a Marian connection. It is not in the Gospels, but remembered in Tradition, and recalled in the Stations, that Jesus met His mother on that journey to Calvary. The Vietnamese give that Fourth Station a deeply touching title: "His Majesty the Lord Jesus, carrying the Holy Cross, meets Her Majesty the Mother". (A pun on the words "cross" and "price" is lost in the translation.) Indeed, for reference, the only Stations of this mystery which appear in the Gospels are First (Pilate's Condemnation), Second (Taking up the Cross), Fifth (Simon the Cyrene) and Eighth (Weeping Women). But who can doubt that He fell, and more than once?

Ah, by the merits of those falls, may God grant us the strength to avoid ever falling into sin!


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