Monday, August 22, 2011

Queen of Scientists, Queen of Engineers

As so often happens with my other work, I manage to annoy or at least worry just about everyone at once: the literati and the techs, the pagans and every sort of Christian, the believers and the unbelievers.

You sigh and ask: "All right, Doctor, what is it you're doing now?"

Well... (hee hee!) for some time now I've added two entries into the famous "Litany of Loretto" - that interesting and exquisite list of titles of Mary, the mother of God. I've always liked it, and for many reasons - one of them is its mystic ordering, its "sections", some of which have repeated parts (Virgin..., Mother.., Queen...) and others which do not. Such diverse things as freight trains or DNA or the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements or the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics - seem to underlie the scheme. Of course we Chestertonians already know that "The greatest of poems is an inventory." [GKC Orthodoxy CW1:267] and the idea of making an "inventory" - as limited as it may be - about the glories of Mary is most definitely poetic.

Of course you may already know the famous epigram De Maria nunquam satis = "Of/about Mary [there is/ one could say] never enough." It is, of course, true simply because she is God's most excellent creation, and in speaking of her we speak of Him - but I am not here to study that line, or show how it relates to the clause in the Nicene Creed that states: Per quem omnia facta sunt - that is, "Through Him [Christ] all things were made." It is part of the mystical meditations possible to scientists where in we can begin to examine every branch of science and engineering in new ways, as they relate to the Real Story of our Salvation. Chesterton has a fantastic insight into this truth in his The Everlasting Man as it pertains to literature - I refer to the exceedingly rich paragraph on CW2:380 that starts "To sum up" - the key line of which might be this:
It met the mythological search for romance by being a story and the philosophical search for truth by being a true story.
There is a satisfaction in literature because of the Real (or True) Story of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. But at the same time, the tech fields are not ignored - no, they are exalted as well. For every part, every subsystem of the entire universe, also finds its satisfaction in that Story - or, if we want to transpose terms, we could say that Experiment. God Himself revealed that He considers it so, when (at the conclusion of His work He examined the entire System (which we call the Universe) and saw it was VERY good. [See Gen 1:31]

But that term is also right, because an experiment is (1) something experienced and (2) something immediately present and (3) a sort of trial - and all those things are most definitely true, whether one talks about the Cave of Bethlehem or the Hill of Calvary...

(Shhh! Come very close to the screen, so I can whisper the secret.)

Or the empty tomb.

And so, while it is right and just to claim Mary as the Queen of patriarchs and prophets, of apostles and martyrs, of confessors and virgins, we may also (at least in private) claim her as queen of writers and musicians and artists, of farmers, fishermen, and hunters, of miners, builders and teachers - and scientists and engineers. All things are to be united in everlasting kingdom of Christ - we must therefore obey our Queen who told us "Do whatever He tells you." [Jn 2:5]

Queen of Scientists, pray for us.
Queen of Engineers, pray for us.
Help us do whatever He tells us.


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