When I look at the stars, I find it stunning and perhaps startling, that while in our galaxy alone there may be thousands of star systems with exoplanets to explore, There are many, many more galaxies speckling the universe with each its own stars and planets. I see a vast world, like the depths of the ocean, waiting to be dived into.
I have neither the wings of a Cherubim nor am I yet ready or able to withstand such a sublime journey. In the meantime, therefore, I would like to construct and launch a space probe. It would be an extension of my eyes and hands that right now can only barely reach ten feet from the surface of the earth. Using it, I would also like to test new innovations that could revolutionize human space travel. If I but found the time somewhere in my life, this is surely what I would do.
But this is when I stop and reflect, asking myself a poignant question: if I had the time and resources to pursue such an endeavor, would it not be better to pursue service to the poor? As I pass a glance at the television, the saddening image of a child so grievously wounded somewhere on the other side of the world catches my eye and my mind. Do I let it touch my heart? Perhaps. But nonetheless, the two images, the one of heaven, the other of earth, seem to stand as mutually exclusive cares in my heart.
One night, I read from a blog called The MoralMindField and written by a certain Brian Green. He tells the story of a time when he visited a family on an island who lived in a little tin roofed shack. They, after verifying through him that men had actually been to the moon, and upon hearing that they came back to earth, said that “men should return to the moon again”. His take on this encounter is that these scientific achievements inspire mankind as a whole, including the poor, and may be even a source of hope for them.
So, even the suffering gaze up there, searchingly, longingly. However, I still wonder if it ever brings the questions “What does it mean that God exists?”, or, “Does he remain out of reach?”
It is quite the contrary, for we are His Hands. I would like to begin an organization in which it will not be merely me, but the poor, the disabled, and the orphaned who will take part in building a spacecraft. Space exploration would not be an occasion of neglect but an opportunity for unity and inspiration, and a reminder of the value of existence. At a time when, for some, little more than the brutal gravity of Man’s suffering seems to exist, it would be a boon to be able to tell the world that, “Truly, someone has flown into the very depths of Heaven.”