Tuesday, 22 June 2010


O.K -I'm not that old, even though I may be past my prime! In fact dinosaurs lived long ago and became extinct millions of years ago. So, I've never seen one. Nor am I likely to. But their remains have been fossilized and these are fascinating. If you've seen the film, 'Jurassic Park' you will know that some dinosaurs were enormous. The name 'dinosaur' means 'Powerful Lizard.' Some of them certainly lived up to that name and were shapely.. weird and wonderful!

I, like many others, am fascinated by dinosaurs, and with the other beasties which lived in that period. In fact I'm proud to say I have a fossil of a small ammonites, which lived about sixty millions years ago -long, long before people inhabited the earth. The fossilized remains of that small creature, resting on my mantle piece, take me back to the age of the dinosaur. That puts small-time me in perspective!

Suddenly these weird creatures of long ago became extinct. Scientists suggest that there must have been some cataclysmic event which wiped them out. Possibly a dramatic change in climate, perhaps caused by an enormous meteorite falling into the Gulf of Mexico, or an unusually large volcanic eruption. Whatever the cause, there was widespread extinction of many life forms. Even the most powerful of creatures were vulnerable to the immense forces of nature. We puny creatures wouldn't have stood a chance -if we'd been around in those days.

As I look at my ancient ammonite my mind reels at the thought that it lived so long ago. We human beings are a mere blip in the passage of time. We seem so insignificant in comparison with the age of the dinosaurs, which itself lasted millions of years. The Psalmist expresses my sense of wonder and awe, "What is man that you, (God), are mindful of him, that you care for him?" (Ps. 8. 4). And yet, and yet Almighty God has been mindful of us. He has made us in His own image and likeness. He has called us to share His own life and happiness. The Son of God has even become one of us -a human being. He has lived among us, has died for us and has risen from the grave for us. God did none of this for any of His other creatures -not even the magnificent dinosaurs.

I'm filled with a deep sense of wonder at what God has done for us people. The greatness of His love has raised us from the smallness of our creatureliness. God has indeed exalted the lowly and put down the mighty! In a Christmas sermon Pope Saint Leo the Great wrote,
"O Christian remember your dignity!"
-not something we deserve, but something freely given us by God, simply because He loves us and want us to share His very life, enjoying His company and happiness. If God can love and respect us so much we have no right to despise ourselves or anyone else.

And as I marvel at the dinosaurs I'm filled with wonder at the great variety in creation. Each animal or plant gives glory to God, simply by being itself. We people can reflect on God's creation and can speak. We should thank and praise Him for the wonder of His creatures, both the tiny and the huge ones. Each of them reflects something of His glory. And we people are the most amazing of all His creatures.

So, I thank God for the dinosaurs. Even though they became extinct long ago and I can never see them they can still lead me to God -without their knowing it. Just to think about tyrannosaurus rex makes me feel puny. I'm forced to wonder that God should even notice me. And yet I'm far more important to Him than the largest and most powerful of dinosaurs. My amazement grows as I reflect on the millions of years separating the dinosaurs and me. But if the dinosaurs cut me down to size, God's love lifts me up to share His eternal life and happiness. It is in this sense of wonder, inspired by the enormous dinosaurs and my small ammonite fossil, that I meet the God of glory.

A final thought -although I'm fascinated by dinosaurs I would be terrified if I ever met one!

Isidore O.P.

Next week Isidore will meet God in Scavenging.'

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