by Ken Rolheiser
How Great Thou Art

Recently I took the Big and Little Quiz on-line. I achieved eleven out of thirteen. I missed the largest Ocean, which is the Pacific, and I missed the largest bill in circulation in the US which is the hundred-dollar bill.

The biggest thing I know is the sun. At ninety-three million miles away, it heats our earth and makes life possible. It is twenty-seven million degrees on its surface and has one point three million earths within it. Its light dancing across the horizon creates beauty no artist can replicate.

And yet, after one glimpse of the transfigured Christ, Thomas Aquinas declared, “All that I have written seems like straw.” God revealed himself to us through the birth of Jesus and reveals himself daily through creation.

The visionary Josefa Menedez saw Jesus: “He was standing at the end of the refectory, resplendent in beauty, His white raiment shining in the dusk of evening. His right hand was uplifted in blessing, and as He passed in front of me, I heard Him say: ‘Here I am in the midst of My beloved ones, for in them I find comfort and rest.’ ”

The next day Our Lord spoke to her: “Many are willing to entertain Me when I visit them with consolation. Many receive Me with joy in Holy Communion, but few welcome Me when I visit them with My Cross. When a soul is stretched on the cross, and is surrendered to My Will, that soul glorifies Me . . . and consoles Me, and is very close to Me.”

The challenge is always to accept our sufferings, life’s pains and sorrows, and offer them in the spirit of Christ’s sacrifice of the Cross, for our sins and for the salvation of others. Then we are ready to contemplate the greatness of God.

How great is our God? “God is beyond the powers of human expression. "He removes the mountains before they know it; He overturns them in His anger. He shakes the earth out of its place, and the pillars beneath it tremble" (Job 9:5-6). "He alone stretches out the heavens and treads upon the crests of the sea" (Job 9:8). 

“When we have a more realistic awareness of Him, everything comes into right perspective. We realize our privilege to be in His kingdom. We recognize that the greatest honor possible for a human being is to praise and serve God. 

“We feel blessed to suffer (Romans 8:17), even to die for Him. We almost faint to think we receive the all-holy God into our bodies in Holy Communion. When we have the fear of the Lord, we disdain a minimalistic, mediocre Christianity and abandon ourselves to a life of joyful, sacrificial commitment to the Lord.” ( 

How great is our God? The words of “How Great Thou Art” remind us: 
And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in –
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin!

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art! 

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

 (564 words)