Struggling to stay Catholic? You're not alone. Faith seeks wonder to flourish. I'll share it when it shows up.

By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear. – Hebrews 11:3 (RSV-CE)

Planets moved through the icy night. Jupiter rose in the East while Uranus hid beneath the moon. Saturn lay low in the South as if biding its time. The November chill swept away all moisture from the air like a curtain, revealing a silent cinema of sky.

Reading esoteric Christianity alongside my Catholic faith, I've gained a new love for the Ptolemaic universe, not as a scientific worldview but as a living metaphor. The cosmos after Copernicus is our teacher, but its subject is limited to the sensory world of movement and matter.

I find it's not only possible but necessary to hold the original worldview alongside it in my imagination: a world of growth and decay, nested lovingly beneath the moon, in the center of concentric spheres of planetary intelligences, beneath the ring of fixed stars, each governed by angelic hierarchies, all descending into visible reality from the invisible Father through the Logos, God the Son. That is the world of the Early Church, the world in which the Incarnation makes sense: the Logos descending into his Creation as the Christ, permeating it like a ferment, distilling it like a spirit to reclaim its true nature and return it to its source.

Original Christians inhabited a pagan cosmos. We can't be moved by the one who moved them without actively imagining the realm in which he moved. The visible world is real and beautiful, yes, because of the invisible world of spirit it reflects.

Where Copernicus and Galileo reveal a cosmology of knowledge, Ptolemy and Hermetic philosophy preserve an anthropology of wisdom. Nights like this deliver the rest of the lesson.

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Except where otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the Catholic Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1965, 1966 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.