Faith and Science: Jesus Risen From the Soil
The Vatican Observatory published a brief portion of an Easter sermon by Gregor Mendel, founder of the science of genetics, in which he expounds on Jesus’s words that “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
Benedictine College offers an Astronomy major and the college’s new Daglen Observatory is a part of the Vatican Observatory Consortium. The scientist-priest Gregor Mendel is featured in two places on campus: His is painted with the great intellectuals of Catholic history in the entryway to St. Benedict Hall, and a photograph appears with him in the entryway of Westerman Hall, the 100,000 square foot building which is the finest small-college STEM building in America. The building is dedicated to the harmony of faith and the sciences.
Mendel’s words follow.
Jesus appeared to the Disciples after the Resurrection in different forms. To Mary Magdalene he so appeared, that she was inclined to take him for a gardener.
These apparitions of Jesus are very meaningful, and our reason can only puzzle them out with difficulty. He appears as a gardener. This man plants seed in prepared ground. The soil must exert a certain physical-chemical influence, by which the seed comes up. And after all, the soil does not reach this point of itself; the sun’s warmth and light along with rain must come into it, together with which, the soil brings about flourishing.
The supernatural life in its own sprouting, is cleansed of sins by sanctifying grace coming into them, and so the souls of men prepared for it are deepened in the same grace, and man must through his good works during this life seek to preserve this. Supernatural nourishment must also join in, that is) the Lord’s body, which preserves the supernatural life yet further, develops it, and brings it to its fulfillment. So must nature and supernature unite with each other to bring about holiness in man.
Man must give every ounce of his work to this effort, and then God will give its flourishing. It is true: our beloved God gives the seed, the talent, the grace, and man has only to work, to accept the seed, to bring the money to the bankers. By this means “we have life, and that in abundance.”