BBC Radio 2’s Pause For Thought: Holiness

  • This morning I was on BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought segment, reflecting on the subject of holiness. Here is the text of the recording.

    Last year we were all mesmerised by reports from the Large Hadron Collider that scientists were on the verge of finding the Higgs Boson particle.

    Even more exciting than the science was the intense thirst on display during the search, the thirst for bigger meaning, and an understanding of how the universe works. The intensity of the quest for meaning made it, for me, a holy search.

    That the Higgs Boson is called The God particle I don’t find heretical: instead I see it as an expression of the human yearning to understand what is around us and our place in it. The search connects the biggest questions of all: how did our universe come into being? How do we exist? To the very tiniest of creations: the most elusive of particles, the Higgs Boson.

    God, after all, is the name we give to the Divine, the source, the Creator, the Ultimate, the Beginning and the End.

    That’s why the small pervasive nature of the Higgs Boson excites me: because holiness is something that is everywhere, and we are constantly connected to.

    We think of holiness as outside of our daily experience, as something grand or unreachable. I can understand that. That’s what we are brought up to believe, that holiness is located in ornate religious buildings, restricted to special locations, or only found in people who have dedicated their lives to faith, religion or charity.

    Such holy places and people do take us outside of ourselves. We need that, because it is so easy to get engrossed in the daily grind of work, chores, bills and obligations. We long to break the cycle, wishing our days away until we can go away, or rest on bank holidays. We then take advantage of the forced pause to rest, recuperate and occasionally to reflect.

    But if we can enforce that pause ourselves during the mundane happenings of our lives, then the stress and even the tedium can become holy, a moment to be treasured. A beautiful flower, a warming cup of coffee, the smile from an innocent child, they are all gifts for us to enjoy. When one of those moments happens to you today, cherish it, because something small but amazing, something holy, has just happened to you.

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