Meteor showers occur when dust or particles from asteroids or comets enter Earth’s atmosphere at a very high speed. When they hit the atmosphere, meteors rub against air particles and create friction, heating the meteors. The heat vaporizes most meteors, creating what we call shooting stars. Most meteors are very small, some as tiny as a grain of sand but they become visible at around 60 miles up.
Tiny grains of sand visible all around the world as they burn up.
To see a meteor shower you need to be patient, and allow your eyes to get used to the darkness.
A meteor is a swift and brilliant light. Gone before our brains can barely register that we have seen it. Aren’t our individual lives like that? A shooting star, a meteor, barely registering with the rest of the world before it is gone? Yet if a grain of sand can make a light bright enough for the world to see, why not us?
Perhaps we can learn something from meteors. St. Teresa of Avila in her autobiography, The Way of Perfection, says, “holiness does not consist of doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” We don’t have to be big and flashy to make a bright light in the world. A lot of people won’t see us because they won’t be looking and we won’t be here long anyway, in the big scheme of things. But that doesn’t mean we can’t shine out, “like shining from shook foil,” to use Gerard Manley Hopkins words. Even a grain of sand, something smaller than a grape nut, can make a light big enough for the whole world to see. What will our light look like as it flashes across the history of humanity? What trail of stardust will it leave in its wake? Perhaps we will just be one small, momentary streak in a sky scattered with light, but what beauty! And God, the Divine Artist will see our flash of light and pass a sigh and welcome us home.
And so we pray:
Divine Artist – Inspire us,
Bearer of Light – Enlighten us
Sustainer of the Earth – Support us
Morning Star – Guide us