A Glacial Reminder
You cannot drive to Glacier Bay, and you cannot stay there.
But if you are lucky, you can sail around it in a ship and watch mountains, waterfalls and massive rivers of ancient ice passing on either side.
It seems a primeval place — in a state of evolution.
A National Park Service ranger aboard the ship I sailed on this week noted that the glacier we were looking at today was not the same glacier it was yesterday, nor would it be the same tomorrow.
As she said this, blocks of ice — former parts of the glacier that were now no bigger than little rowboats — drifted by in the light-green water.
How soon would they melt away?
They were transitioning from their jobs as canyon carvers in the granite mountains to the salmon habitat in the open sea.
And this is how it should be.
“Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his save his soul,” wrote St. Ignatius Loyola, the 16th-century founder of the Jesuit order.
“And the other things on the face of the earth,” he wrote, “are created for man and that they may help him in prosecuting the end for which he is created.”
In this context, a rock can be used for good or evil.
A great architect such as Bernini can use stones to build the Piazza San Pietro in Rome, whose welcoming arms draw hearts and minds to God.
Or a man can use some of the same stones to break a beautiful stained-glass window.
A teacher can use a classroom to teach young children a true sense of right and wrong — or use that classroom to try to teach them wrong is right.
A doctor can use scissors to puncture the skull of a baby he is killing in a late-term abortion. Or he can use those scissors to deliver a baby through a cesarean section.
A young man can use the discretionary cash he earns at his job to begin saving the money he needs to start his own business — which, in turn, will allow him to support his family and create jobs for his neighbors. Or he can use the cash to buy a dose of fentanyl and start an addiction that ends his life, destroys his family and harms his community.
Exceptional athletes and entertainers can use the fame they gain through the media to be role models for young people who aspire to do what they do. Or they can use their fame to become sources of scandal and lead others astray.
A member of Congress can use the voting system in the U.S. House of Representatives to advance freedom or attack it, to protect our God-given rights or deny them.
So, what should we do with Glacier Bay? Perhaps the right thing to do is simply reflect on it.
This is a place where mountains become canyons, ancient ice becomes an emerald sea and scrubby fields grow into virgin forests.
Glacier Bay is not an accident. It is part of a plan.
No reasonable person can look at it and fail to realize it was created by an artist who knew exactly what He was doing.
There are certain things on this Earth that serve their ultimate purpose when men leave them just as God made them. Glacier Bay is one of them.
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