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68. Work of the Second Day of Creation

1. The firmament was made on the second day. Some say that the firmament means the starry heavens; others say it means the skyey mass of clouds and air.

2. At all events, the firmament lies between "the waters above and the waters below." And the term waters may mean bodily matter, or transparent bodies, or watery vapors.

3. Whatever the nature of these waters, the firmament is the dividing element between the upper and lower kinds of them. Scripture says (Gen. 1:24-27), "And God said: 'Let therebe a firmament made amidst the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.' And God made a firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament from those that were above the firmament."

4. Scripture speaks of a plurality of heavens. For instance, in Psalm 148, we read: "Praise Him, ye heaven of heavens". And St. Paul (II Cor. 12:2) "was caught up to the third heaven." The word heaven may mean the heaven of the blessed, or the starry firmament, or the space beyond the stars; it may mean any real or imaginary region in what we call outer space. And the word heaven may be used by metaphor for God himself, as in the expressions, "Heaven bless you," "Pray to heaven for guidance." St. Augustine says there are three types of supernatural visions-visions manifested to the eye, visions manifested to the imagination, visions manifested to the intellect-and these are three heavens. This is one explanation of the "third heaven" to which St. Paul was caught up.

"Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars."
Thomas á Kempis

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"The greatest glory we can give to God is to do his will in everything."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it."
St Philip Neri

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