There are billions of galaxies with our universe full of dark energy. This dark energy is a positive force. CNS photo/NASA

Strive to live with love’s dark energy

  • March 23, 2023

Although I didn’t know it at the time, my life changed profoundly one summer evening in 1976. I was partying with friends at a cottage in central New Brunswick. After some time, I wanted some quiet and went to sit on the pier on the peaceful lake. 

Looking up into the sky, I was struck not just by the beauty but by the awesomeness of the stars above. I remained there for some time, not thinking so much as being moved in my heart by this wonder. 

After a pious childhood, I had abandoned the Church and belief in God. But lying on the pier, I realized there must be a Creator for there to be a universe such as ours — immense beyond comprehension and ordered to a degree that we only marginally understand. The Creator’s power dwarfs all human power, and God’s motivation for fashioning such a cosmos can only be a vast love for this creation.

Scientists believe the observable physical universe is currently 93 billion light years in diameter and is expanding at an accelerating rate. It is estimated to be 13.8 billion years old. Our sun is one of a few hundred billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, which is but one of a few hundred billion galaxies in the observable universe. The numbers are unfathomable.

We have no knowledge of any other extraterrestrial life in the universe, although the search is in its infancy. Finding such life may be akin to locating a needle in the Sahara Desert.

Recently, I saw a play The Space Between Stars which asserts the most important thing is not the cosmological bodies themselves but the space between them. Scientists hypothesize the empty space which is the vast majority of space in the universe is the home to dark energy which causes the accelerating rate of expansion of the universe.

This dark energy is not evil, but a positive force which overcomes the tendency of matter to collapse back in upon itself.

Into all this comes the human person, a being with free will, a spiritual soul and an eternal destiny. Humans are the greatest mystery of all even though our physical size is minute in comparison with the vastness of the universe. We are intelligent beings, yet we fail to understand ourselves let alone other people we encounter. 

Humans are relational; we yearn to be in relationship with other persons and yearn for a personal relationship with the God who created all of this. The latter relationship would seem to be impossible: God is infinitely great and we are of almost infinite insignificance. Miraculously, it doesn’t work that way. God sent His only Son to participate in our finite existence and to reveal that God is not power so much as He is love. Jesus enables us to share in God’s love.

This God-given capacity to love enables us to avoid collapsing back into ourselves. Our free will is the source of our ability to do evil. It is also the source of our ability to love God and others. Love need not be a charade determined by the forces which govern the physical universe. We choose whether to do good or evil, and those choices define who we are as persons.

The so-called dark energy is where we should strive to live. The concentrated physical mass of stars and planets is the source of gravity and entropy, the forces which put the brakes on our outward expansion, which is analogous to love. The unknown of the empty space is the place into which we grow, a place of mystery. It takes courage to go there, but our steps into the unknown stretch us and give new life to ourselves and those whom we touch.

Many people have conversion stories similar to my own. God finds a way to disrupt the comfortable malaise of their lives and bring them into His community of love. The catch is free will. Even after God has found us and we have found God, our sinful inclinations — spiritual entropy and gravity — weigh us down. Our redemption is not complete. 

But Jesus has shown us a different way by coming into our midst and willingly sacrificing Himself on Calvary. That is the path of self-emptying — of choosing to enter the dark energy — where we share in the spiritual expansion of sacrificing ourselves to go where many fear to tread. God is love, and we are created to share in that love.

(Glen Argan writes his online column Epiphany at 

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.