Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

Bishop Caggiano’s Reflections: The light and Beauty of Alaska

There is another aspect of life here that is striking. I had not realized before my arrival that during the summer months, the sun is visible in the sky for most of the night. In fact, the sun was still visible last night past 11:30 PM and when I arose this morning at 4:00 AM, the sky was already bright with light! During the winter months, the opposite is true. The sun rises after 9:30 AM and sets by 4:00 PM.

The presence of light throughout the day and night is consoling for me. It has reminded me of what heaven will be like, when we will be surrounded by a God who is Beauty and Light Himself.

How gracious is the Lord to have given us so beautiful a world to live in and a far more beautiful life that awaits us in heaven!

This photo tells the story of an event that happened 50 years ago here in Alaska, whose effects still linger.

In 1964, Alaska experienced the largest earthquake ever recorded in the United States. Its power was so great that the ground level dropped ten feet, forcing salt water to seep from the sea into the land. The result of this seepage was the death of a forest of trees, some of which still stand 50 years after the catastrophe. The tree that you see in this picture is one of the remaining fossils of that terrible day.

Because Alaska had such a small population at that time, few people actually died in the earthquake. If a similar event were to occur now, thousands would lose their lives.

As I stared upon the tree, reflecting upon the suddenness of the quake that killed it, I was powerfully reminded of the fragility of our lives. We go about our ordinary lives, planning events well into the future, always confident that those future days will come. However, there will come one day in each of our lives, where our future will not be on this earth but in the world to come. That day is known only to God.

From a spiritual standpoint, the challenge we face is the need to live our lives as grateful pilgrims, enjoying what we now possess with one eye always focused on our destination in heaven. With such a perspective, imagine how differently we would live. Consider the time we would no longer waste on holding grudges, refusing to forgive, forgetting to say a word of thanks, spending time in prayer, as we realize that we cannot wait for tomorrow to do these things.

The witness of this one tree reminded me a great spiritual lesson. Its silence speaks volumes.”