June 2007 - Volume 11, Issue 11

About An Oyster And A Pearl And The Presence Of God - Part 1

By Rev. Richard Scheiner C.P.

Photo of an oyster and a pearlBehold the lowly, lonely oyster as she skitters along the sand in the murky waters at the bottom of the sea. It is always dark down there for no light is able to penetrate to those dark depths. And so, our lonely oyster has resigned herself to spending her life lodged in the sandy sea-bed in the dark. But one night a full moon arose in the night sky above and one single beam of intense light mysteriously and miraculously penetrated the murky water of the ocean, and settled on a spot near where our oyster had lodged herself. Seeing the glow of the light, the oyster felt herself profoundly attracted to its mysterious glow. She made her way over to the beam of moonlight as if a magnet was drawing her to it. When she reached the beam she suddenly found, much to her delight, that she could ascend the beam. And so, ascend it she did, and when she broke the surface of the water she was even more overcome by the power of the moonbeam. A feeling of exaltation swept over her; she felt compelled to open herself to its overwhelming presence. Her shell loosened under the irresistible pull of the light beam just enough for her to trap a small fragment of the moonbeam within herself, where it remained forever. It was in this way that a pearl was conceived.

But, alas, the oyster was only a lowly oyster; her ecstasy suddenly ended as the waves drew her back down to the sea-bed. But she had changed; she was no longer the lowly oyster, for she took within herself the pearl that had been conceived in her heavenly encounter. Now, no longer the restless oyster, she rested contentedly in the knowledge that the pearl within her would grow ever so slowly, until one day her God who knew what she contained would gently take her into his hands and, opening her shell, gaze lovingly upon the pearl he had made.

This explanation of how the pearl got to be in the oyster is, as we all know, pure fantasy; but it is an attractive tale. Science, however, offers us another explanation for this phenomenon. It goes like this: pearls are formed when an oyster reacts to the presence of an irritating grain of sand which, somehow, manages to find its way into the oyster's shell and aggravates the tender inner parts of the oyster. As a reaction to this irritation .and to relieve it, the oyster seeks to coat the grain with a substance that makes the grain of sand less irritating. It is this substance which gradually creates the pearl.

Taken from Meditations about an Oyster and a Pearl and the Presence of God by Rev. Richard Scheiner C.P.