This week we will have one of the best opportunities of the year to view the planet Mercury.
Mercury is one of the “Seven Planets” which were visible to the ancients, and the fourth day of the week, Wednesday, is named in English after the Norse god corresponding to Roman Mercury and Greek Hermes. The planet Mercury is mentioned in a passage in the Bible about Satan (IS 14:12), where he is described as the morning star laid low. The Greek name Hermes, meaning “The Burnt One”, also adds to the picture of Mercury as representing Satan.
The planet Mercury is very close to the sun and can only be seen as a morning or evening star. Most of the time it is too “laid low” near the sun to be seen at all. However, in early December it is at its furthest distance from the sun and will rise an hour and half before dawn.
On December 11 there will be an impressive sight as Mercury (representing Satan) appears a little below Venus, (representing Jesus, as the Bright Morning Star). Even at its brightest, Mercury’s -.5 magnitude will be no match for Venus at -3.9, almost 20 times brighter. Adding to the picture is the crescent Moon, representing the Church, in between Venus and Mercury. It is worth remembering that, while the Moon often appears partly dark to us, from the vantage point of Mercury the Moon is always bright and white reflecting the light of the sun (a picture of Jesus, the Light of the World).
So if you out before dawn take some time to enjoy the picture of Satan laid low, the Bright Morning Star’s dominance, and
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the Church reflecting the light of Jesus.