Aliens and the Eucharist—Reclaiming Our Sense of Wonder

Jul 7, 2023 | Articles, Living in the World

By Amber Kinloch

Do you believe in aliens?

For a long time, I did not. I am, for better or worse, a logical, facts-based person without much of a sense of wonder (at least compared to my friends). “Show me proof—concrete proof” was my mentality.

A year or two back, my dad changed my opinion. We were talking about some of the reports one occasionally hears regarding UFOs when he said that he believed in life on other planets. His reasoning: the universe is so vast and magnificent; to imagine that we humans are the only intelligent life is the height of arrogance.

I was reminded of our conversation today when I read an article (“Hey, Mr. Spaceman”) over at The Catholic Thing on this same topic. The author believes in aliens and presents the same argument as my dad, only he mentions God.

If God is omnipotent and infinitely creative, why would he limit himself to hominids with an attitude on a small planet in a modest solar system on the tail of a mediocre galaxy?  Why would we be his only children?  Why would we humans have a monopoly on his love?

As I thought over this, the Incarnation flashed into my mind. We cannot claim a monopoly on God’s love, yet He has assumed a human nature and literally become one of us.

What of the Eucharist? God has not only become man, He wills to remain among us even after His Ascension into Heaven. He is physically present in each Tabernacle. He is physically present in each tiny Host. He is physically present in us when we receive Him in that tiny Host.

Who else has God wrought such wonders for? Not the animals nor yet for the angels. What other creatures of His has He deigned to dwell among in such a humble, intimate way?

That is not to say He hasn’t worked marvels for others of whose existence we are yet oblivious. He might have. I dare say, why wouldn’t He have? Isn’t it in accord with His love to lavish gifts upon His creatures? 

I cannot conceive of what other life might be present in this vast, mysterious universe. I do think it might exist and that it is good to think about it and wonder and ask “What if…?” 


We don’t do enough of that. We pride ourselves over all our technological advances. We pay too little heed to what poor use many of us make of tech and dismiss the fact that we seem to be suffocating from self-induced boredom and mediocrity.

Why go out and learn about trees, bugs, and flowers in the backyard when there is Wikipedia to consult? Why play a board game or go for a walk when we can all watch a TV show? Why write a paper (much less employ paper and pen in the process even just to scratch down notes) when Chat GPT can write that essay for you?

Many are worried about the state of our quiet, near empty churches. Endless theories as to the cause have been proposed along with solutions. I don’t tend to give it much thought. I don’t have lots of money and resources (nor faith in their power) to throw at the problem. What I think, rather, is that it’s my business to stay rooted in the here and now and to focus on becoming a saint. Even the most secular people have heard of saints like St. John Paul II, Mother Teresa, and Thérèse of Lisieux. They all started out as ordinary people like you and me and have ended up touching millions or even billions of people’s lives. Now if a great saint can touch so many people’s lives, how many hearts might we little, oh-so-imperfect souls touch if we try just a little?

Perhaps we can start touching souls through wonder. Current research says only one-third of U.S. Catholics believe in the Eucharist. Two-thirds lack faith. Is it because they lack wonder? What if we invited them to come and linger for a little while in church with us? Think of the sun. A blind person can’t see it, and yet he is still touched by its warmth. Even someone wearing a heavy sweater feels the sun’s warmth penetrate through his clothing. Might our friends be touched in the same way if they only came and bathed in the sunlight of the Eucharist?

What if we wondered at nature more by going for walks, visiting a butterfly conservatory, or tramping through mountains, woods, or along the seashore? What if we nurtured our imaginations on good literature and music or simply sat in silence for fifteen minutes? What if we considered what sort of person we might become if we only nurtured this gift or practiced that virtue? What if we woke up in the morning and instead of thinking of our “To Do” list, we wondered what delightful surprises the day might hold?

You might believe in aliens or you might not. Regardless, let’s all cultivate a sense of wonder. Let’s expect more, not less. God will not disappoint us if we open our hearts.

Amber Kinloch

Amber Kinloch

Amber  writes from the bunker of her living room.  There she hunkers down with her laptop and a blanket while keeping an eye and ear tuned in to the activity of family life.  Music set on loop keeps her energy flowing as she muses on the deeper happenings of ordinary life and what food to restock the fridge with.


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