IN 1591, the great astronomer, mathematician and astrologer, Johannes Kepler was born in Weil der Stadt, Württemberg, Germany to a financially strapped family.
Providence smiled on him when, recognizing his great talent, a generous soul granted him scholarship to study theology so he could one day be a Protestant minister. However, like Copernicus before him, the young Kepler discovered that his real love was for mathematics and the sciences, especially astronomy.
As a scientist, Kepler discovered the three laws of planetary motion, thus winning the fame at having revolutionized science.
More importantly, he stated firmly that he saw in the universe the revelation of an Intelligent Design which only God could have planned and laid down.
Sadly, the brilliant scientist had his full share of hardships. First, he lost some of his children to the “Black Death.” Then, his protector and benefactor, Gen. Albrecht von Wallenstein, passed away before Kepler could collect his promised scholarship grant.
Thirdly, his Lutheran Church excommunicated him for his friendship with both Calvinists and Catholics.
But the heaviest cross was when his mother got accused of witchcraft. For her defense and to save her from being burned at the stake as a witch, Kepler spent all his savings.
When he died of severe fever on November 30, 1630, steadfast friends had this epitaph written on his grave’s headstone:
“I used to measure the heavens,
Now, I shall measure the shadows of the earth.
Although my soul was from heaven,
The shadow of my body lies herein.”