“We ought by holiness to pass over the sea of this world to the heavenly country, to God.” –From “Sermon in a Sentence: A Treasury of Quotations on the Spiritual Life; Vol. 5: St. Thomas Aquinas”, pg. 150. Selected and Arranged by John P. McClernon.
I must apologize for the lapse yesterday–it seems I wasted a little too much time and did not get the chance to do a meditation. I will post a meditation for yesterday after today’s post.
In likening our lifetime here on earth to passing over a sea, our saint helps us to see how very temporary our time is here, and how exactly we ought to treat this time that we have. Extending this metaphor further, it could also be said that our bodies are our ships in which we pass over the sea of this world, whose waters are often tossed and agitated. In looking at life through this paradigm, it is no wonder so many souls are taking the easy way out, searching for calmer waters and cloudless skies in which to pass their journey to eternity. But the truth is, in order to reach our heavenly destination that we so long for, we must keep our ships pointed straight there–that is, we must fix our minds and hearts on the things of heaven. Regardless of what storms we may encounter, no matter how troubled the sea becomes, we must continue to traverse our route, the route that Our Blessed Lord has laid out for us.
But how do we continue on the route when the waves at every moment threaten to throw our souls overboard and sink us into the very depths of oblivion? Well, to every good Catholic the answer should be quite clear. We must seek out the harbors so that we may find strength to ride out the storm–that is, we must regularly attend Holy Mass and receive heavenly nourishment. We must fix our eyes on the Star of the Sea; we must have a strong devotion to Our Lady and rely on her intercession with her Divine Son. We must study the maps so that we can keep our ship on track; we must be attentive to the lessons and instruction of the catechism, of Scripture, of the liturgy, and of our priests and bishops, and take them to heart, putting them into practice. And we must keep our ship in good running order, making repairs and cleaning as necessary; we must make frequent use of the Sacrament of Penance in order to heal the sickness of our souls.
And perhaps most importantly of all, we MUST desire the heavenly country above all else, and fight the temptation to follow after other ships who have sought calmer waters. If we do not desire heaven above everything else, we will sooner or later stray from the route and become lost, perhaps even shipwrecked–we may die in mortal sin!
And should we find ourselves off the course, straying into dangerous waters, we ought to redouble our efforts to get back on course, denying ourselves the dubious pleasures that led us astray, and push ourselves even faster in order to make up lost time–we must repent, confess our sins, and do penance in reparation for them.
Our Lord has given us every means by which to stay the course and obtain heaven. It is quite possible to anchor safely in the harbors of the heavenly country and finally step foot on that glorious land. But we must stay the course, bearing with the storms and hardships, desiring heaven above all else and eschewing anything which might lure us from the course. Let us pray for the greatest of all of God’s graces, that of final perseverance, a happy and holy death, and a continual desire for the things of heaven.