Papal Visit Countdown- 5 weeks to go!
“Full speed ahead!” “Land HO!” “Keep your eye on the horizon and aim for the piling-- correct, correct, correct-- you don’t want to stray too far off course.”
This is what I heard as our family sailed across the Chesapeake in celebration of my husband’s and my thirtieth wedding anniversary this weekend. The captain was always standing by to jump in to lend a guiding hand to those behind the wheel.
Have you ever needed to “correct, correct, correct” your course of action?
I read an article in 2008 that made such an impression on me that I have never forgotten it. The story was about the Russian Soyaz spacecraft that was ever so slightly off course when it left the space station orbiting the earth. It’s trajectory caused a “ballistic re-entry.” What does that mean? It means that the spacecraft landed several hundred miles off course. The crew experienced multiple times the expected G-forces due to the steeper angle of its flight path. The search teams took 25 minutes to find them, and when they did, the crew was like lead, hardly able to move, due to the gravitational forces they had experienced. (You can read a more detailed account here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/04/24/us-russia-space-idUSL2362874120080424)
Every now and then we may need to do a “mid-course correction” in our lives so that we do not find ourselves far off course and in less than ideal shape when we arrive at our destination. Read HERE in Chapter 8, The Double Take, in Metamorphosis of a Soul, about the day I corrected my thinking and how God so lovingly and miraculously provided a “captain,” just in the nick of time, to help encourage and steer me to “port.”
God is always looking out for us! He so longs for us to experience the abundant life He has planned for us. Scripture, the teachings of the Church and our sacred Christian traditions are our road map to our final destination, our Celestial Port, Heaven. But did you know that you can experience glimpses of that Port here, on earth, now? Why? Because our “Port” is not just a “Somewhere” but a “Someone.”
When we open up His Sacred Word and allow its dew-drenched message to soak into our thirsty, dry souls it is God’s way of sending “heavenly rain” to refresh, strengthen and encourage us. God’s word always does “Something” to connect us to Himself, every time we read it:
“Yet just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down And do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, Giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me empty, but shall do what pleases me, achieving the end for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11
The Sacrament of the Eucharist physically connects us to our destination-- God-- because it is Miraculous Bread, our “Heavenly Hard Tack” that sustains and preserves us. it give us strength for the journey and reminds us that we are not quite fully home yet:
“I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” John 6:48-51
Our Sacred traditions are what guide and keep us on course. And God graciously gives us priests, pastors, spiritual directors, the Saints and even each other to help show us the way:
“So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And what you heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others as well.” 2 Timothy 2:2
If we want to reach the “Celestial Shores” of Heaven, we need to connect ourselves to that which is most worthy-- Heaven itself, God-- through all the means He has provided. And if need be, we must “correct, correct, correct” our course.
“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Thank You that You are not only our Heavenly Destination, You are our means of getting there! You so lovingly provide us with all that we need to connect with You and correct our course if need be. I pray that if there are things in our life that may need “tweaking” in order to have a “safer trajectory” and “smoother landing” that we will not be too proud, too lazy or too worried about other’s opinions to do them. Give us humility, strength and courage to set our sights on You and then stay the course...because as St. Teresa of Avila reminds us: “All the way to Heaven, is Heaven” and that is You.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.