Start March 12 to December 12

Friday, May 15, 2015

Acts, Chapter 27, verse 17
They hoisted it aboard, then used cables to undergird the ship. Because of their fear that they would run aground on the shoal of Syrtis, they lowered the drift anchor and were carried along in this way.

Seamen of Paul’s time often to save a ship in heavy seas would pass a cable several times under and around a ship and tightening it on deck, to prevent the working and parting of the timbers and planks in a gale. Additionally to prevent the ship from getting stuck in the quicksand of the shoal of Syrtis the seamen lowered the drift anchor.

The church is our boat using a metaphor and with the current world situation with the persecution of Christians, not only in the Middle East, but throughout the world; to which could be added the storms given the church by secularists and atheists; our church is definitely being assaulted by an evil Northeasterner.   We need to pass the cables around our church and put out the drift anchor to keep from being lost.

The cables that bind our church are the seven sacraments. We need to use them all. If single, consider Holy Orders; if parents encourage your children in seeking vocations; get married, if you are living with another, and be open to children; go to confession and mass; baptize your children and be confirmed by the priests; seek healing of your body and soul when seriously ill.

Let your prayers be your drift anchor.  Today start the Novena to the Holy Spirit in anticipation of the Feast of Pentecost.

Only one thing is important -- eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared--sin? Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for "The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us."[1]

In today’s book study of Character is Destiny[2] Edith Louisa Cavell who was a British nurse demonstrates for us the characteristic of COURAGE. Courage is the ability and willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation. Physical courage is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, death or threat of death, while moral courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal or discouragement.

Edith was a devoted nurse who gave her life on Oct 13, 1915 in Belgium for helping some 200 allied soldiers to escape capture during the early years of WWI and was as a result convicted by a German military court and executed by firing squad.

She was courageous to the end and prepared for her death much as she lived her life: dutiful, disciplined and prayerful. She knew that to help allied soldiers could mean her death but to do nothing was worst. Her deep compassion compelled her to have courage in the face of the grave danger of helping and now she was to face the supreme sacrifice of a firing squad for her personal convictions. One of her last communiques was “Standing as I do in view of God and eternity, I realize that patriotism is not enough, I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.” In the end she died as she lived with courage and a loving heart.

Edith was able to endure her suffering owing to the foundation of love which she had in Christ and through her core of strength that she had developed by a sense of duty; thus giving her the courage to sustain her suffering. Like the others we have examined in this book study her strength was built on a foundation of love. As we go forth in our own lives let us remember to give hope to others (John Winthrop); be confident (Elizabeth I) work hard, (Eric Hoffer) get back up when we fall (Lincoln) being composed and in all self-control (Washington) as we have the courage (Cavell) to take up our daily crosses.

Next week we will be studying the character traits exemplified by those who display the characteristics associated with having a firm purpose. Sojourner Truth was a slave who became an abolitionist and best portrays the trait of IDEALISM.
[2] McCain, John and Salter, Mark. (2005) Character is destiny. Random House, New York