Saturday, January 1, 2011

Life's Journey

Dear Son,
We read in the Book of Psalms: "Blessed is the one who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor follows in the way of sinners." Life has been called "way" because everything that has been created is on the way to its end.

When people are on a sea voyage, they can sleep while they are being transported without any effort of their own to their port of call. The ship brings them closer to their goal without their even knowing it. So we can be transported nearer to the end of our life without our noticing it, as time flows by unceasingly. Time passes while you are asleep. While you are awake time passes although you may not notice.

All of us have a race to run towards our appointed end. So we are all "on the way." This is how you should think of the "way." You are a traveler in this life. Everything goes past you and is left behind. You notice a flower on the way, or some grass, or a stream, or something worth looking at. You enjoy it for a moment, then pass on. Maybe you come on stones or rocks or crags or cliffs or fences, or perhaps you meet wild beasts or reptiles or thorn bushes or some other obstacles. You suffer briefly then escape. That is what life is like. Pleasures do not last but pain is not permanent either. The "way" does not belong to you nor is the present under your control. But as step succeeds step, enjoy each moment as it comes and then continue on your "way."
- Basil the Great, Commentary on Psalm 1, 4


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