Image by Fr. Shadi Beshara
Christ is the way; remain firm in Christ and follow the way, and do not let anything move you away from Him.
Stop by every brother of yours, even for a very brief moment, point out the way to him, point out the light to him. Should he choose to walk by your side, let him go before you, and should he ask you to hold his hand, then hold both of his. Should he try to move you from the path, or push you back, then let go of him, for the road is long and the work is plentiful: your work is to sow the earth with prayer and incense. Sow the earth with love. Sow in the rock because crops will grow in every rock that has a grain of earth. Crush the rock that needs crushing. Keep striking at the rock and never be weary, for if it does not break after the first and second strikes, it will break after a hundred. Do not be weary or fall behind, because if you do, someone else will crush the rock, plow and sow. One sows in season and reaps in season.
Strike at the rock and do not be afraid, because the arm is yours, but the land is not yours and neither is the sledgehammer. Do not nag, grumble, fidget or complain: The wheat which is being threshed to separate it from the chaff does not grumble under the weight of the thresher or because of the harshness of the threshing floor, for it is being prepared to become bread and nourishment. And the grapes do not fidget while being pressed, squeezed and crushed on the rocks of the press, for they become wine and joy. Without the cross, there is neither bread nor wine. He who wants to become bread and wine must carry the cross. Carry the cross and go toward the light. In this world, man is moving from the shore of darkness and nonexistence to the shore of eternal light, and he passes through the seas of this world in a ship. The ships of this world are many:
1- Some ships are very beautiful, luxurious, and comfortable, because their sails incline to the wind, and their rudders sway with the waves. They face up to neither the winds nor to the waves. They have neither direction nor destination. Most people rush to embark upon these ships, because they see nothing in this world except the journey, and all they want is their trip to be pleasant and their travel to be comfortable. But no journey in this sea lasts forever; the trip ends, and the passengers of these ships end up at the bottom of the sea, near the shore from whence they had departed.
2- Another type of ship is constructed with thin sails and weak wood. These ships are wrecked as soon as they are on the high seas, where waves rise high and storms gain strength, and the passengers of these ships end up somewhere at the bottom of the deep sea.
3- A third type includes ships built with strong wood and solid sails that look nice and inviting. But the captain is an impostor who takes the passengers from one shore of death to another. And so, the passengers of these ships end up on some death shore from whence the return is impossible.
4- Then there is the Lord’s ship, which has strong wood and solid sails, and whose captain is full of wisdom, courage, and love. This ship sails across the deep seas facing strong storms and winds, and plows the high waves in the open sea: The journey in this ship is rough, but its arrival is sure.
Hang on to the Lord’s ship; do not be afraid of the storms and high waves. Do not let the luxurious and comfortable ships lure you into boarding them, because they do not arrive. Concern yourself with the destination rather than the journey. Do not let the depths of the sea fascinate you and draw you down. The sea of this world is for you to sail upon rather than to dive into. You cannot be at the same time onboard the ship and deep in the seawater, or in two ships at the same time.
Hang on to the Lord’s ship and help your brothers hang on with you: At every port you reach, invite people to join you in your journey so you may share the arrival with them. Tell them about your ship and captain and the shore of light. But, rest assured that it is not what you say that will make people embark on the Lord’s ship, but rather it is your love for each other and your love for the captain and your trust and your belief in Him, and the joy on your faces.
Rest assured also that the journey on this ship will only end on the shore of light in order to continue with the light, because man is a cosmic creature whose limits are the light, and not an earthly creature whose limits are earth and water. Man is dust and light: Whoever lives in the dust returns to the dust and dies in the dust. Whoever lives in light, returns to light and lives in light. Do not let earth confine you, because the boundaries of your homeland in this world are the end of the sea and the beginning of heaven. Do not let earth enslave you; be free. Freedom can only be in freedom from sin; if you are free from sin, then you are free, and nobody can enslave you. But if you are a slave to sin, then you are a slave even if you hold the king’s scepter in your hand.
Keep the grace of love and the mark of humility. Be true witnesses of Jesus Christ. Confront evil with love, but do not use love as an excuse to avoid confronting evil; a farmer does not use rubble as an excuse to stop plowing. Do not be afraid, evil will destroy itself.
Fully commit yourselves to the Church and all her teachings, and persevere in prayer. Honor our mother the Virgin Mary, and arm yourselves with the Rosary, because the name of the Virgin Mary drives away darkness and crushes evil.
Be monks in the heart of this world, even if you do not wear the habit. Sow the earth with prayer and incense. Be saints and sanctify the earth. The road of sanctity is long but be sure that when the thoughts of God are in your minds and the love of God is in your hearts, then the strength of God will be in your arms and you will arrive. Rest assured also that whenever you are praying, I will be praying with you, so that you may be sanctified, and the name of the Lord be glorified.