I saw this video yesterday on Facebook, watched it, and got queasy. Then, I realized it was why I am Catholic.
Got Dramamine? Roll clip.
Did you make it all the way through that clip? Even to the part where the beautiful waterfall dumped water unceremoniously into your lap? “No freaking way would I go on that bus ride!,” you say?
“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Did Christ promise you a rose garden? Easy street, on this earth? Wealth, comfort, power, and fame?
But have you also noticed that the world seems to offer us these things as if they were an easy way that, in actuality, is more frightening than taking this bus ride?
My Abba Macarius has a few words about all that.
The world of Christians, and their way of life, and their mind, and discourse, and practice, is one thing; and that of the men of this world, another. And the difference between them is very wide. For the children of this world are tossed to and fro by unsettled seasonings, by earthly desires, and a variety of gross imaginations, whereby Satan is continually sifting the whole sinful race of men.
For the word that was spoken to Cain by his Maker, “You shall go mourning and trembling, and be tossed about upon the earth”, is a type and image of all sinners, as to their inward state. For thus is the race of Adam tossed about with the incessant suggestions of fear and dread, and every kind of disturbance, the prince of this world tossing to and fro the soul that is not born of God; and variously disturbing the thoughts of mankind, as corn that is continually shifted about in a sieve; and shaking and ensnaring them all in worldly deceits, and the lusts of the flesh, with fears and troubles.
As from one Adam the whole race of mankind was spread over the earth, so one taint in the affections was derived down into the sinful stock of men; and the prince of malice is sufficiently able to shift them all in restless, and gross, and vain, and troublesome reflections. For as one and the same wind is enough to stir, and shake all plants and seeds whatever, so the prince of wickedness, as an hidden and blustering wind, tosseth to and fro all the race of men upon earth, and, carrying them about with unsettled thoughts, enticing them with the lusts of the world, fills every soul with ignorance, blindness, and oblivion, if it is not born from above.
In a paradoxical way, see, you are already on that bus in the video above. The illusion is that the road is wide, and you are safe, and not in any danger at all. The reality is the high-wire act of living without a safety net, which a live without Christ, without God, is like for those who don’t believe.
As the wise man counsels us,
Hear, my son, and receive my words,
and the years of your life shall be many.
On the way of wisdom I direct you,
I lead you on straight paths.
When you walk, your step will not be impeded,
and should you run, you will not stumble.
Hold fast to instruction, never let it go;
keep it, for it is your life.
Paradoxically, we sign up to take that bus ride, on the road that we know before hand is narrow, and treacherous, with the full awareness that the risks aren’t being downplayed, or blindly ignored. Because despite the trials, hardships, fears, and discomforts we encounter along the way, we remember who is leading us, and why we signed on for the trip in the first place.
Because the road to the Kingdom of Heaven is like what the boys from Liverpool sing about here.
That’s an invitation to make a reservation.