Life preserver

The Sailor and the Storm

The Crucifixion is the story of a sailor who drowns and dies in a storm. At first blush, the Crucifixion appears to be a story of the sailor's ignominious defeat.  The storm defeated the sailor. it vanquished him.

The death of the sailor ought to have marked the end of the sailor's story but, surprisingly, it was not. There was another chapter to the sailor's story. 

The next chapter to the sailor's story is the Resurrection. Here we learn that our first impression is wrong. In the Resurrection, we see the sailor's glorious victory. Surprisingly, the sailor did not stay buried in Davy Jones's LockerThe sailor emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. 

The storm is an element of the story of the Crucifixion.

The sailor is an element of the story of the Crucifixion.

Which is more important? The storm or the sailor?

The answer is the sailor. The storm is merely the context into which the sailor is inserted so he can demonstrate his mettle (Click Here) (Psalm 66:10-12). The important question is 'How does the sailor cope with the storm?'.

In the case of Jesus, he clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung to the life preserver of love. He clung with the iron grip of a drowning man tossed into the sea after his ship has sunk. He did not surrender love to suffering. He resisted suffering. He fought back against it with the only weapon designed by God himself to oppose suffering, namely, love. Love is the grease for the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears. Love is the buffer between us and suffering. Love transforms us into superman who can pick up and carry our crosses of suffering so they do not bog us down in the valley of tears and, thereby, impede our progress to paradise. Love gives us wings with which to carry our burdens of suffering (Pope Benedict XVI). By loving our way through the valley of tears, we maintain the resemblance we bear to God. If we do not, suffering transmogrifies us into the most hideous and miserable of beasts. As we pass through the valley of tears, we can go god-like or beast-like. Which do you choose to resemble as you pass through the valley of tears?

Our sighs, mourning and weeping (Salve Regina) left our lips, reached God's ear and broke God's heart. In response to our suffering (not to our sins), God proposed that a philanthropic mission be mounted to address the problem of human suffering. The mission had two parts

  1. to transport the technology of applying love to suffering from heaven to earth and
  2. to demonstrate that the technology works by using it.

The Son of God volunteered for the mission. The first part of the mission was easy. the second part, however, was difficult - very, very difficult. To demonstrate that the technology works by using it required that the Son of God take flesh to become an equal to us in our humanity and a partner with us in our suffering. There was no other way to demonstrate the technology. To demonstrate that the technology works by using, he needed to pay the cost of the demonstration out of his own pocket not from his unlimited divine resources but from his own limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else.

He was the love note that God sent to us in the form of a new-born baby at Bethlehem. He was also the guarantee that the love note was genuine given to us in the diptych of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.  If the love note were counterfeit, his love for us would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. But, it did not. His love for us survived the evil baptism into which we immersed him.  The sailor drowned and died. However, surprisingly, he did not stay dead and did not stop loving us. He rose from the dead still alive and still in love with us. Wow!

Jesus coped with his cross to teach us how to cope with ours. He demonstrated for us the best way to cope with the suffering we experience as we pass through the valley of tears. 

"If a person bears great love in himself, this love gives him wings, as it were, and he can face all life’s troubles more easily because he carries in himself this great light; this is faith: being loved by God and letting oneself be loved by God in Jesus Christ. Letting oneself be loved in this way is the light that helps us to bear our daily burden." .

The Telescope

The bloody wounds that we opened in the body of Christ are the connection between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. They are so important that our most Holy Eucharist points to them. The body and the blood point to the wounds. The wounds are the connection between body and blood.

On the near side of the bloody wounds is the Crucifixion. On the near side is his ignominious defeat. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. The Crucifixion is the story of the evil we did to him. 

On the far side of the bloody wounds is the Resurrection. On the far side is his glorious victory. He emerged from the black hole of death still alive and still in love with us. 

The bloody wounds are a telescope through which we can look from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection and vice versa from the Resurrection to the Crucifixion. The bloody wounds pierce the veil between heaven and earth. By looking through the telescope, we catch a glimpse of heaven from here on earth. 

The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are the two chapters in the autobiography of God. The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are the diptych that the Son of God painted to reveal to the world the identity of God. Who is God? God provided the answer in the combination of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. 

That he emerged alive from the dead is the proof that Jesus is God. Nobody emerges alive from the black hole of death. He did. 

That he emerged from the dead still in love with us is the proof that there is more to God than omnipotence. Omnipotence is but one detail of divinity. There is another detail that is relevant to us. Divinity is love. Moreover, that his love for us survived the evil we did to him is the proof that his love for us is indestructible. That the evil baptism into which we immersed him did not extinguish his love for us or reduce it by even the slightest degree tells us that nothing can.

To understand the nature of God, we must look through the bloody wounds we opened in the body of Christ as though they were a telescope and behold the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the connection between the two. Anything less distorts the nature of God.

On the near side of his bloody wounds is the sourness of godlessness. On the far side of his bloody wounds is the sweetness of paradise. The piercing and opening of the bloody wounds in the body of Christ pierced and opened the veil between heaven and earth. Through his bloody wounds goes the escape. The escape starts in godlessness, passes through his bloody wounds, and finishes in paradise


Like foolish children, Adam and Eve ran away from their home with God in paradise and took us with them into godlessness. They abdicated paradise for godlessness. They opted out as Lucifer and the gaggle of angels that follow him opted out. When God gave them the gift of paradise, God wanted them to keep it. However, they fumbled the ball - they muffed it. 

Godlessness sucks. In godlessness, we are fish out of water. We were in trouble. We needed help.

So the Son of God dove into godlessness after us to rescue us.

He did not say "goodbye and good riddance" as the door between paradise and godlessness slammed shut behind us. 

He did not delegate the job of rescue to his subordinates. He did not send his flunkies. The Son of God did the job himself. Our welfare is so important to God that he came to rescue us himself. (Thanks be to God.)

None shall perish because our rescuer is the God who loves us. God does not fail. God does not come up short. God does not miss the mark. The only people not rescued are the fools who refuse to be rescued - those who tell God to bugger off.

God designed his rescue plan to reduce the likelihood of post delivery paradise opt out to near zero.

Our lifeguard stays on the dock and watches as we are drowning in the stormy sea of godlessness but only for a moment. The delay gives us a taste of the sourness of godlessness. He gives us the experience that Adam and Eve so desired. By letting us drown for a little bit in godlessness we learn for ourselves that godlessness sucks. The illusion conjured up by the serpent that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness is shattered. 

The delay between the delivery of the gift of life and the delivery of the gift of paradise is the source of all the complaints about God's rescue plan. It is the cause of harsh criticism. Indeed, the delay is harsh medicine. However, the effectiveness of the medicine justifies its harshness in the eyes of God. When God gives us with the gift of paradise as he gave it to our parents, Adam and Eve, we, unlike them, shall not opt out. Oh! no. We shall keep it. The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty and neither are we. By experiencing the pig sty for ourselves, we know better than to opt out.

Godlessness is autodidactic.  It itself is the sledgehammer of truth that shatters the illusion as the blow of a hammer shatters glass. When the illusion is shattered, rational people flee the sourness of godlessness. It is contrary to their self-interest to do otherwise. 

When the sourness of godlessness becomes unbearable, he rescues us. He pulls us out of this world and puts us into his world. As Our Lady said at Quito, we make that great leap from time to eternity.

Therefore, let us stop referring to our rescue from this world as death. Instead, say God rescued him or her from this world and, when the time is ripe, we, too , shall be rescued. In the interim, hope in our Savior and cling to the life preserver that he tossed to us - cling to love of him and our neighbor. Cling as Jesus clung while we wait for rescue.