By JENNIFER BURGIN
Brothers and sisters: We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.
Last week, I read an interesting article on the discovery of a shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina. Estimated to be from The American Revolution, marine scientists found perfectly preserved cooking bricks, chains, wine bottles, and wood timbers buried deep in the cold waters. These "treasures" from an "earthen vessel" will provide insight into maritime voyages from centuries ago. Who knows what other treasures will be found.
We read in the bible about Saint Paul shipwrecked. Scripture doesn't go into much detail. Perhaps he attempted to sail from point A to point B. Wicked winds threw his navigation off course. Gigantic waves possibly made him sea sick. A torrential storm crashed his ship onto land, tearing it up into pieces. Obstacles from every compass direction afflicted Paul....
Another disciple of Christ gives up: No more discipleship! No more spreading the good news! I'm done with this Jesus mission! Travel is impossible! However, Paul carried the crucified Christ inside every recess of his soul. His intimate relationship with Our Lord kept his head above water while suffering discomfort, agony, and torment.
We go through life hunting for buried treasure through material possessions and intimate pleasures. We desire to become god-like, obsessed with our own desires. When affliction and confusion strike us, we do all we can to scrape off the crusty barnacles and prevent the sun from burning our skin further, yet nothing seems to help. This is when the Holy Spirit rescues. Real treasure lies in God alone.
Marine Biologist Sylvia Earle wrote, "Like a shipwreck or a jetty, almost anything that forms a structure in the ocean, whether it is natural or artificial over time, collects life." So, when life turns into one massive shipwreck, sinking our earthly vessels nautical miles deep into the sea, rest-assured God has everything under control and divinely protected.
Receive the Holy Eucharist regularly. Adore the Blessed Sacrament frequently. Pray for the strength to survive life's shipwrecks trusting that God will provide. Keep the crucified Christ bound tightly to the heart!
Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire
Saint James, Pray for Us!