Lines one and six go straight to the pier from the front and back of the ship respectively. These lines are of the largest diameter rope as they have the most important job. Lines two and four angle backwards to keep the ship from moving forwards and lines three and five angle forward to keep the ship from moving backwards. The six lines hold the ship fast to the pier and there is never any fear of the ship coming loose and floating away.
Now think of your soul as a ship and Christ the pier. The more lines you have tethering you to Jesus the more secure and stronger your faith will be. This biggest lines, line one and six, is the Mass and your participation in it. These are two separate things as one can attend Mass but never really participate in it. The greater your participation the bigger and stronger these lines become.
Lines two through five are the assisting lines. These lines assist and augment lines one and six. Lines two and four is our private prayer life. Line two is our formal prayer life – saying formal prayers like the ‘Our Father’, the Angelus, private devotions like the Rosary or the Divine Mercy Chaplet, or praying the Liturgy of the Hours. Our formal prayers are always combined with others saying the same prayers and presented as one universal prayer to the Father. These prayers, when heard in the supernatural, are powerful. Line four is our informal prayer life. This is the time we spend speaking to Jesus from our hearts. This is where we thank him for our blessing and share with him what is on our minds. This is where we spend time in silent reflection giving Jesus an opportunity to speak to us. God speaks to us through a still, small voice so it is important to carve out some time, no matter how short, to spend some quiet time each day listening for God’s voice in our lives. Eucharistic Adoration gives us that opportunity to sit with our Lord in silence and have a dialog with him.
But coming to Mass and saying your prayers are not enough. One does not make music simply by knowing how to play an instrument. The instrument must be played to make music. Saint James tells us that faith, without works, is truly dead. Our works, then, are also lines that tie us to Christ. Jesus gave us a new command to follow; to love one another as he has loved us. The way we begin to love one another is to first recognize the dignity inherent to every person. Dignity is God’s thumbprint on the human soul. It is not enough just to throw material things at people’s material needs. The primary need of every person, regardless of how rich or poor they may be, is love. To truly love someone is to will their good. We begin to love another when we see them as a person with dignity, who deserves our respect, and then by treating them in the way we want Jesus to treat us. Lines three and five are our works and deeds. These lines secure us to Christ and allow Christ to work through us in all we say and do. The stronger these lines and the more we allow Jesus to work through us, the greater our faith becomes.
Ships that are not secured to the pier drift aimlessly at sea. Many wash up on the rocks and are lost. How securely are you tied to the pier of Christ?