by Ken Rolheiser
Where are they going without ever knowing the way

You may be familiar with a Fastball song written by Tony Scalzo which has a haunting melody and an intriguing story about a senior couple who get lost on a trip and are found dead some time later.

There is a romantic aspect to it – they were a close couple; they die together. The song suggests they go to “an eternal summer” where the road is “paved with gold”. They’ll never get hungry or grow old. They are happy there.

What struck me in the song was the line, “But where were they going without ever knowing the way?”

To me that line metaphorically suggests the pursuits of secular humanists who seek to live a practical, happy life without religion. Sounds good; the simple life free of the encumbrances of religion and all its rules.

Jesus was very clear about knowing the way: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one can come to the father except through me” (John 14:6).

The Fastball song has lines that could suggest the care-free secular road many have chosen to travel:
“You can see their shadows wandering off somewhere
They won't make it home but they really don't care
They wanted the highway, they're happier there today”

Reality is telling us something else. Our spiritual restlessness demands something more substantial at the heart of our dreams. Where are we going?

I was at the bedside of a dying man this week. He was a good follower of Jesus. He received the blessing of the sick, and as he struggled for breath, I watched him. He was not wandering off somewhere. He was concerned about making it home.

At intervals he made the sign of the cross. He was going on his journey “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

In a reflection “Listen to the Captain” Father Brendan McGuire uses the metaphor of Christ as the ship’s Captain. The world tells us we are the captain, he says, but the world is mistaken. “We must be the first officer of our ship and we must listen carefully to the voice of Christ. We need to come to know it
and then to heed it so that we stay on the course where Christ and God would have us go.”

There is an ancient legend which holds that when an infant is created God kisses its soul and sings to it. As its guardian angel carries it to earth to join its body, she also sings to it. The legend says that God’s kiss and his song, as well as the song of the angel, remain in that soul forever – to be called up, cherished, shared, and to become the basis of all of our songs.

If we think about it long enough, in silence and in meditation, we will fall in love with God. We will rejoice in the gift of God’s creation and the beauty that surrounds us. We will realize that our loved ones, our spouses, our family, our parish and our community are amazing gifts. And as we are filled with amazement we will be inspired to share with others the Good News of the Kingdom.

(547 words)