Monday, May 2, 2011

The Story of the Two Paths

In every life, there is an encounter with Decision; a dawning of our realization that we have the ability to chose our OWN path in life.  Unfortunately, in many cases, these realizations are not in harmony with Reason.  Reason searches for Truth, Reason longs for Truth; without Truth, Reason whithers away and dies. 

At the dawn of Reason, we are met by a fork in the road.  There before us we see two paths; one dipping slightly downward, the other gently sloping up.  One is marked PLEASURE, while the other, TRUTH.  Neither appears very hard to follow, though our Reason has matured enough to tell us going up is more difficult than going down.  But they are not far apart, and at a quick glance, it seems rather easy to pass from one to the other.  However, just as Reason begins to peak, Adolescence causes a sharp turning in the road.  The roads, which up until this point had been easy to hop between PLEASURE and TRUTH, now jut away from each other; PLEASURE swiftly sliding downward, while TRUTH steeply looms upward.  We stop briefly to examine our options and discuss with our Reason.  Which path shall I take?  PLEASURE is so broad, so smooth, so well-travelled; there are so many people traveling it; surely if so many people are already treading it, it can not be so very dangerous!  With a quick glance at TRUTH, we feel intimidated by the long climb, and frightened by the loneliness that appears to accompany this deserted and narrow path.  Quickly we convince ourselves, the roads have been marked wrong!  It is on the wide road that I shall find my joy and my fortune.  I am too weak to climb that rocky, and rigid path.  It would never be expected of me!

So we begin to descend.  At first, there are a few small lanes marked "To TRUTH", but the going is so easy, we ignore them.  The slope becomes steeper, the momentum increases.  Though there are still lanes crossing to TRUTH, they are fewer now, and our ever increasing speed causes us to quickly pass them by.  After awhile, the path that once seemed so bright and smooth, now is becoming eerie, and dense.  Uneasiness grips our heart.  Downward, downward, faster and faster.  We wish we could turn back; we frantically look for the little lanes that would cross to TRUTH, but it is so dark now, we can not even see them.  Faster, faster, our speed ever increases.  Suddenly, the once broad and pleasant path ends abruptly at a precipice, and with a despairing cry we find we are going far too fast to stop, and we plunge into the bottomless abyss.  Our PLEASURE has led us to HELL.

But what if we had chosen the other path?  What if our Reason had been prepared for this life altering Decision?  The road from the beginning would have been difficult, it is true.  Yet, that slow and deliberate climb upwards would have prepared us for that steep and arduous climb to the summont, and we would not have thought the task quite so daunting.  And what of the loneliness we thought we saw?  What of that omnious fear of desertion we so dreaded?  What would have taken that away?  Perhaps if we had gazed long enough upon the path of TRUTH, or even if we had been brave enough to glance up the little lane crossing back to TRUTH, we would have seen a beautiful and enchanting Guide waiting there for us.  If we had only taken the time to gaze hard enough, we would have witnessed a Beauty and Grace unlike any offered along the path of PLEASURE.  And if we had taken the time to read the sign marking the path of TRUTH, perhaps we would have also noticed the small, gold lettering that was so carefully etched into the wood; "For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for thou art with me. (Ps 22:4
No fear.  No tedium.  No heartache.  No plunging precipice. 

But who is the lovely, and fair Guide that protects those who chose to travel the path of TRUTH, you ask?  It is none other than the Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God, Mary Most Holy.  She whom has already been through every dark tunnel and frightening wood, who already has climbed that steep and rocky incline, who offers Hope and Strength to reach the top of the mount.  "In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue." (Eccles. 24: 25)  In Her we shall find the grace to attain Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Through Her, we shall receive the grace to travel the path of TRUTH and reach our glorious home of HEAVEN.

But we must first find her.  We must first look to Her.  And in doing so, she will take care of the rest.

(Adapted from "Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary" by Fr. Nicholas Norman)

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