Thursday, October 12, 2006

Nearer my God to thee

One of the most famous ships ever to be built was the Titanic. It was so well built that its designer declared that it was unsinkable. In fact for that reason, the Titanic was advertised as the safest ship on earth.

The day came when the Titanic was to make its first trip, its maiden voyage, from England to America. People came from all over the world so that they could have the chance of being on that very special journey. In a blaze of glory, the ship left Southampton in the south of England and set sail towards the United States.

On board ship, every luxury was provided. No expense had been spared to make sure that the passengers, most of who were very rich, would have a journey they would never forget.

Gradually, as the Titanic approached America, the temperature began to grow colder. There was a warning of icebergs floating on the sea. Nobody was particularly concerned for their safety because, as they had been told, the Titanic was unsinkable.

However, by a tragic mistake, the Titanic collided with an iceberg and sank. More than one thousand people died in those bitterly cold waters of the Arctic.

After the sinking of the great ship, some interesting stories survived. The radio operator, even though he knew the ship was sinking, stayed at his wireless, sending out distress signals. He knew he would die, but he would give his life trying to save the lives of other people.

The ship’s orchestra, throughout the short voyage, had been busy playing music to entertain the passengers on board the Titanic. The story that remains is that, even though the ship was sinking, the orchestra stayed together, playing music to calm people down as they struggled to find places in the lifeboats. There were not enough lifeboats for the passengers and crew, so everyone knew that many would drown. There was panic as people tried to squeeze into small boats that were already too full to accommodate everyone. Yet, even though the ship’s orchestra knew that they would soon have their own names included in the list of the dead, the musicians played their instruments. Soon it became obvious that the Titanic could only stay afloat for a few minutes longer. The musicians changed their tune. They died playing “Nearer my God to thee”.

Did the members of the orchestra and the wireless operator feel no fear as they approached their own deaths? Did they not think of their families and friends? I’m sure they were just as afraid as everyone else on board the Titanic. I’m equally sure that their last thoughts were of their families and friends whom they would never see again. However, they were brave with a courage that only comes from God.

The musicians and wireless operator of the Titanic were truly brave. To be brave does not mean that someone feels no fear. The musicians and wireless operator were brave because they were absolutely terrified but put the lives and safety of other people before their own. The music “Nearer my God to thee” was appropriate. They were very near to God. They were very dear to his heart.

Lord, we pray for all those who risk their own lives to save the lives of others. We ask you to bless them and reward them for their courage. Bring them very close to you. Let me also pray with them “Nearer my God to thee”. Let me come close to them and to you. Amen

God bless,

Sr. Janet