Each of us has some problems, worry, concern and cross to bear. At times the cross may be rather insignificant; for others, the cross seems to have unbearable weight. When we face these worries, problems, fears ... these crosses, we often find our faith challenged and perhaps hope fades. But it is precisely at these times that our faith teaches us that God holds us in the palm of His hands and that life is not a game of chance.
One morning, a wealthy man sat on his balcony enjoying sunshine and his coffee, when he noticed a little ant which was going from one side to the other side of the balcony carrying a big leaf several times more than its size. The man watched it for more than an hour. He saw that the ant faced many obstacles during its journey, paused, took a diversion and then continued towards its so destination.
At one point the tiny creature came across a crack in the floor. It paused for a little while, analysed and then laid the huge leaf over the crack, walked over the leaf, picked the leaf on the other side then continued its journey.
The man was captivated by the cleverness of the ant, one of God’s tiniest creatures. The incident left him in awe and lead him to contemplate the miracle of creation. It showed the greatness of the creator. In front of his eyes there was this tiny creature of God, lacking in size yet equipped with the ability to analyse, contemplate, reason, explore, discover and overcome.
About an hour later, the man saw that the creature had reached its destination, a tiny hole in the floor which was the entrance to its underground dwelling. And it was at this point that the ant’s shortcoming was revealed. How could it carry into the tiny hole the large leaf that it had managed to carefully bring to the destination? It simply couldn't!
So the tiny ant, after all the painstaking and hard work and exercising great skills, overcoming all the difficulties along the way, just left behind the large leaf and went home empty-handed.
The ant had not thought about the end before it began its challenging journey and in the end the large leaf was nothing more than a burden to it. The ant had no option, but to leave it behind to reach its destination. The man learned a great lesson that day.
Isn't that the truth about our lives?
We worry about our family, our job, how to earn more money, and where we should live, what kind of vehicle to buy, clothes to wear, all sorts of unimportant things, only to abandon all these when we reach our destination – the grave.
We don’t realize in our earthly journey that these are just burdens that we carry with utmost care and fear of losing them, only to find that at the end they are useless and we can’t take them with us....
If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life? (Mt 16: 25-26).
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.