Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Titanic and Romans 8:35-37

Our family has been doing some research on the tragedy of the R.M.S. Titanic, the giant liner that sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in 1912. The battle cry when this great ship was sinking in the night of April 14 and eventually sank in the early morning of April 15 was "Women and children first!".  The bravery of the men on the Titanic was unbelievable, and nothing like Hollywood's 1997 version, directed by James Cameron. As we were reading, we stumbled across information about a Catholic priest on the Titanic by the name of Father Thomas Byles. It turns out that Fr. Byles, a convert from Anglicanism who lived in England, was asked by his brother William Byles (also a convert) to come officiate at his wedding. Fr. Byles left for New York by way of the Titanic. He was traveling in second class, and said his final Mass for those in second class and third class. The subject of his homily? The need for spiritual lifebelts (lifejackets) in case of spiritual shipwreck. No one knew then how ironic this homily would prove to be.
When Father learned that the ship was sinking, he immediately when down into steerage to wake people and to hear confessions. After this, he led them in a Rosary. Coming back onto deck, he helped many women and children into lifeboats, telling them that it would be all right, and that God had a plan through all of this. He was offered a seat on the lifeboat twice. He declined both times.
When the end was near, Father Byles offered general absolution. He led those on deck in prayer, to which Protestants, Jews, and Catholics responded alike. He went down with the ship, and his remains have never been found.
The story of this brave priest and the Titantic itself really has reminded me of my favorite verse in the Bible.
Romans 8:35,37-39 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persectuion, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
This verse relates so poignantly for those on the R.M.S. Titanic. In those last hours, when those men and a few women knew that they were going to die, many clung to the hope that they would "Enter into the joys of the Lord." Nothing could separate them from the love of Christ. Not death, nor life, nor things to come, nor anything in creation! And nothing should separate us from His love either.
I will post soon about our toothbrushing routine, and how we keep order in the house while getting everything done! As always, please keep us in your prayers.
In XC,