One day, a man named John was walking in the park when he saw Fr. Carroll, the kind old local Parish priest. John had not been to Church in a very long time but still genuinely liked Fr. Carroll. So, even though he was unsure if Fr. Carroll would still recognize him, he walked up to him and greeted him.
“Hello Father, how have you been?” John said. Immediately, Fr. Carroll recognized him and said “Greetings to you John! It’s been a very long time since I have seen you at Mass!”
John felt a bit sheepish, but told Fr. Carroll that he no longer went to Mass. John said “Even though I don’t go to Mass anymore, I still believe in Jesus and God , I just don’t see why I have to go to Church or pray Rosaries. I also don’t think it matters what particular denomination of Church somebody chooses. In fact, I don’t think God even cares if I go to Church at all as long as I have faith in him. I believe in Jesus and God not a religion run by men.”
John continued, saying “I lead a good life; I don’t drink or smoke, I never stay out late, I treat my wife well, I play with my kids, I don’t cheat on my taxes or anything like that! So why do I need to go to Church and take sacraments and do all the other things? My belief is that as long as your a good person and that if you believe in Jesus that’s enough to be saved!”
Fr. Carroll looked at John for a moment without saying a word. Finally he said, “John, let me tell you a little story.”
“Once there was a man who thought he had faith in God, and that his faith alone could save him. One day that man was out in his little boat when a storm rolled in. The boat rocked and capsized and the man in the boat was tossed into the raging sea. The man started to swim in place and prayed saying “God, I have faith in you that you will save me! I trust in you!”
Just then a large fishing ship came into sight on the horizon. As the man swam in place, the fishing boat came nearer and nearer until it stopped right next to him. The fishermen on the large boat threw out a life-saver and yelled to the man to grab on and they would pull him to safety. The man refused to grab the life-saver and yelled back to the men on the ship “Thank you, but I do not need your help! I have faith, and because of that, God will save me!” The fishermen said “If you do not grab on, you will certainly drown! Just grab on!”, but again the man refused, yelling that his faith in God would save him.
The fishermen on the ship implored him one more time to grab on quickly as the storm was getting worse and they needed to get the ship to a safe harbor. One last time, the man refused, saying that God would save him. Finally the fishermen had no choice but to continue on to a safe harbor for the sake of the other passengers already aboard and left the man swimming in place as the storm grew even worse still. The man kept swimming in place as the waves rolled over his head and the sea raged with great fury. But the man kept calling to God saying “I have faith in you, save me!”
Finally the man could fight the sea no longer and slipped under the water and drowned and went before the pearly gates of heaven, where he saw St. Peter. The man said to St. Peter “Why did God not save me? I had faith in Him and prayed! I called out to Him, but He still let me drown! Why did God not help me even though I have faith? Was my faith not great enough?”
St. Peter replied to the man “Did you not see the large boat God sent to you as soon as you prayed for help? Did he not send fishermen to pull you out of the sea? Did not that ship sail into safe harbor despite the storm? If you had gotten on, you would have sailed with the fishermen to the safe harbor and not drown! He had a plan to save you and sent you exactly what you needed to be saved, but you could not recognize it right there in front of you!”
Fr. Carroll then said “John, that ship that was right in front of the drowning man is the Church. Do you not think that God would not provide a a ship and fishermen to his people in the stormy waters of life? Do you think he wants you to swim in the storm alone? Of course not! Could a man survive in the stormy sea on his own? Maybe, but almost certainly not. It is so much safer on a ship!”
John said in reply “So what should I do Father?”
Fr. Carroll said “John, grab the life-saver! Get on the boat! Sail through the storm to a safe-harbor. Oh, by the way John, I hope to see you at Mass next Sunday!”
By: uCatholic Admin