Path to Meaningful Success

Crew wanted for hazardous journey.  Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful.  Honor and recognition in case of success.

This is probably not found on any college brochure or application you have filled out, but it is a true ad from a London newspaper from back in 1914 when Ernest Shackleton was beginning his expedition to the South Pole.  More than 500 applied for the 28 positions available for the journey and every one of them survived.

Yet, success is what we want for all of you.  It is one thing your parents want for each of you, success, viable living so you no longer have to live off of your parents.  Success–hazardous journey, small wages, long months, darkness, danger, possible loss of life–who of us would ever consider that path in life, at least with a right mind we would not!  Yet, people do every day.  Maybe it’s not so much that we make that choice and that path, but so often it is the path that chooses us and we can never look back once we embark.

 It is the path, however, that Christ invites us onto because it is the path of success that he walked.  You have heard about that journey throughout your education and formation in the faith.  There was not a whole lot that was easy about His path, and yet, most of us would consider him pretty successful–He has sold more books than anyone!  So as he begins his transition to departure as we hear in today’s gospel, his parting words become very intimate to his friends, at a moment of great vulnerability in his life, he tells them of peace, he tells them not to let their hearts be troubled and afraid, he reminds them of his love, because he knew full well at this point in John’s Gospel that a hazardous journey, complete darkness, danger, and impending loss of life were going to be the reality in their world and lives, and so he tells them as he tells us how important it is to have a solid relationship with God, to trust and have faith in that God, and no matter what life brings at you, you will find true success because life always rises over death!

 Paul writes his letter to the Philippians from prison.  He certainly doesn’t sound like someone in prison, but he too has been chosen and accepted to embark on the more difficult path in life.  He understood danger and sacrifice, no pay, darkness, and yet it only strengthened his resolve to live out the call that had been given to him.  He, like us, did not always choose the path of Christ, and there are obviously consequences when we don’t, but later in life he discovered faith in the one who calls, Christ crucified.  And yet, despite the more difficult path, he speaks of honor, justice, love, gratitude, that there are fruits and gifts in responding to the path Christ has chosen for you, and like Paul, regardless of how difficult the path is, Jesus assures all of us of one of the greatest gifts if we listen and follow, the gift of peace.

 My friends, as you graduate and begin the next stages of life, so much awaits you.  There is eagerness and anticipation, but also anxiety of having to face the unknown of this journey and path in life.  Now more than ever, as Paul tells us, prayer is necessary in your life.  As you head out and face the crossroads of life, don’t just choose the path that may appear easy.  Yes, it may get you many things in your lives and that sounds good at the moment, but when you’re out there and you’re not sure where it is life, and more importantly, God, is leading you, remember the words of Ernest Shackleton.  Remember the words of true success that will bring you integrity, faith, character, principle, and fullness of life; and despite that it may be tough at times, and it will, this path with always lead to greatness in your lives.

Crew wanted for hazardous journey, the journey we call life.  Small wages, bitter cold, long months          of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful.  Honor and recognition in case of success.

Choose the path less traveled in life and you will find true success and you will be fulfilled by life and the peace of God will be with you always.


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