The modern airliner on the runway was a beauty.
It was equipped with the latest equipment
and missiles. It could fly at supersonic
speeds and quickly race to great heights.
If an enemy plane were in the vicinity, the
jet's pilot could raze that plane miles away,
before the plane's pilot could even see him!
The pilot climbed into the jet and off he
flew, leaving the earth far behind as he
soared above the clouds. He straightened
himself in his seat, naturally proud of his
jet and of himself for qualifying to fly
such a stylish mode of transportation.
However, after he reached cruising altitude,
the pilot heard a strange noise. He took
off his helmet, and recognized the sound
- it sounded like someone gnawing on rubber
or plastic. Looking closely down below the
instrument panel, to his horror the pilot
saw a rat, out of his reach and gnawing on
the main electrical wire between the jet's
controls and its engine. If the rat were
to cut through that line, the jet would zigzag
out of control and crash in a few seconds.
The pilot's first instinct was to descend
- to force an emergency landing. But he realized
it was too late. He was too high up and there
was not enough time to land. So he decided
to ascend - maybe the rat would not survive
at a higher altitude.
The pilot put on his oxygen mask, boosted
power to the jet's engine, and quickly rose
as high as he could go. Soon enough the gnawing
sound ended. When the pilot landed safely,
he found the rat - dead.
The pilot was highly trained, at the top
of his profession. His equipment was the
best that technology could provide. But his
safety was threatened by the appetite of
one of the most primitive of animals - a
Like the jet pilot, we live in a world of
high technology. Automatons make our clothes,
microwave ovens cook our food, cordless telephones
carry our voices, and computers analyze our
cars and our everything. And yet our lives
are still influenced by many things people
faced centuries ago.
Hate, envy, and dishonesty continue to exist.
We are still plagued by temptations to strike
out in anger, cut corners to take the lead,
and compromise with the truth.
And something else has not changed: most
people say they want to be delivered from
temptations, but really would like to keep
in touch with them.
We know certain things are wrong, yet we
still flirt with them. As our power of resistance
weakens, we think that one small compromise
of our principles won't matter. But it does.
If you lie down with dogs, you will rise
with fleas. Dallying with wrong is always
They say that a desert father, when troubled
by a thought which said, forget about today
and repent tomorrow, would wisely reply "Today
I'll show my repentance with works, as for
tomorrow, let God's will be done."
Saint Paul is right. "Put on the Lord
Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the
flesh, to gratify its desires." This
will lead you to new spiritual altitudes
that will kill any rats lingering around!
Scripture, Eucharist, Community living are
the real elevations where only good dwells.
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
granted for any non-commercial use,
that the content is unaltered from
state, if this copyright notice is