The World Is Your Ship And Not Your Home

May 13, 2015

“The world’s thy ship and not thy home.” –St. Therese of Lisieux

You may have noticed that things have been more quiet than usual here. It is not by choice. Through a series of circumstances beyond our control, we are in the midst of moving again after having lived in our current home only six months. A number of other circumstances and events have all converged as well, making it difficult to have the time or energy to write.

Now, I don’t say all this to complain. I have been blessed greatly in the past few weeks, stressful though they have been, and in my experience, when God crushes you in the wine press, it is to make wine.

But while we are confident that our Lord is up to something good, I will admit that having to move again on short notice has been disappointing. Frankly, we had planned to stay in our current place for the next several years, even throwing away the moving boxes we had been saving just in case. We have moved a lot in our relatively short married life, and we were looking forward to some stability, which certainly isn’t wrong. But in the words of the great Scot Robert Burns, “the best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley.”

Yet, there is an important lesson to be learned in such circumstances that is difficult for us to remember when we have the illusion that we are safely in control of our lives: This world is not our home. The saints frequently admonish us to detachment from the things of this world, and they remind us that, while we may often think otherwise, this earth is not our final destination. As St. Paul says in his letter to the Hebrews, the saints are saints because, through faith, “they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.” 

How easy it is to forget heaven when everything is going our way, when everything seems safe and comfortable! We fall so easily into complacency and spiritual laziness. I think that often, God likes to disrupt our plans because he knows we are apt to fall more in love with the journey than the destination. And if we are honest, we will admit that we do. It is rather like longing for a hotel more than for home—it makes no sense.

But because he is infinitely good, God doesn’t want us to settle for lesser joys. Truly, he desires our everlasting happiness, and he knows that nothing on this earth will satisfy us like he can. “In your presence is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forever more” (Ps. 16:11). When he sees us growing too comfortable, our Father unsettles us simply to remind us that our hearts will never be at rest until they rest in him. In the changing circumstances of this life, let us strive to learn this lesson well.

I began this post with a quote from St. Therese of Lisieux. I will end it with a quote from another great saint of the same name:

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

— St. Teresa of Avila

Sam Guzman

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Reader Interactions


  1. Luigi Burchiani says

    Today, in this day of Our Lady of Fatima, i will remember you in my prayers. That’s not just words in the air, Sam, i really mean i will pray for you.

  2. Matt says

    Sam, your post is timely once again. This reminds me of another prayer I just discovered today as well. I don’t think this is coincidental. May we always rest in God’s will.

    The Merton Prayer
    Author: Thomas Merton

    My Lord God,
    I have no idea where I am going.
    I do not see the road ahead of me.
    I cannot know for certain where it will end.
    nor do I really know myself,

    and the fact that I think I am following your will
    does not mean that I am actually doing so.
    But I believe that the desire to please you
    does in fact please you.

    And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
    I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
    And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
    though I may know nothing about it.

    Therefore will I trust you always though
    I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
    I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
    and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

  3. lionwithangelwings says

    I totally understand Sam we often focus on our pride within our immediate surroundings and we forget the pearl of great price. Know you are in my prayers brother it was great meeting you this last weekend in Seattle.


  4. Rodrigo Fernández says

    There’s also an adequate quote from Deuteronomy (8, 14-18):

    “Be careful not to forget the LORD, your God, by failing to keep his commandments and ordinances and statutes which I enjoin on you today: lest, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built fine houses and lived in them, and your herds and flocks have increased, your silver and gold has increased, and all your property has increased, you then become haughty of heart and forget the LORD, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that house of slavery; he guided you through the vast and terrible wilderness with its saraph serpents and scorpions, its parched and waterless ground; he brought forth water for you from the flinty rock and fed you in the wilderness with manna, a food unknown to your ancestors, that he might afflict you and test you, but also make you prosperous in the end.
    Otherwise, you might say in your heart, “It is my own power and the strength of my own hand that has got me this wealth.” Remember then the LORD, your God, for he is the one who gives you the power to get wealth, by fulfilling, as he has now done, the covenant he swore to your ancestors.”

  5. Amfortas says

    I have been known to use the ship metaphor to MGTOWs who see themselves as ‘Captains of their own ships’. I remind them that if they are to captain anything larger than a row-boat in the harbour or bathtub and wish to sail the seas they will need a book of Navigation Rules and updated charts. Without a moral compass, adherence to the rules and the knowledge and ability to ‘shoot the stars’ they will crash onto rocks or fail to make it to their desired port. Morals are the rules. Life’s lessons (vicariously experienced from the mistakes of others as well as our own) update the charts. Knowledge is learned from the Bible. Were we to take a trip on a ship with others, we trust that the Captain is well versed in the Lore.

  6. Shane Merrill says

    Sam, I will lift you and your family up during my night prayers. I will ask Blessed St. John Paul I I to remember you to the father.

  7. Refreshed in Catholicism says

    Thank you for the limitless comfort and faith with which your blog has blessed me, and indirectly my family. I will petition our most blessed Mother to pray for you and your family in your new journey.

  8. CatholicReligionTeacher says

    Sam, I’m loving everything on your website. So, so great! Thank you a million!

    Just wondering – Would you be okay if I added the following quote of yours to my website?

    “In my experience, when God crushes you in the wine press, it is to make wine.” – Sam Guzman

    Thanks for considering, and keep up the great work for the Lord!

    In Christ,


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