I’m currently reading the book Drawn From Shadows Into Truth: A Memoir by Ray Ryland. Dr. Ryland was an Episcopal clergyman for thirteen years before he was received with his wife and children into the Catholic Church. Twenty years later, he was ordained to the priesthood of the Catholic Church, with a dispensation from the rule of celibacy. The book is essentially his autobiography in which he tells his conversion and vocation stories.
Father Ryland served in the Navy during World War II. The book was published in 2013 when he was in his 90’s. Following is a passage from the book that I wanted to share with you for today’s MTT. In this passage, he is describing his feelings one evening while on duty on his Navy ship.
“One evening I stood on the bridge as the stars were becoming visible. I noticed one of our destroyer escorts silhouetted against a particularly heavy cloudbank to the northeast of us. The sun was just below the horizon, and its reflected rays added to the darkness of the background of that noble ship. (We loved our escorts; they were our only protection against enemy submarines.) Immediately I was impressed by the thought of eternity. It seemed to me that beyond that cloudbank lay great ages and histories and horizons of thought that I would never have the privilege to encompass, or attempt to encompass. A deep sense of humility came over me as I realized what an infinitesimal, ephemeral speck I was in the scheme of things. I felt shame for being anxious about the petty details of my own life. There and then I perceived my humble place in the universe. There and then I realized dimly the urgency while in this world of preparation for the next.”