My youngest son and I went camping with the Cub Scouts last weekend. The weather was spectacular and although the leaves in the forest haven’t turned their brilliant Fall colors quite yet, the air was crisp and the sky was cloudless.
On Saturday afternoon, after a morning hike and a lunch of vienna sausages, trail mix, and other camping fare, the boys played organized games in a field next to our campsite. Several of these games included wearing blindfolds. One of them struck me particularly as an analogy for one of the reasons why I am Catholic.
The game I’m referring to is really quite simple: you simply try and walk in a straight line while blindfolded. First, you stand and face the finishing point, in this case another person about 50 feet away. You establish the mental reference point for your destination, and then you are blindfolded and told to walk to that spot.
Practically no one made it to the target. Most could not continue in a straight line. Many veered off course, some at significantly sharp angles. Walking blind will do that to you.
Aviators, who are trained to fly on their instruments alone, will tell you the perils of flying blind. They will tell you that you can’t trust your senses, but that you need to trust your instruments. I’ve heard stories of pilots feeling like all is well, completely unaware that they were flying upside down or sideways.
But let’s keep this simple and get back to the Cub Scouts trying to make it from point A to point B while blindfolded. To me, the Catholic Church is like a person who guides us along that imaginary line between point A, where we are, and point B, where we hope to arrive. That, quite simply, is back to God. And the goal, as we used to say in the Marine Corps, is to arrive “on time, and on target.”
I tried the other ways before, you know, the “no, I am not lost” route. Or the, “I can read this stuff by myself and figure it all out” route. These routes led me astray, much as the blindfold tricked these Cub Scouts, who to the best of their abilities, thinking they were walking straight ahead, veered 30 to 35 degrees to starboard (or to port, for that matter) within the first 3 steps of the walk.
The Church, is the guide, and I, well, I was walking blind for a mighty long time. The responsorial to the Psalms in today’s readings sums up my both my experience with the Church and my desires quite nicely,
Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.