Easter reminded me of this writing from one of my favorite authors. Enjoy.

The Train of Life

Editorial Guest: Leonardo Boff

Let’s leave aside for the moment the somber scenarios about the future of the Planet, and consider an allegory that speaks to the final destiny of life.

A train travels rapidly towards its destiny.  It cuts across the fields like an arrow. It crosses mountains. Goes over rivers. It slides like a tread in movement.

The whole human drama unfolds within that train. People of all types. People who converse. People in silence. People working filing cabinets. Business people, worried. People who calmly contemplate the scenery. People who have committed crimes. Good people. People who think badly of everyone in the world. Solar people who are happy with the minimum of light they find in each person. People who love to use the train. People who are against the train for ecological reasons. People who took the train by mistake. People who do not question themselves; who know they are on track and the time they will arrive at the city. Anxious people who run towards the first carriages in their desire to get there before the others. Stressed people who want to delay their arrival as much as possible, and ride in the last cars. And, absurdly, people who pretend to flee from the train by walking in the opposite direction of the train’s pass.

And the train, unmoved, continues towards its destiny, as set by the rails. It carries everyone equally.  It rejects no one. The train serves all and offers everyone a journey that can be splendid and happy, assuring that everyone will be left at the destination established by its route.

In this train, as in life, we all travel for free. Once in motion, there is no escape, no way to step down, or to leave. One can be enraged or happy; but the train will not stop for that reason.  It will keep moving towards its prearranged destiny, taking everyone courteously.

God’s grace —Divine mercy, generosity and love— is like a train. God is the destination of the journey. God is also the path, because the path is nothing but the destination, coming step by step, yard by yard.

The grace carries us all, those in favor and those against. The train is not modified by denying it. Neither God’s grace. Only the human being is modified. The human being can mess up the journey, but cannot stop being inside the train.

Life, like grace, is generous with everyone. Once in a while it let us be aware of reality. In that moment —there is always a precise moment for each human person— the recalcitrant becomes aware that s/he is being carried gently and freely. Resistance or rejection is for nothing. It is more reasonable to listen to the call of nature, and allow one’s self to be seduced by the opportunity for a happy journey.

Then, the interior hell disappears and heaven gloriously appears: the humanitarian face of God. One discovers that to be free of charge is the nature of the train, of everything, of the presence of God. There is a good destination for everyone; for everyone according his or her own measure.

And you, friend who are reading this ... how is your journey?

Leonardo Boff was born in Brazil. He is a theologian, philosopher and writer, known for his active support for the rights of the poor and excluded.