It has now been four weeks since the good ship, Hagia Sophia, launched out to sea. This is her second voyage, her second year, and the ship is tight and sailing smoothly. I am both delighted and humbled at the nature of her excellent crew who continue to give the stuff of their lives – from the essence of their souls – to the journey and the mission of this seaworthy vessel. I liken it to traveling on an Odyssean adventure in the company of cohorts who manifest the steadfastness, perseverance and bravery of the legendary Myrmidons.
Add to this our ever-inquiring scholars and their dear and devoted parents, the courageous and faithful pioneers who are also heartily participating in this great endeavor, and we have the seeds of a Paideian school that others might only dream of! Thanks be to God for the grace and mercy He has shown in allowing us to begin and continue in the important endeavor of Hagia Sophia Classical Academy.
Every Friday, the schola (faculty) and discipuli (students) gather together for a symposium where we might read, recite, share, sing, and/or discuss a chosen topic of the day. Just recently, I had the pleasure of reading a classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, to our young scholars. The Bell is a story that represents humanity’s quest for God. The main characters are two young boys, a prince and a poor lad, who are both called by the ringing of an unseen bell and the promise of its revelation.
The students, faculty and I were captivated by this tale and so happy for the two boys at their journey’s end. We also wondered about the destiny of the others in the story who settled for less than the real thing. Were some of them just too lazy to make the journey? Did others know they were choosing a substitute for the real bell? Did those who became distracted even realize that something greater was tugging at their hearts? And which character in the story will each one of us be like? Will we be like the prince and the poor lad who persevere to the glorious end, or will we be like the others who let the distractions of this world mute the yearning that rings in our hearts?
Perhaps C.S. Lewis understood the matter when he wrote,
“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
-C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
On our journey through life, may we, may our children, may our children’s children be given the grace to follow after the sound of that bell and discover the Infinite Joy that awaits us in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Let it be!