Back in my 20’s when I took time to go fishing, there was a sure-fire thing for catching trout, it was a new bait called PowerBait®. Powerbait is made from a combination of an oil-based resin and PVC. In 1988, a young chemical engineer changed the face of trout fishing forever. Combining a formal education in chemistry and a lifelong interest in angling, research scientist John Prochnow created a national fishing phenomenon we all came to know as PowerBait. In addition to the two main ingredients, a range of scents and smells were added to give the bait its signature fish-catching smell.
Fish have a keen sense of smell that helps them determine where food is located and if it is eatable. This new fangled bait resembled what was being fed to the trout at the fish farm before they were transplanted into their new wild fish habitat. The basic theory behind these baits is to float and attract the fish to bite. Or in other words, it smells eatable and you catch more fish! Bon appétit!
Well, I am not a chemical engineer nor am I made of PVC and resin but the good Lord can use you and me as power bait as well! Let me explain. Fish have an intense sense of smell. The dark water fish are even more attracted to strong smelling bait! Now, you see, that is where I come in to being bait, sometimes, I am fragrant and sometimes I stink! The Good Lord has called us all to be fishers of men and He needs us to be fragrant! We need to ooze the love of Christ and not the rot of the world!
When I first discovered the Lord, I was ashamed and kept my failures inward, buried deep and rotting. I did not realize that every one of us struggles with sin. I felt enormously unworthy of His love! Along the course time, His grace continued to nurture me and draw me closer. I was then cleansed in the Holy Water of baptism but since that day, continue to occasionally fall short. When I go to confession and communion I release a peaceful fragrance. This aroma is something that needs to be shared. It is something that attracts the hungry humans that are in search to fill their empty souls.
There is however a stinky odor we ooze if we can’t be used as bait and if we are not right with the Lord. As St. Augustine stated, we have been created in such a way that we only know and experience true fulfillment when we, by grace, faithfulness and love, dwell in God’s presence, and He in our midst. So in other words, if we chose to fill this empty hole with other things, we will spend our lives chasing our tail around in circles searching in vain for fulfillment and yet never ever satisfying the unreachable itch. So then, how can you catch fish?
As St. Luke records: “Cease being afraid; from henceforth thou shalt be taking men alive.” [Lk. 5:10] St. Augustine instructs us: “Do what you can, and then pray that God will give you the power to do what you cannot.” We need to intentionally make a daily effort to move closer to God. We as Christians do not want to be stinky bait but power bait! Because the power of His life-cleansing blood can even save a sinner like me! And through His love for me, I can give love to those hurting and not yet in His bountiful net of salvation. Be fragrant and not a stinker, be a Myrrhbearer! Glory to Thee!!!
Fr. Gabriel Weller 10-11-2020