William Ernest Henley (1849-1903), English poet, editor, and critic. At age 12 Henley was diagnosed with tubercular arthritis that necessitated the amputation of one of his legs just below the knee; the other foot was saved only through a radical surgery performed by Joseph Lister, inventor of Listerine. As he healed in the infirmary, Henley began to write poems, including “Invictus,” the last line of which reads: “I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.” Henley died at the age of 53 as the result of tuberculosis.

A Filipina living in Los Angeles named Lourdes M. Cabrera once replied to the question of why are we masters of our fate and captains of our souls by saying that we are truly masters of our faith, and captains of our souls. For every action we take, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is an eternal reality, not because there is material reaction to all actions but because we are creating the forces to push our dreams into fruition. We usually dream, and this dream we inserted an equally powerful intellectual imagination. Any thought created by the mind is an energy force that seeks its realizing what we desire. This energy forces are not seen by the naked eye, but it is laden with force and power from the emotions. once these thoughts are materialized, we receive the effect which is the realization of that dream.1

Another individual, Zeke Le Rossignol who studied at the University of Tasmania in Australia wrote that Invictus, the poem from which it came, is meant to be a Stoic poem, as such ‘master’ should not be interpreted as ‘boss’ as this would actually be contrary to the philosophies teachings, but as more like “master of a craft” (i.e. optionality in life and in the face of circumstance), while “captain of my soul” refers to being in control of ones thoughts and feelings (via the dichotomy of control).2

But Caroline Coleman on her blog “A Chapter a Day,” looks at the incidents in Luke’s Gospel, chapter nineteen and informs us that Invictus is the Latin word for “unconquered.” But when we look at those among world leaders who push back against the tides of world opinion and the census of their own people just to look strong. As the President of Syria, the Ayatollah of Iran, and the defeated president Maduro of Venezuela demonstrate, sometimes it is good to be conquered. Why? Because sometimes we humans can be stubbornly, pigheadedly wrong. We can go charging off into the darkness, like untamed horses. We can all spot an adult who was spoiled as a child. How? Because they’re a nightmare to be with… There is something inside the human soul that needs conquering.

The Bible teaches that there is something inside each human that only the gentle loving hand of God can conquer. Why? Because we are blind to our darkness. We are blind to faults that are glaringly obvious to us when we see them in others. In addition, sometimes we can see our own faults – and yet feel helpless to change them. The harder someone tells us to change, the more we buck against them and their words.

She goes on to say that the only way we can become masters of our fate and captains of our soul is to turn ourselves over the Master of the winds and wave as the captain of our ship. After all, we do have control of our will and ability to let God and the Holy Spirit to have control of us. That way, we become victors by giving up. But we don’t need to wait until we get to the end of our rope or find ourselves in a predicament from which we cannot extract ourselves. When we let God take our stubbornness, pride, insecurity, anxiety and fears, He will exchange them for peace through His presence and wisdom.

So if we truly want to be the master of our fate and the captain of our soul then let Jesus the Anointed One take control of our lives. When we come to the realization that we need to let go of the wheel and let God have His way in our lives, it’s the best thing any person can do to guarantee their fate. As the Apostle Paul told the Colossians: By Jesus the Anointed One’s power all things were made: things in heaven and on earth, seen and not seen – all spiritual rulers, lords, powers, and authorities. Everything was made through Him and for Him. The Son was there before anything was made. And all things continue because of Him. Can you find anyone with more power and authority to guide your life? So why hesitate? – Dr. Robert R Seyda

1 From Quora, December 3, 2017

2 Ibid. December 1, 2017

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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