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“Omnia Mea Mecum Porto”

The Academy Colloquium
A Blog of Riverbend Academy

“Omnia Mea Mecum Porto”
by Stephen Collins

I am not fluent in Latin. However, I once knew someone who I’m pretty sure almost was. I first heard him casually rattle off the phrase “omnea mea mecum porto” as we discussed our mutual forgetfulness concerning apparent inabilities to remember things like packing the deodorant and getting not only the hotdogs at the grocery store but also the buns and the paper plates. Folks, I forget little things almost daily—I find this humorous; my longsuffering wife, bless her heart, mostly does not. I forget big things rarely, but the stakes are higher so it doesn’t matter if it’s only once or twice. I think I remember minutia better now than I did when I first got married, but I still have some… What was I talking about?
Anyway. “Omnia mea mecum porto” is a famous Latin phrase that means “all that is mine I carry with me.” I’ve never been so bold—or foolish—to reply to the question “Babe, did you forget the plates?” with “Omnea mea mecum porto, babe” but I’ve surely been so tempted. Interestingly, not only are the plates not mine because I did not remember to buy them, but even if I did there is a (maybe bizarre) sense in which they are still not mine, not in any ultimate sense that would mean the plates cannot because of my ownership betray their subservience to me by blowing away in the wind or taking their slow time simply decaying. The plates are not mine.
Plates are little things. Knowing the Lord Jesus Christ is the biggest thing. When the plates blow away or discombobulate; when the family member or friend dies suddenly or after almost a century of inhaling and exhaling as his or heart kept its rhythm; when the house burns down; the tires lose their tread; the money disappears; the stuff gets lost; your knowledge of Christ remains. His knowledge of and love for you remains, and so He calls Himself yours.
Most of the stuff of life exists on the continuum of value between paper plates and knowing the Lord. Ask yourself what those things are and what of those things you can always take with you, no matter where you go and how long it takes to get there. You’ll find that your material “belongings” cannot make certain trips and none will survive the “wrackful siege of batt’ring days” (Uncle Billy, “Sonnet 65”).
Your knowledge of Christ is eternal life. For joy and a rich life, many things less significant than knowing the Lord, nevertheless, may also be carried with you everywhere and always. All you know that is true, good, and beautiful is genuinely yours. When a hurricane tears down a house, the wise man who once resided there still carries with him his knowledge of math, his experiences in Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, and his love for his wife and kids. When the bubbles burst and the economy goes kaput, the wise woman who had invested much still carries with her a remarkable informed passion for faith and perseverance. The student who earns his first B (or may God forbid a C), losing his or her perfect GPA, still truly owns what knowledge was once truly gained.
Time what it is, let me now move quickly. Store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven where moth and rust and wind and rain and fire and time and accidents and life and death cannot destroy. Cherish in this life the eternally valuable redeeming knowledge of Christ that you possess by the grace of God. And rejoice that in math, science, literature, history, art, and more, you may gain what you and your children cannot lose—ever.