Sic Transit Gloria Mundi (Thus Passes The Glory Of The World)

Sic transit gloria mundi is a Latin phrase that means “Thus passes the glory of the world.” It has been interpreted as “Worldly things are fleeting.”

I learned a lesson about the fleeting glory of man when, as a senior in high school I happened to stop at a local Burger King for lunch. There sweating profusely behind the grill was a face I recognized. It was the face of a champion.

Just two years before I had watched with admiration as this young man, who was from another high school, stood at the state wrestling tournament with a championship trophy in hand. The flashes of the cameras recording his triumphant victory rained down on his smiling face.  He held the trophy high and it seemed to me, that for a moment, his outstretched arms were touching the Gods!  Oh to be a state wrestling champion I thought.  The glory of it all!

And so it was that I stood in line that day waiting to order my burger, watching…thinking…pondering and processing. What I most remember thinking at that young age was, “Really! Is this what comes of champions.  Flipping burgers on the grill of a Burger King doused in grease and smoke!” In retrospect, this champion was still young and could have been making his way through college, or there could have been any number of reasons he was at the grill that day. And, really, as long as work is honorable, that should be OK.  But, I was young, and well, wouldn’t him being a state wrestling champion have gotten him some ‘glorious’ job. After all, he was a champion, and seeing him behind that grill just didn’t seem to match the glory he was basking in when I last saw him.

Well, this particular memory, of the fleeting glory of man, has not only stayed with me, but over the years,  I have seen it repeated over and over in the lives of others. I have also seen it in my own life. The glories of man truly do pass,  and if you spend your life pursuing them, you might gain them, but, as the Savior stated:

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

I don’t remember that young man’s named, but I remember the lesson.  The truthfulness of the statement “Sic transit gloria mundi” is backed up by the words of the Savior. And no matter what language you say it in, the validity of it rings true. Most of us have experienced it to some degree or another on our journey here on earth.  My hope is that we will apply it in our lives and live such that our desire for the glory of God far outweighs the fleeting glory of man.



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