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A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”
Do you ever get sea sick? I know many people who do. Rough waves turn the stomach inside out. A Dramamine patch saves a boat excursion from turning into a nauseous nightmare......
The disciples, even as experienced fishermen, became sea sick with fear as they cried out: "We are perishing!" With Our Lord asleep, the squall didn't seem to bother him. Yet, the disciples were in a panic. How could they doubt for one second Jesus would not save them? Jesus woke up and immediately calmed down the wind. Clearly, the disciples still didn't understand what Jesus was capable of. The disciples needed to learn more from their master and teacher.
Jesus, do you not care? Many times in our own lives it feels like we are in the middle of a violent sea storm. Waves of fear crash into our lifeboats. We think the situations we face will always be rough. Violent winds blow around our doubts and insecurities. The smell and taste of the seawater make us ill with regret and remorse. We are angry that our lifeboat is covered with barnacles or constructed of rotten wood. The idea of "walking the plank" comes to mind in our deepest seaweed beds of despair. We believe and love God but in our darkest moments think he doesn't care about us. It's like we're shipwrecked, sinking into the ocean. We are marooned on a deserted island.
Where is my God? My body aches and pines for you! Do you not hear my prayers?
Quiet and Be Still With life's violent sea storms, we keep sailing along until we see a lighthouse. It's the lighthouse of God. We no longer have to fear the dark crashing waves. The intensity of his light brings hope and protection.
God has cared for me all along! Have I been so wrapped up in my own self pity that I've failed to recognize it?
In the gospel reading, Jesus commands the wind: "Quiet! Be still!" We as followers of Christ should be quiet and still. Pray to God for the strength to let go of our fears and anxieties. Let negative talk silence itself. Ponder the words of Christ in the deepest recesses of our heart, mind and soul. The quiet allows us to reflect and meditate on our actions and inactions. Stillness allows us to rest and rejuvenate. The sea of life can be a battle, but we must remember God never leaves us alone to swim for ourselves. He is our ultimate life preserver keeping us afloat.
Yes, I have faith! The disciples' understanding of Jesus and his teachings appeared to be in the infancy stage. Their faith was growing but not fully matured. As Jesus' ministry progressed, the apostles became stronger and wiser. Our own faith journey is a growth process, too. One day we answer, "Yes, I have faith in Jesus Christ!" The next day wonder how best we should live our faith. We cannot live our faith fully if we hide behind a sand bar or drift off on a dingy alone. We must immerse ourselves in the needs and concerns of others. Bathe ourselves in the cleansing waters of Christ's love. Spread that incredible love to all people, both friends and enemies alike. We may be stung by a jelly fish or heavily sunburned from the hot beach sun but this should not stop us from living and sharing our faith.
We should practice the virtues of faith, hope, and love in good and bad times. Don't allow the violent sea storms of life wipe away our intimate bond with the Lord. Let us pray for quiet and peace on the seafront.
This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin, a convert to Catholicism. She is active in liturgical ministry at St. Joseph in Richardson, TX. Please follow her blog: Jennifer's Spectrum of Spirituality