When life’s storms rage, seek Jesus and Mary

| Deacon Michael Daly | June 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

The Sea of Galilee is below sea level, within a bowl of hills, and very subject to unpredictable storms. After a hard day’s preaching, Jesus, who governs the universe, is stretched out, asleep in a boat during a violent storm. The apostles’ maritime skills were not enough to endure the waves, so as a last resort, they turn to Jesus to calm the sea.

The disciples’ question is odd. They do not ask, “What are you going to do?” Rather, they inquire about the disposition of his mind and heart: “Do you not care?” It suggests that if we are sure how Jesus feels about us, if we are certain of the Lord’s unfailing love for us, we can meet any adversity.

Sometimes the storm arises around us or within us, and it seems that our frail craft cannot take any more. The waves are breaking over us: personal weaknesses, professional or financial difficulties that are beyond our management, illness, problems with children or parents, a hostile environment, slander, the list goes on. But if you live in the presence of God, high above the storm clouds, the sun will always shine on you. And deep below the roaring and destructive waves, peace and calmness will reign in your soul.

As Jesus intervened to calm the sea, peace entered the hearts of those frightened men. Jesus’ mission was to quiet a very different raging storm — the chaos of our sin. And he tamed it in his death on the cross, which indeed removes him from all human standards and leaves us really asking, “What kind of man is this?”

The following prayer is attributed to 16th-century English sea captain Sir Frances Drake:

“Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters of life; having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity; and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery; where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes; and to push us into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.”

The lesson Christ teaches is simple: When he is with us, we are safe. If the winds of temptation arise, we can fix our eyes on the star of the sea, Mary, who holds the Christ within her heart, within her womb. She will not leave us for an instant. With her for a guide, we will not go astray; while invoking her, we will never lose heart. So long as she is in our minds, we are safe from deception. If she holds our hands, we cannot fall.

Deacon Daly is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His teaching parish is Divine Mercy in Faribault. His home parish is Nativity of Our Lord in St. Paul.

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Category: Sunday Scriptures