When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified.
But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
When I read today’s Gospel I thought of my internal storms. Just as the sea was stirred up by an outside force (wind), so too can I get easily stirred up by things outside myself. Someone will boss me around or say something hurtful and the storm of anger hits. Likewise, storm clouds start brewing when I am anxious about a new Jesuit assignment or an unexpected challenge in my ministry. When I become stirred up by anger or anxiety, the focus is solely on me. “How dare he say that to me!” Or “How can they expect me to do that?”
The more I focus on me, the more angry or anxious I become. However, in the middle of my stirred up storm, I often hear a voice. It is a voice of reason that speaks gently to me and says, “relax, don’t say that back” or “it will all work out, it always does.” When I choose not to listen to that voice of reason, it is like rowing into the wind—I expend a lot of energy to go a short distance. However, when I do listen I receive a sense of calm. The disciples heard Jesus in the midst of the storm say, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” So may we hear Jesus call to us, and may we realize how quick and peaceful the journey can be with him.
As you journey through this day, what storms are you aware of that can be stirred up in you? What keeps you from hearing a calming voice of reason? Pray for the grace to hear Jesus’ invitation to be calm.
—Br. Pat Douglas, S.J, is Vocation Promoter for the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus and a residence hall chaplain at Creighton University, Omaha, NE. For more information on Jesuit vocations, click here.
Lord, when the storms of life pound at our foundation, it’s natural to experience discouragement, fear, and anxiety. We desperately try to halt the storms by controlling the many struggles in our lives. Unfortunately at these times we sometimes take our eyes off of you and forget that your desire is always for our highest good. Lord, just as you walked toward the disciples’ boat on the tumultuous seas, we will anticipate the movement of your Spirit in our fragile life. We pray that gratitude replace fear; we pray that we recognize your help in the routine and special circumstances of the day.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team