TRUST: Finding Peace in the Storm
Updated: Apr 30, 2019
There is a storm of confusion and strong winds of fear for many members and leaders in the Roman Catholic Church as we approach the new year. There are many questions and few answers as confusion and chaos abound in our culture and seem to be embraced by some in our Church. The lack of clarity, and strong emotions of sadness, anger and abandonment have many in the Church feeling discouraged. Some have even questioned their faith, and some have even left the Church.
I can’t help but think of Luke 8:22-25.
“One day, he got into a boat with his disciples and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So, they set out, and as they sailed, he fell asleep. And a storm of wind came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke him saying, “Master, master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; and they ceased and there was a calm. He said to them, where is your faith?” and they were afraid, and they marveled saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even wind and water, and they obey him?”
As I re-read this passage the words, “they were filling with water and were in danger” seemed to jump out at me. The words didn’t say that it appeared they were in danger. The words were very clear in stating that those in the boat were in danger. I imagine the sky was dark, the winds strong and the waves were quickly filling the boat. We as humans are going to feel fear when we are in danger. This is how God created us. In, Feeling and Healing your Emotions, Conrad Baars teaches that our emotions are meant to help us when combined with both reason and will.
The disciples thought they were dying and allowed their fear to move them to wake-up Jesus. But did the disciples use reason or did they simply react to their fear? I believe they did use their reason to a certain degree, but the action of waking Jesus up may have been more of a reaction. They didn’t fully use their reason because something was missing. We see this in Jesus’ response after he calms the wind and waters, “Where is your faith?” They saw him do amazing miracles and speak of God as a loving heavenly father to us all. The disciples didn’t trust Jesus at least their understanding of who he was, and they didn’t fully trust God at this point either.
When one is in danger, it is difficult to stop and think about all our choices. Maybe Jesus is telling us that we need to move our Faith to the forefront. In another words, we need to put our trust in God first. Here, was one of the three persons of the one true living God was asleep in the boat. That boat wasn’t going to sink, and no one was going to die. How could it when the creator of the universe, the creator of the winds and water was in the boat? Now, to be fair the disciples didn’t understand this yet. But we as members of the Roman Catholic Church in 2018 do know this.
Today, we as members of the Roman Catholic Faith are also in a boat; the Church. Boats help us reach a destination. The Church ultimately leads us to the destination of heaven. We all know that the Church is much more than a building. Christ is in our Church building. He is also in each of us, alive in the gospel and present in the Blessed Sacrament. But allow me to focus on the building itself just for a moment in order to make a point. The winds are fierce, and the walls of the Church building are shaking, the ground is trembling, and the power might even go out due to the storm, making it difficult to see clearly. But Christ is in this boat. And we, unlike his disciples at the time, know clearly who he is. We need to trust him. We need to turn to him with faith, and pray for clarity, pray for truth, pray for hope and trust in his authentic love for each of us.
There was no way that the boat holding Jesus and the disciples was about to sink and destroy those on board. Similarly, there is no way that the storms of our culture and the voices of confusion are going to destroy his holy Church. Let us hang on to our faith, and trust in him. The winds will cease, the walls will stop shaking, the ground will stop trembling and the power will once again remain on, destroying the darkness with tremendous light. It might not seem like it, but it will happen. Our hope is in him. The challenge is to not allow others to rob us of the very hope that Christ gave.
I focused on Church as being a “building” to make a point. We all know that our Church isn’t just a building, it’s so much more. Let us stay in this beautiful God given “church-boat”, with our eyes on Christ, knowing and trusting that he and no other being is in charge. Let us trust that He will calm the turbulent waters and fierce winds. The peace we seek can only be found in him.
Sometimes it is difficult to focus on Christ and trust in him, as our hearts become overwhelmed with “worry”. Jesus instructed us not to worry as seen in Matt 6:25-34 and Luke 12:22-31. In both scripture readings, Jesus tells us not to worry and even reminds us that worrying does not add a single day to our lives. As a therapist, who has treated many individuals with anxiety, I have seen numerous times in which, people think “worry” helps them prepare for something that may or may not happen. The consequences of worry and preparedness, but most often are severe symptoms of anxiety. Jesus calls us to trust in him, to keep our eyes on Him while on this boat, throughout our lives and throughout the turbulent storms.
A friend of mine had sent me a novena that I just started, called “Novena of Abandonment”. I think it is very powerful and helps us focus on letting go of worry and abandoning our selves fully to Christ, trusting in Him. The novena is over a period of ten days and doesn’t take long to pray. One reads the short meditation and then while reflecting on this, prays the words, “O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!” ten times. I find praying this ten times, gives my heart time to catch up with the words in my intellect.
May Christ remove your worries and give you the graces to surrender fully to him. O Jesus, we surrender ourselves to you, take care of everything. Jesus, we trust in you.