Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Boat in the Storm

I went on a retreat in the mountains where the theme focused on projecting peace, so we read the story about the apostles when they got into boats to cross the Sea of Galilee. As they crossed, the weather turned ominous, and the storm threatened to capsize the boat. Of course, if a person doesn't know how to swim, this seems life-threatening. Meanwhile, Christ slept through it! I can sleep through much, but a storm in a small boat? They awoke Him and asked him why he was not worried that they would perish. He rebuked the storm: "Peace! Be Still." He then asked them, "Have you still no faith?" (Mark 4: 35-41)

We are so often doubtful and fearful in our "storms" in life, and we may wonder where we might find the Lord. When He helps, we are surprised, but then we remember He helped us through the last storm. Does he then ask us each time we worry or have doubt, "Have you still no faith?" I am reminded of the mustard seed.

Following that first session of the retreat, I had time for reflection, so I went to my room to settle in. On the chair was a book I brought along that my sister had given me, Mary: Reflection of the Trinity and First-Fruits of Creation by Sr. Rosa Lombardi. I wondered if it addressed peace in any way. I found the following on the first page I turned to:
"If you find yourself drifting in the sea of this world, if you seem to be sailing amid gales and tempests instead of walking on firm land, if you want not to be tossed by storms, then do not take your gaze from Mary, the gleaming star that shines over this vast sea of darkness, brilliant with merits and examples" (St. Bernard, Homily 2 on Missus est)

An amazing coincidence? I think not. I then sat down to read the reflection from our session. It read, "Imagine yourself sitting with Jesus in that boat after it has been pulled up on the shore after the storm. Ask him how your heart may become more like His in projecting peace into your surroundings."

God provided the answer before I read the question!

I now return to the boat. Jesus is always in the boat with us, but we forget. We let the chaos of storms be inside us, but we must be as Jesus, and project peace, "Peace! Be still!" I am then reminded of the words of a dear Sister of St. Francis, "God is not in the wind. He is in the gentle breeze." The storms are never storms if we allow ourselves to trust in Him with faith and prayer.