Monday, August 06, 2012



August 7, 2012

Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

By Beth DeCristofaro

Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.  During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea.  When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. "It is a ghost," they said, and they cried out in fear.  At once Jesus spoke to them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."

Peter said to him in reply, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." He said, "Come."  Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"  Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
 (Matthew 14:22-24)


Jesus, as I spend this time with you, open my heart and my senses and quell my fears that I might  not mistake you for a ghost but recognize you in everyone, every experience I encounter.  Hold my hand, Lord Jesus, whether my boat is rocked and I cling on for dear life or when I step out and toward you.  Let me come to you, Lord.  And if I cling like a barnacle to illusionary safety, Lord, come to me.


For a very long time I experienced a desert dryness in my faith journey.  This started in my young adulthood even though I was an active, determinedly committed Catholic.  There would be long stretches when my prayer life was non-existent because when I tried to pray, I felt nothing. 

Throughout there were moments that, had I reflected on them, I might have recognized the richness of God present.  I experienced them with a sense of relief that God hadn’t abandoned me rather than much gratitude.  My father’s funeral in 1985, for example, was a surreal juxtaposition with the Baptism of my oldest daughter the following day.  I was glad that my family and I had beliefs in which life was celebrated and rituals allowed for mourning and hope at once. 

Looking back, I see that period of dryness was an invitation to get out of the boat and experience Jesus in a closer way.  Scary stuff.  But I had been feeling the tug of God’s love, calling me for a long time and I believe that in ignoring that tug I had stranded myself.  Getting out included Cursillo and volunteering in a hospital as well as taking “sabbatical” time for intentional prayer and discernment while being a stay at home mother.  Rivulets appeared on the barren earth and, indeed, I have felt the greening of my desert over these years. 

There are still times when my boat is tossed about by the waves.  There are still times when I start to sink.  But I have seen that to stay onshore, isolating myself from the fathoms-deep love and care of God is life-losing rather than life-saving.


Where in my life is dryness, lack of grace and vigor.  What ballast needs to be tossed?  Or how can I climb out to a new vantage point that allows me to better see Jesus in my life?  Or who in my life is stranded in a desert?  What can I do to extend the hand of Jesus to them so they can experience His life-giving presence more fully?

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