“But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’” (See Matthew 14:22-33 NRSV).
There are a lot of storms around all of us these days. Whether they are natural or human made, storms are scary. They have a double nature of beauty and ugliness. Storms are a good example of the uninvited guest that shows up to a dinner party and just won’t take the hint that they are not wanted. Nevertheless, storms show up when we least expect and/or want them to be there.
Storms also mirror life in the sense that they are there, and they need to be lived through; even if we don’t like what happens after.
In today’s Gospel Reading from Matthew, we can take comfort that the Disciples of Jesus are as scared of the storm as we are of the ones in our lives. Jesus changes the narrative and the outcome when He tells them “Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.” Incidentally, did you know that the words “do not be afraid” appear 365 times in the Bible? I think there is a good reason for that.
Storms like a clear day with not a cloud in the sky, present us with the opportunity to contemplate the Presence of God. In the best of times and the worst of times; God is looking for us to seek union with God, as God tells us, “do not be afraid.” God calls us into relationship with God in all aspects of life. The extraordinary and the ordinary. The ups and the downs. In either case, God is present. The Holy Spirit is speaking to us. It may be waiting for the still small voice that Elijah heard. It may be like Peter beginning to sink, so that Jesus could reach out to him, pull him up and strengthen his faith. It may be similar to the storm that kept Saint Benedict and Saint Scholastica talking about holy things just before her soul was lifted up into heaven.
Jesus is always walking with us on the path of our storms and calling us into a mystical union with God. It is God’s invitation for us to let go of our false-sense of self and find God’s revelation in what is real, true and holy.
“And finally, never lose hope in God’s mercy.” (RB:1980: The Rule of Saint Benedict in Latin and English, Chapter 4 On the Tools of Good Works, p.185).
Are you seeking union with God during the storms of your life?
Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB