“The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669), oil on canvas, 1633, stolen in 1990 from the Isabella Stewart Cardner Museum, Boston, current whereabouts unknown.

Spiritual Life

FATHER WALTER NOLTE: ‘Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?’

This pointed question of Jesus to his disciples gets to the very heart of the matter. He is confronting the storms of fear that were raging in their hearts as the tempest blustered about them.

They believed the lie that Jesus did not care about them or their situation. Consequently, they were sinking fast into depths of despair. Jesus had to address this directly and quickly lest they sink further into the abyss of hopelessness, believing that God was deaf to the cries of their hearts and indifferent to their needs.

Storms can suddenly come up in our own lives, just as they did for the disciples as they were journeying in their boats to the other side of the sea. These storms can give rise to all sorts of thoughts and ruminations in our hearts, causing us to drift away from our places of calmness and peace. We can become overwhelmed when we find ourselves incapable of overcoming the obstacle in our path. If we believe the lie that we are alone in the struggle, we will surely sink into the dark depths of despair and find ourselves as frightened as the disciples.

Where do you live spiritually? Where do you find safe harbor during the storms of life? Fear is fairly commonplace in the world today. Just look at what the pandemic has caused. It can feel like the storms of life are crashing over the sides of our boat, putting our lives in danger. We may feel like the disciples crying out to a God who is fast asleep, unaware of the tempest that is raging. We may feel like this. We cannot, however, rest in these places.

The sleeping Christ in the Gospel passage represents the presence and power of Christ in his Church, as well as in the heart of every baptized soul. He has the power to calm the storms of our day. He is the only harbor where we will find our rest. We must live in this truth and not let our confidence in Jesus fall asleep.

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