Probably one of the most known passages in Scripture is in today’s Gospel (Matthew 14:22-36). 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.”
Fear strikes at the heart of all of us; it can make us freeze, take flight or be frightened. It can become debilitating; often rendering the loss of common sense. I’ve had great fear – I can’t imagine there isn’t anyone who hasn’t at some time in their life. Your adrenaline begins to rise and heart beats at a rapid pace, flashing thoughts of everything negative occur.
The faith Peter had to get out of the boat was phenomenal but then fear took over. He looked down at the deep water and thought he could drown! “Take courage” Jesus said. Courage. The word itself is so big. Peter took the courage Christ was extending; it gave him strength instead of fear. He saw and felt Jesus reach out to him. We don’t have that physical ability – but we can call on him. And on the intercession of Saints. There’s no one person I can explain a bad situation to like the Saints. And they always lead me to Jesus.
Learning St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Discernment of Spirits has helped me immensely. I try to understand – by who or what am I relating to in my desolation? Where is it coming from and when did it start? Was it something that I did, caused by another or was witness to? Understanding consolation and desolation, good and bad spirits, what to do before, during and after and being able to recognize shifts in thinking has become a method for me to rely on.
Jesus, my Lord and my God, help me to be a conduit of your grace. Help me to be compassionate and loving; to understand, listen and help lighten the load others carry. Send your Saints to teach and guide us. Help me step up and be there for another, building them up in you so they can help themselves and then become a conduit for others too. You are my portion and my cup; your grace is sufficient for me.