The other day we got a message from M on our prayer team GroupMe. It was the painting “Christ In The Storm On The Sea Of Galilee” by Rembrandt.
She pointed out to us something she had been given to her in prayer with this painting, and it was simple but profound. Some of the apostles are fighting the storm and you can see their struggle and angst. Then we see some of them who are focused on Christ, who is with them in the storm. We do not see angst here, but focused trust. So many times in our lives we are struggling and fighting the storms in our midst. We must not forget, she pointed out, that God is in our boat. He is with us and we need to focus on Him in our struggles.
Saturday we had a Morning of Reflection and were given a talk about the Holy Spirit’s gifts and the increase our permission of Him into our lives. Some important ways mentioned were to listen in silence, have a disposition of gratitude and to remember that where we mess up and are struggling for answers, this is where the door is opened for the Holy Spirit to come into the place where humility has made an opening in our hearts. When we struggle, we remember that we need a savior. We are not our own savior. It is in our weakness that we become humble enough to step aside from ourselves and become attentive to the Holy Spirit.
The Sailor Man
Our case today was about a man who loved to sail and was in a sailboat race. The weather became bad, and those on board got on their severe weather gear, which is very heavy and protective. When the boat took a tilt, the man fell over the side and thought that he would surely sink while wearing his gear, with no hope of fighting the weight of his coat and the turbulent water. Suddenly, he realized that a rope from the boat was entangled around his leg. He was saved by being tangled in the rope.
Being a man of faith, it was not assumed to be an accident that the rope was tangled around the man’s leg, but a saving grace. He would later have a daughter that was the one who would tell this amazing story to our prayer team. We thought about the outcome of this frightful situation being otherwise, and our friend would not be with us.
Both the Rembrandt painting and this story of the sailor who was tossed over in a storm got our conversation headed in the same direction as this upcoming Sunday’s gospel, as the Holy Spirit always directs us.
The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way,
and how Jesus was made known to them
in the breaking of bread.
While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.”
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of baked fish;
he took it and ate it in front of them.
He said to them,
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.”
Fulfilled: the achievement of something desired, promised or predicted. Thinking back on moments in our lives, we can remember many filled with joy, contentment and happiness. We cannot, however, think of any where we felt completely fulfilled outside of Christ. We were not created to be satisfied by earthly things, but only in the satisfaction Christ can give. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law of the Old Testament and the fulfillment of our hearts.
He opened their minds: Thinking of the Rembrandt painting, it is brilliant to think that God opens our hearts to help Him manifest Himself in this world. Just as a painter paints as a prayer in reflection to the scene, the light, the actions, etc., I create things as much as God creates in and through me.
Repentance: In order for us to receive the gifts of healing, we must remember that it isn’t just forgiveness that we receive, but our repentance and sorrow for our sins. We aren’t required to repent as payment but to be mindful of the gift of freedom and healing we receive in forgiveness of our sins.
You are witnesses and He opened their minds: Jesus appointed the apostles the responsibility of being witnesses to what they have seen and so then to testify to the truth of his love for us. All the revelation of gifts in our lives are from Him. We are called to share these gifts with others in cooperation with Him.
Our “M” was able to hold one of the gloves of Padre Pio that is in the holding of another one of our Sisters in Christ. As she held the glove which covered the wounds of the Stigmata that Padre Pio carried, she realized something that came up again today in relation to the gospel and the story about the sailor in the storm (and the painting of the storm.)
She remarked that it is in the wounds of Christ that Jesus was recognized by the apostles. It is in our struggles that becomes the door of the Holy Spirit. It is in the wounds of Padre Pio and the healing power of Christ that people have been miraculously healed. In the painting, we see the storm is where some of the apostles draw near to Christ, and in the rope around his leg that our sailor was saved.
We need not fear the crosses and struggles of life. It is here that Christ is our savior. It is here that I am free to be just God’s creature and not feel the weight of saving myself or anyone else. All I have to do is ask for the Lord to increase my faith and trust.
Virtues this week: Faith; Fortitude, “Holy Daring” and “Creative Courage” (like Saint Joseph), Tenacity
How we will act (apostolic): We will ask the Holy Spirit what gift He wants for us to have the tenacity to try and exercise this week so that He may manifest Himself in my offering.
How we will pray: Each day we will pray the following prayer that came out during our Encounter with Christ today:
Lord, I am so blessed to be your creature. Nothing I can do can save myself; only YOU are my savior. Open my mind to the amazing things you do in my life so I can proclaim and witness to you in gratitude and praise.