13th Week OT (T)
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
St. Dominic Priory, NOLA
We used to ask the Lord to protect us from “all anxiety.” Now, we ask to be “safe from all distress.” Both translations come from the Latin, ab omni perturbatione securi, from all perturbations, secure us. The aquatic perturbations scaring the disciples to death demonstrate in dramatic form the point Jesus has been making for some time in his public ministry – fear and faith are not compatible. Faith necessarily entails trusting in divine providence that all will work out as it should. Not necessarily how we want. . .how it should. And that level of letting go can create its own layer of anxiety and fear. Jesus reprimands his seasick students: “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” The clear implication here is that faith overcomes fear. If you have faith, you won't be afraid. Or, better: faith transforms fear into courage. Thanks be to God, faith doesn't require us to abandon reason. Neither does it require us to abandon planning or taking precautions. What it does require is that we surrender control. Be reasonable. Plan accordingly. Take precautions. But at the same time surrender whatever control you think you have. The disciples freaking out didn't calm the storm. Their day-planners and Google calendars didn't calm the storm. All their preparations and precautions didn't calm the storm. Their fear, anxiety, distress – none of those calmed the storm. Jesus did.
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