Dear Believers in Jesus,
The gospel of Mark (4:35-41) invites us into the calm of Jesus’ presence. “Jesus woke up, rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, ‘Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?’ They were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘who then is this whom even the wind and sea obey?”
In these past few years, our area here in Colorado Springs has experienced a variety of storms, from fire to flood, from wind and hail to cold and snow. The great storms in life however, do not come from the water in our basements or the leaks in our roofs. They come from the deep uncertainties we carry in the recesses of our hearts, the destruction we feel from the infidelity of other people. Often grief is a rapid storm that settles into our lives from the people and possessions we lose in this life. We are all vulnerable to passing storms.
Many people face a variety of storms that seem to put their lives off-kilter. The unsteadiness of losing a job and the questions of raising children get the best of many parents. The untimely diagnosis of cancer in a young mother’s breast forces the family to learn how to live differently. The college student whose reputation is destroyed from using drugs can set worry a sail for years to come. The high school senior who does not get into his first choice of colleges brings the dark cloud over his future and shakes up his sense of entitlement.
Some years ago, I experienced job loss and uncertainty about my own future. At that time, it was difficult to pray, to pay attention and to relax. I worried endlessly. I was terrified beyond measure. I would sit in front of the television during my very early prayer time and just stare instead of being silent in prayer. It was all I could do, to just be there in front of the television instead of in front of the face of Jesus. I was so full of fear.
I eventually found my way back into prayer and realized that the storm brought me into a deeper trust that the calm presence of Jesus had never left me. I am confident that storms do not poke a leak in our trust. These inner storms have the potential of making us stronger.
Feeling terrified in the storms of life is very natural. However, if we believe that Jesus is at the center of life, then nothing should rock our boats. The life of the Holy Spirit within our hearts helps us steady the course. I invite you this summer to reflect on how worry, fret and fear gets the best of you. I encourage you to experience the love and assurance that Jesus has for you, your families and loved ones.
I pray that our parish community can help get people back on steady ground. I pray that the storms of divorce, job loss, and illness give way to the grace to keep going if you are feeling overwhelmed. I hope as well, that you invite your friends to our parish, to feel and experience for themselves a community that survives the storms of drug addiction, loneliness and fear, of uncertainty about work and confusion about how to make ends meet. I hope that calm can prevail, that nothing in your life will keep you from experiencing the healing love and presence of Christ Jesus.
I invite you to steady your lives and search for the face of Jesus. Here are some questions to ponder before the storms get too severe:
When I do not get my own way, I usually fret over ________________________.
I struggle to pray when I am feeling _____________________________________.
Lately, the storms that seem most unsettling in my heart are ____________________.
I get so discouraged over ________________________________.
I want Jesus to _____________________________.
I am lost in my relationships and I hope to_____________________.
This summer I hope I can spend more time in the presence of Jesus so that ___________.
My family seems unsteady lately because______________________.
Jesus, be for me the steady ground of ______________________.
Jesus, wake up and find me so that ___________________________.
(From our parish bulletin for this weekend)