“You of little faith!”
1. There is a beautiful incident narrated in the letter of St. Francis de Sales. St. Francis had noticed a custom of the country districts in which he lived. He had often noticed a farm servant going across a farmyard to draw water at the well; he also noticed that, before she lifted the brimming vessel, the girl always put a piece of wood into it. One day – he went out to the girl and asked her, “Why do you do that?” she looked surprised and answered, as if it were a matter of course, “Why? To keep the water from spilling… to keep it steady!”
Writing a friend later on, the bishop told this story and added, “So when your heart is distressed and agitated, put the Cross into its center to keep it steady!” In every time of storm and stress, the presence of Jesus and the love which flows from the Cross bring peace and serenity and calm.
Fear is a widespread emotion in the world today. So many people are fearful of so many things. The poor are fearful that they will not have the means with which to live. The rich are fearful that they will lose their wealth. The sick are afraid they will not recover their health. The well are afraid they will grow sick. The old are fearful of dying, and the young are fearful of growing old.
Fear is contagious. It spreads to others. Fear can infect a whole crowd of people and cause them to perform actions none of them would think of committing alone. The religious fundamentalism and terrorism is nothing but the outward expression of deep rooted fear.
Fear is the most devastating emotion.
2. “Jesus and his disciples were out at sea, when suddenly a storm blew up, threatening to sink their boat. Jesus got up and ordered the winds and the waves to stop, and there was a great calm.”
John Newton was a slave trader. One night a storm blew up, threatening to sink his slave ship. John cried out to God, “Save us, and I’ll quit this business and become your slave forever”. The ship survived. John quit the trade and became a minister of the Gospel. He wrote these words of a famous song:
“Amazing grace; how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see.”
Every storm brings one close to Jesus, like the apostles.
3. In Don Quixote, we have a scene in which Sancho Panza clings all night to the edge of a window afraid that if he lets go he will drop to his death, When daylight arrives, he discovers his feet had been just an inch from the ground.
Fr. Franco Pereira, S.D.B.