1 Kings 19, 9. 11-13; Psalm 85; Romans 9, 1-5;
Matthew 14: 22-32
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“Lord, save me.” Peter, frightened by the wind and the
waves, cries out desperately for help in the Gospel
according to St. Matthew, chapter fourteen, verses twenty-two to thirty-three. Christ had granted Peter the power to walk on the water, but giving in to his fear, the apostle had begun to sink. “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?”
There is a mystery here, that our faith is a gift from God, but at the same time, our faith is a cooperation with God; we freely choose to believe. And we can also choose to doubt and fall into fear as did Peter.
Fortitude is the virtue of which Peter stood in need at his moment of temptation.
“Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause. ‘The Lord is my strength and my song.’ ‘In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’ “ (CCC 1808)
It is through grace by faith that we receive the gift of fortitude. Peter confesses faith in Christ’s divinity, “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water”. Moments later that faith gives way to fear, and Peter is threatened with destruction by the forces of nature. Do we need power to “walk on water” in order to be happy? What are the things that we fear, that drive the power of faith, and the power of God, out of our lives? Is sin among them? Do we disregard the corrosive power of falsehood, the destructive force of unchastity?
What we cannot do without is a reverent spirit of worship, the power to confidently acclaim Jesus as Lord, and then to call upon Him for what we need to live as the praise of His glory.
Bearing witness to the Lord, confessing our Faith before others, enables us to practice and to grow in the virtue of fortitude.
“The faithful should bear witness to the Lord’s name by confessing the faith without giving way to fear. Preaching and catechizing should be permeated with adoration and respect for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (CCC 2145)
When the disciples witnessed the power of Christ over the wind and waves, they fell down and worshipped Him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” They acclaimed Him in faith and thus they saw with true vision through the supernatural power of God working in them.
“Very often in the Gospels people address Jesus as ‘Lord’. This title testifies to the respect and trust of those who approach him for help and healing. At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, ‘Lord’ expresses the recognition of the divine mystery of Jesus. In the encounter with the risen Jesus, this title becomes adoration: ‘My Lord and my God!’ It thus takes on a connotation of love and affection that remains proper to the Christian tradition: ‘It is the Lord!’ ” (CCC 448)
Let us ask for the virtue of fortitude in worship and witness that our faith may grow and others may come to the Lord as well. Above all, it is Christ’s true presence in the Eucharist that calls for our adoration. We can, for example, better witness before the world by our more attentive genuflection as we enter or depart a church or chapel where the Lord is present; by an interior spirit of adoration as we process forward during the Communion of the Mass; by pausing to make a profound bow before receiving our Eucharistic Lord in Communion; by carefully resting one hand upon the other to receive the Lord and then reverently placing the Host on our tongue.
Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, we adore thee!
Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
August 10, 2014
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)—August 10, 2014
Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus let the apostles struggle for many hours in a violent storm before going to them. Why did He wait so long?
Gospel (Read Mt 14:22-33)
After the miraculous feeding of the five thousand (last Sunday’s Gospel), Jesus sent both His disciples and the vast crowd away. The disciples took a boat to the other side of the lake; Jesus would eventually join them there. In the meantime, He “went up on the mountain by himself to pray.” Whenever we see Jesus retreating to solitude for prayer this way, it reminds us that He was a sojourner here. His original and permanent life is in Heaven, in communion with His Father. Like Him, we are also sojourners here. Like Him, we also need solitary times with our Father.
Nineteenth Sunday: The Still Small Voice
I have always been fascinated by today’s first reading from 1 Kings 19. It presents Elijah. Elijah was the great and powerful prophet whose sharing in the Spirit of God caused a drought and a rainstorm. Elijah called fire down on Mount Carmel, and defeated the false prophets of Baal. Elijah left the earth in the fiery chariot of God causing people to wonder if he would come again, or, centuries later, if he had come again in a man named John the Baptist, or another who was infinitely more powerful than John, Jesus Christ.
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A
Matthew 14: 22-33
Today’s readings use rich imagery of the power and grandeur of the natural world to illustrate the even greater glory of God revealed to us in Christ.
Nature imagery is widely used in the bible as in other literature contemporary with the scriptures to convey an idea of the omnipotence and benevolence of God. In order to appreciate how effective such descriptions can be, one need only read the creation accounts in the first two chapters of Genesis, or the story of Noah and the flood, or peruse poetic texts such as Psalm 29, where the Lord is manifested through the appearance of a terrible storm, or the final chapters of the book of Job, where God reviews the mysteries of creation which are beyond human understanding.
Why Do We Doubt? (Matthew 14:22-36)
“If I try by myself to swim across the ocean of this world, the waves will certainly engulf me. In order to survive I must climb aboard a ship made of wood; this wood is the Cross of Christ. Of course, even on board ship there will be dangerous tempests and perils from the sea of this world. But God will help me remain on board the ship and arrive safely at the harbor of eternal life.” – St. Augustine
Saying your Prayers versus Praying your Prayers
In the spiritual life, the language we use intimately reflects our hearts. As an example, let’s look at prayer. Do we “say our prayers?” Or do we pray in an intimate relationship with God? The former is like saying, “I said words to my wife.” The latter is closer to saying, “My wife and I had a wonderful dinner together.” Prayer, when spoken of in impersonal terms, can depict and encourage impersonal aspirations, which can then lead to impersonal attempts at prayer. And impersonal prayer is not prayer at all, because it only amounts to a person saying things, rather than any real encounter with God. Here’s what St. Theresa of Avila had to say about “saying” prayers:
Simplicity in Devotion
When I first converted to Catholicism, I was overwhelmed by the wealth of devotions Catholics practiced. There was devotion to the five wounds of Christ, the brown scapular, the green scapular, the Divine Mercy chaplet, devotion to the Holy Face, the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Rosary, devotion to the Sacred Heart, devotion to the seven sorrows of Mary, total consecration, and countless others.
This treasury of devotions is one of the most beautiful things about Catholicism.
How can I Hear God Speaking to me in Prayer?
The phrase “conversation with God” describes Christian prayer beautifully. Christ has revealed that God is a real person, and that he is interested—passionately interested—in our lives, our friendship, our closeness. For Christians then, prayer, as Pope Benedict explained when he visited Yonkers, New York, in 2007, is an expression of our “personal relationship with God.” And that relationship, the Holy Father went on to say, “is what matters most.”