The Stilling of the Storm

Father Girardey recounts a third narrative, The Stilling of the Storm (Matt 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25): “When evening was come, Jesus said to His disciples: Let us pass over to the other side (of the sea). And sending away the multitude, they take Him even as He was in the ship; and there were other ships with Him. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that the ship was filled. And He was in the hinder part of the ship, sleeping upon a pillow, and they awake Him, and say to Him: Master, doth it not concern Thee that we perish? And rising up, He rebuked the wind, and said to the sea: Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was made a great calm. And He said to them: Why are you fearful? Have you not faith yet? And they feared exceedingly; and they said to one another: Who is this (thinkest thou) that both wind and sea obey Him?”

Father Girardey comments: “The stormy sea represents the world with its temptations and trials. The voyage on the sea is a figure of our life through the world on the way to our home, heaven. Being placed in the frail bark of our body exposed to the stormy elements of dangers both corporal and spiritual, we are sailing towards our destined harbor, heaven. Happy we, if Jesus is with us in our hearts. He is our Captain; His Providence is our Pilot; His words, His teaching, our compass; faith is our sail; its profession, our flag; hope and confidence in Jesus Christ, our anchor; prayer, holy Communion, our provision; the cross, our mast; heaven, which we should ever keep in view, our destiny and harbor of rest and enjoyment.”

Jesus set sail, knowing that a terrible storm would gather, “to show His apostles how greatly they were dependent on Him and should rely upon Him and have recourse to Him with confidence in all their wants, in all their dangers, in every distress. Although Jesus was asleep, He nevertheless was watching over them, but He wished to teach them to have recourse to Him with confidence in their dangers, in their needs.”

“All physical evils, storms, diseases, sufferings, as well as dangerous temptations are the result of the entrance of sin into the world. And ever since then man has to struggle, combat and suffer to reach his destined place in heaven. Moreover, we are of ourselves weak and helpless amid these storms more or less furious, and we cannot expect to reach heaven by a smooth road devoid of obstacles. Hence our path is beset by crosses and trials, by combats more or less severe with the devil, the world and even our own selves, our inordinate inclinations. . . . Sometimes these storms become violent and protracted and threaten us with destruction, and Jesus seems to be asleep and have no care of us; but not so, for if we show our faith and confidence by fervent and persistent recourse to Him to save us, to keep us from sin, He will at once come to our assistance and help us to weather the storm. . . . He says to us: ‘Cry to Me, and I will hear thee’ (Jer 33:3); ‘Call on Me, and I will deliver thee’ (Ps 49:15). The more we have to combat and suffer, the greater will be our merit and our reward.”

Quotations from Ferreol Girardey, Prayer: Its Necessity, Its Power, Its Conditions (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1916).

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