Joseph A. Komonchak March 8, 2013 - 1:42pm
"In everything the Lord has done he is teaching us how to live here. There is no one in this world who is not a stranger, even if not all desire to return to their country. We suffer floods and storms on this journey, but at least we ought to be in the boat. If there are dangers in the boat, out of the boat there is certain doom. However strong the shoulders of someone swimming in the sea, eventually hes overcome by the power of the sea and sinks and drowns. We have to be in the boat, then, that is, be borne by wood so we can cross this sea. The wood that bears our weakness is the Lords cross, the cross with which we are marked, the cross by which we are kept from drowning in this world...."The ship bearing the disciples, that is, the Church, is being driven and shaken by the storms of temptations; the contrary wind, the devil, is not quiet and is trying to prevent the ship from reaching a quiet harbor. But the one who intercedes for us is greater. In the agitation in which we are laboring, he gives us confidence, coming to us and comforting us. Only let us not get so agitated in the boat that we fall into the sea. Even if the boat is being tossed about, its still a boat. Only the boat bears the disciples and receives Christ. Its in danger in the sea, yes, but without it theres sudden death. Stay in the boat, then, and pray to God. When all plans have failed, when even the rudder doesnt work and spreading the sails is more dangerous than helpful, when all human help and strength is lost, there remains only the sailors intention to cry out to the Lord in prayer. And will the One who brings sailors to harbor, abandon his Church and not bring it to its calm?" (Augustine, Sermon 75, 1, 4; PL 38, 475-76)
About the Author
Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.