Monday, February 8, 2010

Swimming in the Deep End

Remember being a little kid and wanting so badly to swim in the deep end of the pool? I do. Oh, to patiently wait for your turn to go under that magical line dividing the shallow from the deep. At the city pool where I grew up you had to swim so many laps and tred water for so long to cross over.

This weekend I took 5 amazing kids to our diocese rally, Resurrection in the Dells. The theme of the weekend was "Put Out into Deep Water" based on this Sunday's gospel of the account of Jesus beckoning Peter to cast out his fishing nets. If you're not familiar, here's the gospel according to St. Luke:

While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening
to the word of God,
he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.
He saw two boats there alongside the lake;
the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.
Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon,
he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore.
Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
Simon said in reply,
“Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets.”
When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish
and their nets were tearing.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat
to come to help them.
They came and filled both boats
so that the boats were in danger of sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him
and all those with him,
and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
who were partners of Simon.
Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching men.”
When they brought their boats to the shore,
they left everything and followed him.


As I reflected on this during Mass prep. time using an ancient form of prayer for praying with the scriptures, Lectio Divina these thoughts came to me:

The fisherman had disembarked.
On a second read of this passage, it struck me that the fisherman were done for the day. They were cleaning their nets. Finished. That's when they were commanded to go back to work. How many times am I feeling "done," "finished" with my day or even the challenges I am given and say to God..."I'm done!" when He beckons me to go back at it.

And then, there's Peter's response:
Master, we have caught nothing, but ok I'll follow your command.
Peter's obedience is inspiring. He says OK at the command of Christ even if it seems silly.

They filled both boats.
And when we do obey Christ's command we will be abundantly blessed. More than we could have ever imagined or hoped for. The return is great.

Peter is ashamed.
In his humility and sinfulness, Peter feels unworthy of being called by this extraordinary man filled with extraordinary grace. But weakness aside, he leaves EVERYTHING he knows, EVERYTHING he has hoped for, EVERYTHING that he desires for Christ's hopes and Christ's desires.

I too feel like I am being called to put my life out into the deep water. The unknown of having a healthy baby has been a complete surrender of my own will, my own desires, and hopes. In turn, I pray that Christ will through his mercy and grace bless us even more abundantly than we could ever imagine!

But by the grace of God I am what I am,
and his grace to me has not been ineffective.
St. Peter to the Corinthians (Chapter 15)

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