Grace to you!
Those who knew Mother Teresa Calcutta say her presence had a unique aura of peace and calm. She seems to make the worse of situations look ordinary, and turbulent times seem like a blessing.
This testimony isn’t simply related to Saint Teresa of Calcutta. It appears to be common among many believers who have a deep faith and constant disposition to holiness of life. One with the Lord is at peace. You may have noticed that when you are in the state of grace, your confidence level is increased and the peace you feel within is unequalled.
Elijah, regarded by many as the greatest prophet of the Old Testament, witnessed numerous turbulences during his fights against false prophets and the worship of Baal. Not only was he denounced by King Ahab and Jezebel, his wife, plus the popular opinion, within himself, he experienced the depression and anxiety of being left alone, abandoned.
As he ran for his dear life, maybe in search of peace and hope, he encountered God on the hills of Horeb. The story of his encounter with God in the gentle breeze—a famous story in Scripture—is recorded in 1 Kings chapter 19:9-14.
Of all the commentaries I have read concerning that story, the one that touches me with fresh meaning today is from the second century systematic theologian, Saint Irenaeus. He writes that Elijah “learned to work with greater calm, and thus also the coming of the Lord in human form is signified. In the light of the Law given to Moses, his coming will be seen as an untroubled time when the bent reed will not be crushed nor the flickering flame quenched. The sweet rest and peace of his reign is foreshadowed here as well. After the wind that moves mountains, after earthquake and fire, the calm and peaceful age of his reign will come, in which the Spirit of God will revitalize and gently encourage the growth of man” (Adversus haereses, 4, 20, 10).
The Lord Jesus, the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, is peace and calm for the human society. The Lord is also our peace as individuals. His reign in hearts is peace of soul; the kind the world cannot give.
Wherever the Lord is, there is peace. It’s in this sense we appreciate why a believer in the Lord Jesus shouldn’t be anxious about anything whatsoever. Anxiety rips us of the peace of soul, the Lord’s precious gift to us. Storms come and pass. The Lord remains forever.
Notice what the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ brought for the fearful disciples who were tossed here and there by the storms, as recorded in the gospel of Matthew 14:22-33. It’s the famous story of Jesus’ walking on the water. Not only did the Lord walk on the water, symbolizing both his dominion over the forces of nature and his triumph over the turbulences of life (believers are called to share in these too), he calmed the storm as well. This shows with the Lord, the storm of life is calmed.
If you, as a believer, knew the Lord in whom you believe, you wouldn’t be anxious about anything. Remember his reassuring words to us: “Do not worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself” (Mt 6:34).
In another place he told the timid disciples that he leaves with them peace, the kind the world cannot give because it doesn’t have it (Jn 14:27).
What is it that is a storm in your life? Broken relationships, family conflicts, lack of job or opportunities, poverty causing you to doubt the providence of God, untimely deaths, being rejected, spiritual darkness experiences, sickness and hopelessness, fear of a nuke attack, etc. How about you keep an eye on Jesus who reassures you as he reassured the disciples: “Take heart, it is I; have no fear” (Mt 14:27).
I feel a similar reassuring word whenever I receive the Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist. Carrying him within me, I hear him speak to my soul: “It is I, your peace and your joy. Be not afraid.” This, the Lord, is the source of calm amidst storms.
Praying that God will reassure you of His presence when the storms of life beset you and your loved ones. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[19th Sunday A: I kgs 19:9A, 11-13A; Rm 9:1-5; Mt 14:22-23]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.