Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jesus Stilling the Storm

Jesus Stilling the Storm

8:23. And when he entered into the boat, his disciples
followed him:

8:24. And behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that
the boat was covered with waves, but he was asleep.

8:25. And they came to him, and awaked him, saying: Lord,
save us, we perish.

8:26. And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of
little faith? Then rising up, he commanded the winds, and
the sea, and there came a great calm.

8:27. But the men wondered, saying: What manner of man is
this, for the winds and the sea obey him?
Ver. 23. This bark is the Catholic Church. The sea denotes the world, the winds and
tempests shew the attempts of the wicked spirits to overturn the Church. The Lord
seems to sleep, when he permits his Church to suffer persecution and other trials,
which he permits, that he may prove her faith, and reward her virtue and merits. (St.
John Chrysostom, hom. xxiii. in Mat. viii.) The apostles had followed their divine
Master. They were with him, and executing his orders, and it is under these
circumstances they are overtaken with a storm. If their obedience to Jesus Christ, if
his presence did not free them from danger, to what frightful storms do those persons
expose themselves, who undertake the voyage of the present life without him? What
can they expect but to be tossed to and fro for a time, and at last miserably to founder?
Faithful souls ought, from the example here offered them, to rise superior to every
storm and tempest, by invoking the all-powerful and ever ready assistance of heaven,
and by always calling in God to their help before they undertake any thing of moment.

Ver. 25. Should God appear to sleep, with the apostles, we should approach nearer to
him, and awaken him with our repeated prayers, saying: "Lord, save us, or we perish."
(Haydock) --- Had our Saviour been awake, the disciples would have been less afraid,
or less sensible of the want of his assistance: he therefore slept, that they might be
better prepared for the miracle he was about to work. (St. John Chrysostom, hom.

Ver. 26. Why are you fearful, having me with you? Do you suppose that sleep can take
from me the knowledge of your danger, or the power of relieving you? (Haydock) --- He
commanded the winds. Christ shewed himself Lord and Master of the sea and winds.
His words in St. Mark (iv. 39,) demonstrate his authority: Rising up he rebuked the
wind, and said to the sea: Peace, be still. (Witham) --- As before our Lord restored
Peter's mother-in-law on the spot, not only to health, but to her former strength; so here
he shews himself supreme Lord of all things, not only by commanding the winds to
cease, but, moreover, by commanding a perfect calm to succeed. (St. John
Chrysostom, hom. xxiv.) How many times has he preserved his Catholic Church,
when (to all human appearance, and abstracting from his infallible promises) she has
been in the most imminent danger of perishing? How many times by a miracle, or
interposition of his omnipotence, less sensible indeed, but not less real, has he
rescued our souls, on the point of being swallowed up in the infernal abyss?
(Haydock) --- He commands the mute elements to be subservient to his wish. He
commands the sea, and it obeys him; he speaks to the winds and tempests, and they
are hushed; he commands every creature, and they obey. Man, and man only, man
honoured in a special manner by being made after the image and likeness of his
Creator, to whom speech and reason are given, dares to disobey and despise his
Creator. (St. Augustine, hom. in Mat.)
From this allegory of the ship and the storm, we may take occasion to speak of the
various senses in which the words of Scripture may be occasionally taken. ... The
sense of Scripture is twofold, literal and spiritual. The literal is that which the words
immediately signify. The spiritual or mystic sense is that which things expressed by
words mean, as in Genesis xxii, what is literally said of the immolation of Isaac, is
spiritually understood of Christ; and in Colossians ii. 12, by the baptism of Christ, St.
Paul means his burial. The spiritual sense in its various acceptations, is briefly and
accurately given in the following distich:
Littera gesta docet, quid credas allegoria,
Moralis quid agas, quo tendas anagogia.
Jesus Still the Storm

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