Posted January 16, 2006 in My Dear Family:
Walking on the Water

by Catherine Doherty.

I am the light of the world, said Christ (Jn 8:12).

Because he has come, we are no longer living in the shadow of death. We can live in light. But light is only light in contrast to darkness. Without darkness, we would not know the light.

God allows us to enter the darkness because he desires intensely that we identify with him who took on himself the darkness of sin.

In the darkness we experience our helplessness and our powerlessness. In the darkness, we are blind. Now God can heal us. The act of faith takes place in darkness, in regions where intellect cannot penetrate.

When we enter this darkness of faith, eventually the light bursts in. But not right away. First God says, If you believe in me, come. Walk on the water (cf Mt 14:29).

The apostles were dumbfounded when they saw Jesus coming toward them on the water. Peter started toward him but began to sink because he lost faith.

Most of us are too filled with fear to even start out.

There is a story about a child in a burning house. His father is outside calling to him, “Jump! Jump!”

“Daddy,” the child cries, “I can’t see you.” “That’s all right,” the father says. “I can see you.”

We want to see, not only the father whose arms are stretched out to catch us, but the very earth beneath our feet. We want everything sorted out and in order. We are afraid to walk into what seems like chaos to us.

It really is perfect order, but we cannot see that. We want to say to God, “Let’s get organized,” and God refuses to organize himself to our standards. We cannot manipulate him. But oh, how we try!

Meanwhile the world cries out in agony. It cries out for salvation. Humanity may not know to whom it is praying, or whence help will come, but still it cries out.

Jesus is the one who saves, and Christians are called to love mankind and to assuage its pain.

How can they help? How can they bring so many millions to true life? How can they bring true justice and mercy to a twisted, needy world? Only by the power of God.

Christ has said, Without me, you can do nothing (Jn 15:5), but, if we are one with him in prayer, we can do everything.

The real answer to our modern problems, whatever they may be, is to turn toward God with lifted hands, moved by love, trusting in God’s promises and mercy. There is no other answer.

If one stands in intercession with uplifted hands, as Moses did, then the miracle of God’s action will take place.

It seems strange, but the prostration of prayer, the dance of prayer, the rock-stillness of prayer, or whatever form prayer may take, floods the whole world with action. He who turns his face to God in prayer is in the eye of the hurricane, the eye of action.

Somehow the miracle takes place. One remains on the mountain before God, but at the same time, by the power of his prayer, it is as if he walks the earth with his towel and his water to wash the feet of his neighbor.

Prayer changes things. When we pray, we have indeed accepted Christ’s invitation. Not only did he say, Without me, you can do nothing, but also If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you may ask for what you will and you shall get it (Jn 15:7).

We must lead each other to the top of the mountain to pray, because prayer is dynamic and prayer is holy. As we grow in union with God, we come to know that prayer includes all righteousness, and from prayer stems all the goodness that God wants to bestow on humankind.

What is this prayer, what is this union with God? I cannot write a dissertation , but I can share impressions with you.

Prayer moves a person’s total being to communicate with the loving God, to respond to his great love.

Prayer is the response that takes a thousand postures, from standing with arms uplifted in supplication to full prostration. Prayer is the fantastic movement of a dancer, and prayer is the stone-like stillness of a person utterly immobile, a person lost in regions that many desire to reach but which few really enter.

Prayer is the bubbling brook of a child, or quivering words from the lips of an old person. Prayer is the words of men, women, and children who know God and easily talk to him. These words change into beautiful songs when they reach God.

People recite the rosary. They pray for all their relatives and all the needs of the world, vocally, simply, in a childlike way.

When they pray, when they worship God, they are caught up in something greater than themselves, something that indeed is cosmic. The whole universe bows in adoration to God, and those who love him join in that adoration.

God is the only way. He is the only answer. And the only way to lead people to God is to teach them prayer, and to pray for them.

From Soul of My Soul, pp. 81-84, available from MH Publications.


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