Thursday, September 3, 2015

Fishers of Men

"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."

I cannot help but think when I read the Gospel reading for today that just when these fisherman enjoy the largest catch of their careers, they drop it all to follow Jesus. They leave everything right at the obvious increase in their businesses. I have to wonder if I say during these times in my life, "Can you wait just a minute while I make this last sale and put the deposit in the bank? Wait just a minute Jesus. You understand." But the truth of the matter is that when I am all in, when I fully trust, when I follow him, all the things that I've set aside get taken care of in a better way. I can't really explain it but it's true. The problem is that I do not always listen. I do not always take the time to stop and acknowledge his presence in the midst of my hectic day so that he can take care of all my needs, so that I can hear him say, "Follow me", "Do not be afraid", "Put out into deep water".

The Sacramentals given to us by the Church are meant to be used as reminders of Christ's presence in our lives, of Mary's many offerings of grace to those who pray and of the promises offered to those who follow the instructions given to us through the saints and the church.

One of the most popular Sacramentals of the Church includes statues. "Statues of Jesus, Mary, the saints and angels are meant to remind the faithful of the lives of those who God gives us as examples of how we should live. We do not worship statues. We use statues to recall the values of a person, to share the lessons of those who have gone before us and to help keep our eyes on what’s important, our final destination which they have already achieved." 

Today as I gaze upon this statue of Christ with the net in his hand, I am reminded of the Gospel reading, of Christ's call to me to "Follow", to leave whatever may be caught in my nets or whatever occupies my time and to do his work, to bring others to him. I am reminded not to be afraid to do his work. I am reminded to dig deep, to work hard but mainly to listen to his instructions, to hear his voice, to be calm and to be quiet and to pause in my day so that he can work through me. I am reminded that Christ is in control. And, I am reminded that I am not alone but that there are many whom God has put into my life for support, to share the workload. 

Think today about a figure of Christ or Mary or one of the saints that you may have in your home or office. What comes to mind when you see that statue? During this month especially, consciously take the time to contemplate the life of and the reminders from the person represented in that figure. May their lives draw you closer to Our Lord. May their example teach you in some way to be a kinder, more gentle fisher of men.

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