19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 13, 2017)

In today’s Gospel, Jesus challenges us to take the risk of following Him with ever deeper faith as we are tossed about in the storm of life. St. Francis de Sales speaks similarly:

When fearfully faced with tempests and earthquakes, we make acts of faith and hope. Yet, there is another kind of fear where we find everything difficult and trying. We think more of future difficulties than what we have to do at present. Rise and do not be frightened by the day’s work. It is natural that the night is for rest and the day for work.

Let us do three simple things, and we shall have peace. Let us have a very pure intention of seeking, in all things, the honor and glory of God. Then let us do the little we can toward this end. Finally, let us leave to God the care of all the rest. I have seen few people make progress without experiencing trials, so you must be patient. After the squall, God will send the calm. Children are afraid when they are out of their mother’s arms. They feel nothing can harm them if they are holding her hand. Hold God’s hand and God will protect you from all, for you are armored with truth and faith.

If you lack courage, be like Peter and cry out, “Lord save me!” Then resume your journey quietly. Often we think we have lost peace because we are afflicted. Yet we have not lost it if we remain totally dependent on God’s will, and in no way abandon our responsibilities. Let us carry out our tasks courageously, and you will see that with God’s help we will go beyond the reaches of the world, beyond its limits. Trust then in God, and all things will be rendered easy, although at first they may frighten you a little.

Our Lord is called Prince of Peace in the Scriptures. Where He is absolute master, He holds everything in peace. To be at peace in the midst of warfare, to live serenely amid trials: this, indeed, is to imitate the “Prince of Peace.”

(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales, especially Sermons , ed. L. Fiorelli).