“Acquire the habit of speaking to God as if you were alone with Him, familiarly and with confidence and love, as to the dearest and most loving of friends. Speak to Him often of your business, your plans, your troubles, your fears — of everything that concerns you. Converse with Him confidently and frankly; for God is not wont to speak to a soul that does not speak to Him.” —Saint Alphonsus Liguori

 

Monday, August 1 ~ Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

 

Holy Gospel: Matthew 14:22-36 Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side of the sea, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.” After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret. When the men of that place recognized him, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought to him all those who were sick and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak, and as many as touched it were healed.

 

Meditation: This dramatic incident on the sea of Galilee revealed Peter’s character rather vividly. Here we see Peter’s impulsivity — his tendency to act without thinking of what he was doing. He often failed and came to grief as a result of his impulsiveness. In contrast, Jesus always bade his disciples to see how difficult it was to follow him before they set out on the way he taught them. A great deal of failure in the Christian life is due to acting on impulse, feelings and emotions without counting the cost. Peter, fortunately in the moment of his failure clutched at Jesus and held him firmly. Every time Peter fell, he rose again. His failures only made him love the Lord more deeply and trust him more intently. The Lord keeps watch over us at all times, and especially in our moments of temptation and difficulty.

 

Prayer: O God, who constantly raise up in your Church new examples of virtue, grant that we may follow so closely in the footsteps of the Bishop Saint Alphonsus in his zeal for souls as to attain the same rewards that are his in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Does the Lord seem distant when trials or adversity come your way? Jesus assures us that we have no need of fear if we trust in Him and in his great love for us. When calamities or trials threaten to overwhelm you, do you respond with faith and hope in God’s love, and his care and presence with you? If not, you should!  True peace and divine direction can be ours only if we turn to Christ.