“If there is no temptation there is no fight; if there is no fight there is no victory; if there is no victory there is no prize, no Heaven.”(Saint Augustine).
I recently heard a story about a young man called Richard. When Richard was 17 years old he experienced a calling to become a priest and enrolled into the seminary. He began his studies, but he found that he did not perform very well in his examinations. The rector of the seminary called his father in for a meeting. Richard’s father was a blacksmith. Richard also attended the meeting with his father. The rector told Richard’s father than though Richard was a good boy, it was likely that God was not really calling him to the priesthood because the exams were very difficult and Richard was struggling very much to pass those exams. He finished the meeting by kindly telling Richard and his father that Richard could “…give glory to God in a different way.”
Richard later wrote, “As if it was yesterday, I remember that cold, dark, wet night. We went home in silence, each of us thinking our own thoughts. Mine were sad. Finally, showing indifference as boys sometimes do, I said, ‘They can keep their title! I'll get a job and help you, Dad.’ My father put his hand on my shoulder and said: ‘Don't give up’; then he said three words that I would never forget: ‘Go ahead, Son.’ These three words were echoing in my ears for hours, days... years: ‘Go ahead, Son.’ And I went ahead...”
Richard was ordained a priest. In fact, Richard Cushing was not only a priest, but he served as Archbishop of Boston from 1944 to 1970 (and was made Cardinal of Boston in 1958). He died on All Souls Day in 1970.
And as I reflect on Cardinal Cushing and the words of his father, “Don't give up…” my mind turns to the storm that frightened the disciples, “And when He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but He was asleep. And they went and woke Him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing.’ And He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?’ Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” (Matthew 8:23-27).
For the storms of my life are coming – they surround and overwhelm me at times. And still, my Beloved is asleep in the boat with me and so – to use the words of my Beloved – “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26). For I really have nothing to fear
You see, as Saint Augustine said, “If there is no temptation there is no fight; if there is no fight there is no victory; if there is no victory there is no prize, no Heaven.” You see, Christ does not always stop the storm, but He does always endure it with us… For He is with us – right here – inside the boat…
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.