"Immediately they left their nets and followed Him... Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.” (Matthew 4:18-22).
Ever since they were very very little, my three children have wanted me to buy them their very own umbrellas.
Over the years we have tried a few different types of umbrellas – little children-umbrellas, and big-children umbrellas and adult umbrellas – but they really do not seem to last very long before we are on the prowl for a new umbrella…
The other day I read a story about umbrellas. In the story, the people of a village had gathered together in their church to pray for rain… You see, there had been many years of drought that had seriously affected their village, and finally, the villagers – having no other hope – decided to offer a Holy Mass so that God would send them rain to end the drought.
During his homily, their parish priest commented, “This is strange! Two hundred people praying for rain... and no one brought an umbrella!”
And I have been reflecting on this umbrella – or lack of – ever since I heard this story.
You see, we are, each of us, called to have GREAT FAITH!
And GREAT FAITH means that we are called to act IMMEDIATELY because we are called to trust PERFECTLY.
People of faith step out into the world immediately because they understand that God will provide for them in all things according to His Holy Will.
In the Gospel of Saint Matthew (4:18-22), we are told of Christ’s calling of his apostles, Simon-Peter, Andrew, James and John…
“As He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. And going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.” (Matthew 4:18-22).
These men got up IMMEDIATELY!
They did not ask for a moment to think things through. They did not finish the task they had in hand. They did no stop to collect the remainder of their catch. They did not say to God, “Please just give me half an our or fifteen minutes to sort myself out so that I can pack up my boat.” They did not ask for time to collect some groceries for dinner or to kiss their mother or wife goodbye. Instead, they heard Him call them and they rose and followed Him IMMEDIATELY. Their boat was left in the lake. Their fish were left in the nets. Their old life was left behind so that they could make room for their new life.
In fact, as an old man, Saint Andrew was martyred on an X-shaped cross – at his own request because he did not deem himself worthy to be martyred on the same shaped cross as the Son of Man.
When he was shown his cross, he cried out, “Oh good Cross, made beautiful by the Body of the Lord: long have I desired You, ardently have I loved You, unceasingly have I sought You out; and now You are ready for my eager soul. Receive me from among men and restore me to my Master, so that He – who, by means of You, in dying redeemed me – may by You receive me."
And so, as I pray my prayers and live my life, I must remind myself of this prayer of Saint Andrew and I must remember to always carry an umbrella… Because if I truly have faith it would mean that when I pray for rain – I must surely be prepared for a storm!
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.