March 19, 2017
Jump In: ‘Once you determine to the best of your ability that your potential choice is what the Lord wants, there’s only one thing left to do. It’s the same thing that you do when you see a swimming pool on a hot day – Jump in!” (Gary Zimak:
Faith, Hope and Clarity: How to Know God’s Will).
For years I wanted to learn how to swim. My desire came from observing others who swam. They exuded a grace with each stroke as they displayed a relaxed-filled state. As I watched them I could only think how peaceful they swam.
Each time that I approached the idea of learning to swim the thought of getting into deep water made me apprehensive. In elementary school I once jumped into deep water only to have a life guard pull me out when he saw me struggle to stay afloat.
One day I spoke with parishioner Jim McNally, who had been a swimming and daving coach for Texas Tech. I asked him, “What is your technique in swimming?” He replied, “I pray the rosary when I swim.” I could not help but smile and think, “That’s amazing, what a wonderful idea.”
Jim’s suggestion to pray gave me the courage to enter the pool. I discovered that reciting the Hail Mary with each stroke brought calmness. My breathing went into a pattern and my mind focused on those for whom I was praying. During the times when I felt panic enter and could sense that I was losing focus I’d concentrate on Our Mothers’ words until my peacefulness returned.
Following Jim’s instructions provided me the opportunity to pray for family, friends and those on my prayer list. My fear of drowning left, knowing that I was praying with each stroke. I soon had a new respect for water and Jim’s suggestion reminded me when Jesus spoke to his disciples, “Take courage! It is I don’t be afraid” (Mt. 14:27).
How often in life have we heard to “trust” that Jesus knows our needs yet question his ability? This Lenten season overcome your reluctance to really “jump in” and change your life. Take a “leap of faith” and tell yourself, “Everything (you know) must go so that God’s will is all that is left” (Mark Hart and Christopher Cuddy:
Zealous: Following Jesus with Guidance from St. Paul).
“Dear Lord, increase our faith. Your promise is so amazing that sometimes we struggle to believe. You are with us even if we don’t feel your presence. Let us trust more in your Word than in our human senses. If you truly guide our every decision, every opportunity, every struggle, then ultimately all will be well – according to your will. We will hope in your promise, Emmanuel, God is with us. Amen” (Fr. Steve Gibson, CSC).
Sea of Prayer: “In the face of so many wounds that hurt us and could harden our hearts, we are called to dive into the sea of prayer, which is the sea of God’s boundless love, to taste his tenderness.” (Diane M. Houdek:
The Hope of Lent: Daily Lenten Reflections from Pope Francis).