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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Walking on Water, Part II
Fr Evaristo Sada, LC, speaks about the Legion´s current situation as a storm to be lived with faith.

Rembrandt painting
Rembrandt's painting, "Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee."

The following text is a continuation of Fr Evaristo´s talk at the Youth and Family Encounter in Mexico. Read Part I here or download the entire talk in PDF format here.

The storm on the Sea of Galilee and in our life

This year has been very difficult. Many things have converged: the economic crisis, the serious disorders in the life of our founder, and everyone has their own sufferings in their marriage, family, job…

The Rembrandt painting ["Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee"] depicts the calming of the storm on the Sea of Galilee. Look at the people in the painting: one is seasick and is leaning over the side. One is praying. Another two are calling out to Jesus. What is happening?  How did he allow this? In front, there is a group giving their all to pull out of it. One is “waiting” and accuses the others of fighting as if nothing were happening. The others ask him what he is waiting for, as if the fight for holiness and the mission could allow for breaks.

Some tell others, “You just don’t understand me.” The ones in front of the boat shout to the nauseated one to come and help them; and he responds, “I just can’t.” Another is watching, demanding, blaming, complaining, and telling the others that they are doing it all wrong. Another is unaware because fear has made him deny the hard reality. There is Peter at the helm, following Christ’s instructions. Maybe one has fallen into the sea, is drowning, and is waiting to be rescued and brought back into the boat.

In our interior process, we have all gone through different attitudes. No one would ever have imagined the storm that has surrounded us. It is terrible. As in any difficult moment, we have to help each other, understand each other, respect each other, be reconciled, stand by those who are most affected, tired, confused, or wounded. We have to carry each other’s burdens (cf. Gal. 6:2). I understand that there is disappointment, sadness, and bewilderment. No wonder.

Asking forgiveness

I would like to ask wholehearted forgiveness of the people whom our founder has affected by the immoral actions of his personal life, and also of the people who have felt hurt by its consequences. Fr Alvaro has already done so and is doing so in public and in private, but once again, we ask forgiveness because we are sincerely sorry for what the Church and people have suffered.

Jesus is in the boat

When you are in the middle of the storm and you can’t see clearly, you need a bit of space and distance to be able to reflect, see your mistakes, understand others better, and begin to recover your strength to rebuild and fulfill your responsibilities without avoiding the problems. We don’t know how long it is going to last. ‘Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain! (Vivian Greene). This is going to take time; we are learning to dance and sing in the rain with faith, trust, and love. And we have seen that with God’s grace, it is possible.

The most important thing is that Jesus is in the boat. He is trying to keep all of us on board, united and trustful. He wants to bring us to the other shore, where God the Father is waiting for us with open arms.

Supernatural trust

After thinking about it for a long time, I came to the conviction that I must have trust, because Jesus was the one who invited me. The boat is God’s own hands. I see the Legion and Regnum Christi in these hands; I see my life there. In his hands, we are secure and in peace. Jesus tells us, “Courage, it is I. Do not be afraid.” It is not about not getting disturbed: Mary was disturbed, Jesus was in anguish in Gethsemane. It is about learning to suffer with Jesus, his way.

I was reading a book that has an example I liked, and which I’d like to apply in our situation. If I throw this racquetball ball, it bounces higher than the point where it was. If I throw a tomato, it stays there, all smashed and paralyzed. If I throw an egg, it breaks. Crisis in our life can cause breakage, paralysis, or it can lead us to overcome our problems.

You can apply this to any circumstance in your life: a sickness, the death of a loved one, an assault or robbery, bankruptcy, the betrayal of your husband or wife, a business associate cheating you, your own sins, or any misfortune you have had in life. When you face trials and misfortunes, you can break or you can grow. With the theological virtues—faith, hope, and charity—the stronger the blow, the more you overcome. If not, the stronger the blow, the more certain that you will break. The theological virtues are the life of God in us. To see as he sees, to feel as he feels. If you let yourself be conquered by mistrust, you will break and sink. If you have only human trust, you will not break, but neither will you grow. If you have supernatural confidence, you will overcome. And if you have broken, don’t feel alone. Jesus is always at your side when all of this happens to you. He will help you to rebuild. He can make all things new.

An old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that takes place inside people. He told him, “My son, the battle is between two wolves that we carry inside. One wolf is sin: anger, impatience, disappointment, rancor, resentment, hatred, pride, the desire for vengeance, selfishness. The other wolf is goodness: it is forgiveness, mercy, peace, respect, hope, goodness, compassion, trust, humility, love…” The child thought about it for a while and then asked his grandfather, “Grandpa, which wolf wins the battle?” The old man answered, “The one you feed.” Which wolf am I feeding?

In my interview with one of the apostolic visitors assigned to us by the Holy See, he asked me: “When your superiors told you about the immoral behaviors in your founder’s life, did the rug get pulled out from under you?  Did everything come crashing down around you?” I answered, “I was not founded on our founder. My human handles collapsed, and that is hard, but the rock I’m founded on is firm. It is the rock of God’s love. I am founded on the certainty that this work is from God, and that I consecrated myself to God. I am anchored in what is above. I did not lose my way. My model is Christ. I love Christ more than ever.

Forgive us if we have made the way harder

I imagine how many hard moments you may have had in life. God and each one of you know what your most difficult moments have been.

In this context, I want to tell you all that if any priest has made your path through life harder, as a brother in the priesthood, I ask a deep and sincere pardon for it. Pardon for anything we may have done or not done that may have caused suffering or confusion. Pray for us, so that God will help us, so that he will help us in our weakness, and so that we will be what we are meant to be. Pray a lot, so that every priest will be like Christ, the Good Shepherd.

Talk continues at this link.



Related articles
- Walking on Water, Part I
- Walking on Water, Part III

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