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Sunday, June 20

12th Sunday of Ordinary Time
June 20, 2021
Ana Cloughly, OSB, Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery, Colorado Springs, CO

Do You Not Care That We Are Perishing?
When I close my eyes and try to imagine Jesus sleeping on a cushion in the stern of a boat, I picture a boat like the ones in the new series The Chosen. (I’m not in any way associated with the show except to say I enjoy watching it.) The boat is large enough to hold several people and the fish they catch. I can easily imagine the boat taking on water and the men trying to empty it, fighting a losing battle. What is hard for me to imagine is that Jesus sleeping through the storm. He must have been very tired. As they wake Jesus, his disciples ask him “Do you not care that we are perishing?” 

“Teacher, do you not care…?” It seems like a strange thing for them to ask. I would be much more inclined to wake him by shouting, “Hey, get up and help us! Pick up a bucket and bail!!!” The last thing I would expect is for Jesus to reach out his hand and calm the storm and then ask, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” Seeing Jesus reach out his hand calming the storm must have shocked the disciplines. Imagine their silence as they take in what had just happened. Jesus cares, of course he cares.

Fear is a human reflex emotion given to us for survival. Human emotions are not wrong. Whether it’s fear, sadness, anger, happiness, serenity, or excitement our emotions are unfailing indicators to what is important in our lives at that moment. Having faith does not mean becoming devoid of emotion or somehow all our difficulties will be resolved. Even Jesus was terribly afraid in the Garden of Gethsemane where he begged God to take the cup away. His fear was so great he sweat blood.

This story is often seen as a metaphor for our lives. Storms toss us around and disorient us. They leave us wondering if God cares. It is in the midst of turbulence that we begin to feel our vulnerability and the fragility of our humanity. In the monastery we call the lessons we learn from these difficult times Lectio of life. Lectio meaning reading. Not just informational reading but rather the kind of reading that penetrates your heart. Disorientation leads to intentionally reorienting ourselves, putting our focus on God and trusting in the truth of God’s loving care for us.

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Sister Ana Cloughly is the Director of the Contemplative Vision Ministry at Benet Hill Monastery in Colorado Springs, CO. She facilitates courses in contemplative prayer  practices and Christian mysticism, leads group retreats and is a Spiritual Director. She is a member of the planning committee for the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Federation of St. Scholastica.