The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany.

The Storm on the Sea of Genesareth.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

The Storm on the Sea of Genesareth.

Place before your mind’s eye the scene of the storm at sea depicted in to-day’s Gospel. A great tempest arose in the sea of Genesareth, and the waves ran so high that they threatened to swallow up the boat in which Christ was present with His disciples. Apprehension and alarm might be read upon every countenance, yet amid the deafening noise of the wind, the roar of the boisterous waves, the cries of the panic-stricken disciples, Jesus is asleep in Peter’s little bark as calmly and tranquilly as a child in its cradle to whom care is unknown. Keep this scene before your mind while you proceed to meditate upon its various points.

1st. Consider the violent tempest that arose. Jesus was upon the sea with His disciples, the disciples who were dearest to Him, yet the water becomes rough, the wind becomes a hurricane, their lives are imperilled, the fear of death seizes upon them, and all this, as St. Bonaventure remarks, is by our Lord’s appointment. He permits this storm, according to the explanation given by St. Basil, in order that as He has manifested His omnipotence by many miracles on the firm land, so He wills to display that same power on the restless sea, thereby to prove and to confirm the faith of His disciples. Hence you, my soul, may learn a salutary lesson, conformable to the admonition St. Augustine gives us, that when on the stormy sea of this world a tempest of tribulation over takes you, when you are tossed to and fro by the billows of opposition, persecutions, misfortunes, sickness and affliction, remember that the storm which buffets you has arisen by the ordinance or at any rate by the permission of God, and that it is for your good.

2d. Consider that Jesus is asleep during the storm. Jesus sleeps and leaves the disciples to toil in the midst of the tempest; Jesus sleeps and allows the disciples to be in the sorest distress and anxiety, and this He does for the purpose of confirming the faith of those who are still wavering, of affording them an occasion of imploring His aid with the utmost confidence, and, by succoring them at the moment of direst need, of inspiring them with greater trust for the future. Oh how advantageous was this sleep of our Lord, which awoke the slumbering faith of the disciples! Consider this well, my soul. Have you not often, when lashed as by a tempest, driven before the blast of poverty, of misery, of temptation, of persecution, imagined that your God must be asleep, whereas in fact you yourself were asleep? Your faith was slumbering, your trust in God was slumbering. Jesus only appeared to sleep, and it was because He saw your faith to be slumbering that He permitted your troubles, your persecutions, your calamities to reach a climax, that He might then wake you, and lead you in your greatest need with firm faith and steadfast confidence to cry to Him: “Lord save me, I perish.”

3d. Consider the prompt assistance given by the Saviour. As soon as the disciples call to Him He rises up, commands the winds and the sea, and there comes a great calm immediately. Here ask yourself, my soul, why the disciples did not go to their Master at once, why they wearied themselves out in the endeavor to save themselves, and only called on Him to interfere when they could do nothing more? Because their faith was still weak. They trusted too much to themselves, too little to Jesus, and only when their self-confidence broke down and their own efforts proved unavailing, did their trust in Jesus awaken. Not till then did they have recourse to Him and were saved. How often, my soul, in the course of your life has it been so with you. How often in times of affliction, temptation, conflict you have labored in your own strength, tired yourself out in the endeavor to find relief, sought succor from friends and acquaintances, striven to cheat your woe by distractions, by reading. Yet all was in vain, the tempest only increased in violence. At length it occurred to you to seek help from our Lord in holy Mass, or kneeling before the tabernacle where He abides, or by a humble and sincere confession; and all of a sudden tranquillity ensued, the storm was stilled, the temptation ceased to trouble you. O you of little faith, wherefore did you not go at once to the Physician who alone could cure you?

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

Meditations on the Life, Teaching, and Passion of Jesus Christ

(Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur: New York, December 31, 1900)

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Prayer of St. Gertrude the Great

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

Our Lord told St. Gertrude the Great that this prayer would release 1000 souls from Purgatory each time it is said. The prayer was extended to include living sinners as well.

– taken from Read Me or Rue It by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan – approval of the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, Portugal – March 4, 1936.

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