In the RC liturgical calendar we celebrate Sea Sunday tomorrow & so today we have taken this as our theme. It seems that for many of us, during the pandemic & its restrictions, there has been a longing to see the sea. It seems that the sea for many people has a restorative effect. We perhaps relate to its many moods and to its beauty.
You will find attached the Gospel text of ‘The Storm at Sea’ & some reflections on that. You will also find a couple of poems chosen from so many. We must all be aware of the number of lives lost in the Mediterranean as migrants attempt to get to Europe. Likewise, migrants’ lives have been lost, fewer but nevertheless tragically, closer to home in the English Channel. We have included heartfelt words from Pope Francis on this subject.
Finally a blessing: ‘The Irish Blessing’ from Sacred Weave.
May the road rise with you;
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
May the rain fall soft upon your fields.
Until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.
We will pray this with each of you for you & your family & friends.
With our love & prayer
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Mark 4:38-39
And there was great calm! Yes, this is a reference to the quieting of the sea, but it is a message spoken to the turmoil we face at times in life. Jesus wants to bring great calm to our lives.
It’s so very easy to get discouraged in life. It’s so very easy to focus in on the chaos that is all around us. Be it a harsh and biting word from another, a family problem, civil unrest, financial concerns, etc., there are plenty of reasons for each one of us to fall into the trap of fear, frustration, depression and anxiety.
But it was for this reason that Jesus allowed this event to take place with His disciples. He got into the boat with His disciples and allowed them to experience a fierce storm while He slept, so that He could bring from this experience a clear and convincing message to us all.
In this story, the disciples focused in on one thing: They were perishing! The sea was tossing them and they feared imminent disaster. But through it all, Jesus was there sound asleep, waiting for them to wake Him. And when they woke Him, He took control of the storm and brought perfect calm.
The same is true in our lives. We are so easily rattled by the stresses and difficulties of daily life. We so often allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by problems we face. The key is to turn our eyes to Jesus. See Him there, before you, sleeping and waiting for you to rouse Him. He is always there, always waiting, always ready.
Waking our Lord is as simple as turning our eyes from the stormy sea and trusting in His divine presence. It’s all about trust. Total and unyielding trust. Do you trust Him?
Reflect, today, upon that which causes you daily anxiety, fear or confusion. What is it that appears to be tossing you here and there causing you stress and worry? As you see this burden, see also Jesus there with you, waiting for you to come to Him in trust so that He can take control of every situation in life in which you find yourself. He loves you and will indeed take care of you.
Lord, I turn to You in the midst of the challenges of life and desire to rouse You to come to my aid. I know You are always near, waiting for me to trust You in all things. Help me to turn my eyes to You and to have faith in Your perfect love for me. Jesus, I trust in You.
VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Francis on Sunday described as shameful the deaths of 130 migrants in the Mediterranean, saying they pleaded for two days for help for their overcrowded, foundering rubber dinghy in the sea off Libya but potential rescuers choose “to look the other way.”
Francis called the sea tragedy last week “a moment of shame.”
The migrants had made a call for help on Wednesday. On Thursday, when a humanitarian rescue boat and a merchant ship sailing in very rough waters arrived at the scene, the deflating dinghy had partially sunk, several bodies were seen in the water and no survivors were found. Rescue centres in Libya, Malta and Italy had been alerted, according to the European Union border protection agency Frontex, whose plane had located the dinghy.
“I confess to you I am very pained by the tragedy that once again played out in the last days in the Mediterranean,” the pope told people in St. Peter’s Square who gathered to hear his traditional Sunday noon remarks.
“One hundred and thirty migrants died in the sea. They are persons, human lives, who for two entire days implored in vain for help, help that didn’t arrive,” Francis said.
SONG OF THE SEA BY RAINER MARIA RILKE
Timeless sea breezes,
sea-wind of the night:
you come for no one;
if someone should wake,
he must be prepared
how to survive you.
Timeless sea breezes,
that for aeons have
blown ancient rocks,
you are purest space
coming from afar…
Oh, how a fruit-bearing
fig tree feels your coming
high up in the moonlight.
SAIL AWAY BY RABINDRANATH TAGORE
Early in the day it was whispered that we should sail in a boat,
only thou and I, and never a soul in the world would know of this our
pilgrimage to no country and to no end.
In that shoreless ocean,
at thy silently listening smile my songs would swell in melodies,
free as waves, free from all bondage of words.
Is the time not come yet?
Are there works still to do?
Lo, the evening has come down upon the shore
and in the fading light the seabirds come flying to their nests.
Who knows when the chains will be off,
and the boat, like the last glimmer of sunset,
vanish into the night?
CRASHING waves… SMASHING seas…
Bringing sailors to their knees.
As they struggle to save their lives,
Hoping and praying help arrives.
The stormy seas as dark as coal,
Preventing the sailors from reaching their goal.
Battered and bruised, but still they fight…
Staring ahead into the dead of night.
Rocking and rolling as they try to stand…
Hoping against hope that they soon reach land.
Bleary eyed from lack of sleep.
Down in their cabins, huddled like sheep.
As they’re rocking and rolling down beneath,
Weary sailors above resist with gritted teeth.
Hours later, as the storm starts to dissipate,
It leaves a calm tranquil sea in it wake.
The veteran sailors know the battle is over and they have won…
As they contemplate other storms yet to come.