Believe meditation stimulates devotion

"On the evening of that day" (Mk 4.35). This is how the gospel we just heard begins. For weeks it has seemed as if it was evening. Deep darkness has settled on our squares, streets and cities; it has seized our lives and filled everything with a deafening silence and a desolate emptiness that paralyzes everything as you pass: it is in the air, you notice it in the gestures, the looks say it. We are scared and feel lost. Like the gospel disciples, we were caught in an unexpected violent storm. It became clear to us that we are all in the same boat, that we are all weak and disoriented, but at the same time important and necessary, because we are all called to row together, we all have to support one another. We are all on this boat. Like the disciples who cry out fearfully from one mouth: "We are going to perish" (cf. v. 38), we too have recognized that we are not making progress individually, but only together.

We can easily find ourselves in this story. It is more difficult then to understand the behavior of Jesus. While the disciples are naturally alarmed and desperate, he is at the stern, in the part of the boat that goes down first. And what does he do? Despite all the excitement, he sleeps peacefully, trusting the Father - it is the only time in the gospel that we see Jesus sleeping. When he is then awakened and has calmed the wind and the water, he turns to the disciples reproachfully: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith? ”(V. 40).

Let's try to understand. What is the disciples 'lack of faith that contrasts with Jesus' trust? They hadn't stopped believing in him, they were begging him. But let's see how they call on him: "Master, don't you care that we perish?" (V. 38). Don't you care: they think that Jesus doesn't care about them, that He doesn't care about them. In the interpersonal sphere, in our families, one of the most painful experiences is when one says to the other: “You don't care about me?” That is a sentence that hurts and gets our hearts pounding. That will have shaken Jesus too. Because nobody cares more about us than he does. Indeed, when they call him, he saves his discouraged disciples.

The storm exposes our vulnerabilities and exposes those false and unnecessary certainties that we have relied on in our plans, projects, habits and priorities. It shows how we have neglected and given up the things that nourish, maintain and strengthen our life and our community. The storm exposes all of our plans to “pack away” and forget what has nourished the souls of our peoples; all the attempts at anesthetizing with apparently “healing” habits that are unable to invoke our roots and evoke the memory of our older generation, thereby depriving us of the immunity necessary to face difficulties.

With the storm, the stereotypical masks with which we disguise our "ego" in constant concern for our own image have also fallen; and once again that (blessed) common belonging was revealed, from which we cannot escape, namely that we are all brothers and sisters.

“Why are you so afraid? Don't you have faith yet? ”Lord, your word this evening affects us all. In our world, which you love even more than we do, we raced on at full speed and had the feeling of being strong and capable of anything. In our addiction to profit we have let ourselves be completely absorbed by material things and numbed by haste. We did not stop in front of your warnings, we did not allow wars and global injustice to shake us, we did not listen to the cry of the poor and our seriously ill planet. We went on boldly believing that in a sick world we would always stay healthy. Now, on the stormy sea, we ask you: "Wake up, Lord!"

“Why are you so afraid? Don't you have faith yet? ”Lord, you appeal to us, you appeal to faith. Not just in the belief that you exist, but in the belief that allows us to come to you with trust. During this Lent you hear your urgent call: "Repent" (Mk 1:15); "Return to me with all your heart with fasting and weeping and lamenting" (Joël 2:12). You call us to use this time of trial as a time of decision. It is not the time of your judgment, but of our judgment: the time to decide what really matters and what is transitory, the time to distinguish what is necessary from what is not. It is the time to redirect the course of life to you, Lord, and to those around you. And in doing so, we can look to the example of so many companions who have reacted in situations of fear with the devotion of their lives. It is the work of the Holy Spirit that is poured and molded into courageous and generous devotion. It is the life of the Holy Spirit that is able to deliver, appreciate, and show how our lives are shaped and sustained by ordinary people - who are usually forgotten - who are not in the headlines of the newspapers and magazines Otherwise, they are in the limelight of the latest show, which today undoubtedly write an important page in our history: Doctors, nurses, supermarket employees, cleaning staff, support staff, transporters, security staff, volunteers, priests, religious and many, yes, many others who understood have that no one can save himself alone. In view of the suffering by which the true development of our peoples is measured, we discover and experience the high priestly prayer of Jesus: "All shall be one" (Jn 17:21). How many people practice patience and hope every day and are careful not to spread panic, but to encourage shared responsibility. How many fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, teachers show our children with small and everyday gestures how to face a crisis and get through it by adjusting their habits, straightening their gaze and stimulating prayer. How many people pray, donate and work for the good of all. Prayer and silent service - these are our victorious weapons.

“Why are you so afraid? Don't you have faith yet? ”The beginning of faith is the knowledge that we are in need of salvation. We are not independent, we perish alone. We need the Lord just as the ancient sailors need the stars. Let us invite Jesus into the boats of our lives. Let us hand over our fears to him so that he can overcome them. Like the disciples, we will see that we will not be shipwrecked with him on board. Because that is God's strength: to turn everything that happens to us for good, including bad things. He brings calm to our storms, because with God life never perishes.

The Lord challenges us and in the midst of the storm he invites us to awaken and activate solidarity and hope that give firmness, support and meaning to these hours in which everything seems to be drowning. The Lord awakens to awaken and revive our Easter faith. We have an anchor: through his cross we are saved. We have an oar: through his cross we were ransomed. We have hope: through his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love. In the midst of the isolation in which we suffer from a lack of affection and encounter, and experience the lack of many things, let us hear again the message that saves us: He is risen and lives among us. The Lord calls us from his cross to rediscover the life that awaits us, to look to those who need us and to strengthen, recognize and encourage the grace that dwells within us. Let us not extinguish the little flame (cf. Isa 42: 3), which never goes out, and let us do everything to rekindle hope.

To accept one's own cross means to find the courage to accept all the adversities of the present and for a moment to give up our thirst for omnipotence and possessions in order to give space to creativity that only the Holy Spirit can awaken. It means finding the courage to open spaces in which everyone feels called and to allow new forms of hospitality, brotherhood and solidarity. Through his cross we are saved so that we may accept and allow hope that it may strengthen and support all possible measures and ways that can help us to protect ourselves and others. To embrace the Lord to embrace hope - this is the strength of faith that frees us from fear and gives us hope.

“Why are you so afraid? Don't you have any faith yet? ”Dear brothers and sisters, from this place, which tells of Peter's steadfast faith, I would like to entrust you all to the Lord tonight and ask Our Lady for her intercession for the salvation of God's people and the stars of the sea is on stormy seas. From these colonnades that embrace Rome and the world, the blessing of God descends upon you like a comforting embrace. Lord, bless the world, give health to bodies and comfort to hearts. You want us not to be afraid; but our faith is weak and we are afraid. But you, Lord, do not leave us to the storms. Say to us once more: "Do not be afraid" (Mt 28: 5). And together with Peter we throw “all our worries on you, because you look after us” (cf. 1 Pet 5: 7).

(vatican news - gs)