“Immediately afterward he insisted that his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. When he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray. As evening drew on, the boat was far out on the lake while he was alone on the land. Then, seeing them tossed about as they tried to row with the wind against them, he came walking toward them on the water; the time was between three and six in the morning. He meant to pass them by. When they saw him walking on the lake, they thought it was a ghost and they began to cry out. They had all seen him and were terrified. He hastened to reassure them: Get hold of yourselves! It is I. Do not be afraid! He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were taken aback by these happenings.” Mark 6:45-51

In this incident that occurs in the Eucharistic readings for the week after the Feast of the Epiphany, we get at least two forceful lessons for us in recovery. One is the confusion and terror that comes to us when we are startled by reality. The followers of The Lord do what they know best, namely, take to the sea. They have this manner of acting just as we, by default, go naturally to drink. Then, as we witness in the story, the storm comes up and we become frightened. In our fright, we might even turn to prayer, such as, “God, get me out of this mess and I’ll follow You ever after!” How many times have we uttered such a prayer in a tight situation where danger lurks?

The second lesson we get from this text is going to prayer, even when tired, when communication with our God is the only thing that will sustain us and give us life. The Lord was indeed weary and probably frazzled from dealing with the crowds all day. Yet, what did He do but go alone to a place where He could communicate with His Father. The lesson is clear for us. All we need do is carry out this crucial lesson in our own life. Seek The Lord where He may be found. Call to Him and He will be near you.

Prayer: Lord, when times get tough and the storm of life overwhelms me, help me to have the sense to call to You for help. I believe and I know You are near and will never fail to bring me through the strongest storm into the light and calm of Your grace. Amen.

These thoughts offered by Brother Richard Hittle, S.J., a grateful 1980 graduate of Guest House and an employee since 2004.