Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man. (Luke 5:8)
Christ worked His miracle in the deep water of the Sea of Galilee, and St. Peter recognized the awesome holiness. [Spanish]
Peter was afraid. He knew he was not worthy to be in the presence of God. Peter thought to himself: The incredible gift God just gave me means that He will inevitably ask something of me. Something that will require me to let go of everything.
If our First Parents had not fallen in the garden, we would have a different point-of-view. We would focus on God always. We would have complete confidence in His Providence. We would know that our deepest desire is for God. We would know that He alone can make us truly happy. Serving God frees us from anxiety about things like comfort and reputation.
As it is, though, we are a fallen race, living in a fallen world, and we each have to struggle to survive. This inclines us toward avarice and pride. We hold on tight to what we have. We fear life without our “stuff.”
None of it is really ours—everything we have is God’s gift. Given for the short term, to help us get to heaven. But we cling to our stuff, instead of holding it loosely, ready to let go and reach out for the only real treasure worth having, namely God Himself.
When St. Peter realized that God had come to him, he was paralyzed. Peter could not believe that the Christ of God intended to be his friend. Personal friendship with the Messiah? That’s too good for me! And too challenging. Or so Peter thought.
But Jesus said to the fisherman: No, My friendship is not too good for you. I have plans for you. I will make you worthy. Just let go of everything else.
The Lord Jesus extends the same invitation to each of us. He has a plan for us all. This plan involves our co-operating with Him, growing closer and closer to Him, and doing great things for Him. Helping draw other souls to Him, by the evidence of our own faith. While we meanwhile hold on loosely to everything currently within our grasp, ready to let go if need be.
We tend to shrink back from the adventure that the Lord invites us to make. Our faith falters. We think: How close could God really want to be to me, anyway? I have so many spiritual warts. And unclean lips, as Isaiah put it. We tend to think, ‘Surely the Lord would prefer a holier person to be a soldier for the kingdom and a fisher of men.’
But it’s not true. Our excuses are not true. Right here and now, the Lord is saying to each of us: ‘Do not be afraid. I know how poorly qualified you are. I do not care. I am not looking for hot-shots. I am looking for friends with generous hearts.’
St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians teaches us the single qualification we need to serve as an apostle of Christ.
I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day. (I Corinthians 15:3-4)
Only one thing is necessary, for us to follow the Lord into the adventure of a holy life. We have to believe that He rose from the dead.
We believe it! We have faith in the triumph of Christ. He has conquered all evil.
That faith is all we need. Then we let go of everything else.