Lent Day 32 – Climbing Into Your Boat

by Bishop Robert Barron


Simon was an ordinary fisherman from Capernaum in Galilee. One day, he was going about his ordinary business, washing his nets and preparing for a catch. Without warning, without asking permission, Jesus got into his boat. Now the boat was everything for Peter; it was his livelihood, his security. And Jesus just got in and began giving orders.

So it goes in the order of grace. The true God cannot be manipulate by us, controlled through our efforts. Rather, he comes into our lives, often unbidden and unexpected, to determine and guide us.

What does this surprising and awe-inspiring person do once he gets our attention? He gives us a mission. When Jesus gets into Simon’s boat, he says, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” The deep water represents God’s work, projects, and intentions.

Jesus even clarified this mission for Peter saying, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men” (Luke 5:10). In essence, he told Peter: Now you know what your life is about; now the depth dimension has opened up.

But what does all of this also produce? A keen sense of one’s own sinfulness. It is a Biblical commonplace (on display in the lives of all the saints as well) that the closer God gets, the more one becomes aware of his sin. But once God reveals himself, once he gets into our boat, we can no longer live with those comforting illusions.

Peter says, “Leave me Lord, I’m a sinful man” (Luke 5:8). This is precisely why we recite or sing the Kyrie at the beginning of every Mass. In God’s presence, we become aware of our sin. We must not be afraid of acknowledging our sin—despite a thousand suggestions to the contrary coming from the culture. God can easily deal with sin that is honestly confessed.

Our God is not the least bit interested in getting us fussily preoccupied with our sin. He wants us to confess it and get on with the mission.

Has God broken into your life? Has he given you a mission? Has he forgiven your sins? The answer to all three questions is: “Yes!”

   

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  • ber

    This goes back to the encounter with God and how it changes our life and direction he didn’t force us just inspires us to live work and act in a different way this time seeing his way rather than our way he opens up the waters for us to give us a new fishing ground or mission sometimes we wellcome him and other times resist him he knows all about us but is still willing to encourage us to go deeper to go forward he doesn’t conden us in our sin but opens up further possibilitys by forgiving them when he comes inside our boat we may be prepared to going a different direction this effects our will or pride for to go forward we need to be humble enough to know that this time he knows better
    blessings on your day

  • D Blyth

    As the Christ had a choice of obeying His Father’s will, so do we.
    As Simon bar Jonah became aware of His presence and hence his unworthiness – so should I.
    Sometimes I am aware – but not enough

    • Elizabeth

      I have starred this video for later. Wealth of spiritual awareness. Thank you D Blyth

      • D Blyth

        Elizabeth I have also listened to Fr Rolheiser’s talk “Insane for the Light” – also insight-giving.

  • Elizabeth

    Has God broken into your life? Has he given you a mission? Has he forgiven your sins? The answer to all three questions is: “Yes!”

    For our Lenten Reflection at our church we viewed the DVD Full of Grace. It takes place 10 years after the Resurrection. Mary of Nazareth spends her final days helping the church regain its original encounter with the lord. Peter is having difficulty making decisions for the floundering church as new persons entering the church were from cultures not aware of the person Jesus. Mary recognizes her time is growing short here on earth and sends for Peter. What is Peter’s sin? He was not applying his own encounter with Jesus and Jesus’ teachings. Once recognized, Peter is made confident in the Lord and guides the Church by his following in Jesus footsteps.

    For me this movie has helped tremendously to step back, think “What would Jesus Do” in whatever circumstance I am in, pray and then go forward to do God’s will not mine. Do I still get myself in the way, Yes, but I have become aware to stop, listen to my God, and go forward.

    • concerned citizen

      Elizabeth, what you are doing is exactly what is meant by contemplatives in action.

  • Carol Miller

    It is true that the more we pray and are aware of God’s presence the more we see our sins. I was a single parent from a young age. It was extremely hard and I made mistakes. It is hard to forgive yourself when your children throw things at you constantly. I feel I have devoted my entire life to my girls and grandchildren. please pray for me as I am in extreme emotional pain. My younger daughter has some major personality problems and I am constantly worried about my three granddaughters. I pray every day for strength and guidance from Christ. It is hard to pray with so much anxiety and heartache. Bishop Barron’s reflections are a great source of comfort. Carol M.

    • D Blyth
      • Elizabeth

        The video is so true. When my sons returned from college, and I would make a request or make a comment, they would say “Mom you are putting the guilt trip on us again” I was not aware of this “Imperfect way of what I thought was helping them grow to be “Good” Christians.” I realized I had been parenting as my parents did. They grew up with the respect authority and somehow that came to mean l”let them feel guilty.” Now I catch myself and recognize, it is out of love not guilt we guide and speak to one another. It is okay to recognize our imperfections and learn from those around us.

        • D Blyth

          Children generally seek independence and doubt parents’ approaches to matters. So when they do see merit in a parent’s approach it’s a pleasant surprise and an opening to connect at an adult level.

      • Carol Miller

        Thank you so much. Carol M.

    • ber

      Carol a prayer I often use when I can’t change anything is sweet mother I place this cause in your hands she is a mother and will help you are asking to help where you cant it takes a while but never fails I will pray it for you and your daughter today

      • Carol Miller

        Thank you so much. God bless. Carol M.

    • Dude_Abides

      PRAYER MATTERS. I have witnessed its power to assist in miracles.

      • Carol Miller

        Thank you for your reply. I just came from mass and I asked our blessed Lord to perform a miracle and cure my daughter Megan of a major personality disorder. If you read about this disorder you will see there are no medications to remedy it. So, I really do need a miracle. I have been praying longer than St. Monica with still no results. I will never give up. Please include my daughter and myself in your prayers. Thank you. Carol M.

    • D Blyth

      Carol, if your kids interact with you, they still consider you relevant and wish to continue the relationship. They are trying to make sense of life and you are considered important in that effort!

      • Carol Miller

        Thank you for your insightful comment. Carol M.

    • concerned citizen

      Carol, pray the Serenity Prayer often times in a day. “Lord, grant me the serenity to know the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” There is actually a longer version, but this is shorter and easier to remember and can be prayed many times a day. Maybe you can follow it up with an Hail Mary.

      • Carol Miller

        Thank you. I do pray St. Francis prayer. Please keep me in your prayers. Thank you. Carol M.

        • concerned citizen

          Yes, I will, Carol. If you are a devotee to our Blessed Mother and pray the rosary regularly, and want to continue to grow in faith, you may want to join the Rosary Soldiers of Mary, of which I am a member. Just let me know, and I can ask for the URL. At present we are about 170 members but this is a closed and private group. And we are presently praying for more than 200 intentions, many if not most are really very serious problems.

          And this invitation is also open to any devotee in this blog.

          • Carol Miller

            Thank you so much. I would like to join the Rosary Soldiers of Mary. That would be wonderful. Thank you. Carol M.

          • concerned citizen

            Carol, here is the URL address.

            http://www.flocknote.com/soldiersofmary

            there are two private blogs: the rosary soldiers of Mary and the Rosary Garden of prayers. In the Rosary Soldiers of Mary, you will be receiving a daily email regarding a topic for the day and you can send your comments and interact with the other rosary soldiers like you do in this blog. Like these past few days, we have been discussing the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.

            In the garden, are the list of intentions where we send our prayer intentions. The entire list is updated monthly to incorporate the intentions given for the previous month.

          • Carol Miller

            Thank you for this I for. Carol M.

          • concerned citizen

            You are most welcome Carol and looking forward to your joining the Rosary Soldiers of Mary.

          • ber

            Yes concerned I would also love to join please bernie

          • concerned citizen

            Ber, please see my reply to Carol Miller below.

          • ber

            Thanks concerned found it will prepare first thanks for shearing its so tin like the living rosary

          • concerned citizen

            you are most welcome ber and looking forward. There are actually some bloggers here who are already members too, like Janice and Elizabeth.

          • ber

            Thank you I have very helpful resources here I was wondering if it is something local to usa

          • concerned citizen

            We are actually like one big family with members coming from usa, uk, ireland, canada, singapore and philippines. We help each other in our journey of faith.

          • ber

            Thank you signed up today bless you bernie

          • concerned citizen

            Ber, I have advised our administrator. You will get your approval soon. Thanks.

            Once again, the invitation is open to all devotees to our Blessed Mother who like to grow in faith by discussing different topics everyday while at the same time becoming a prayer warrior for the suffering and the sick.

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      Carol know that last night when I was awakened by pain. I prayed the rosary for you ( and two others). I also was a single mom but I was older. Older single moms have their own set of problems but a lot are the same. My children still through things up to you and blame you. I know how hard it is

      • Carol Miller

        Thank you so much. God bless. Carol M.

  • Alicia

    I used to colorize my sins, put them all in a pretty picture, like standing in a Monet.
    The more serious traumatic sins were locked up in a room down a pitch black hall.

    The moment I surrendered to God, the Light of Christ illuminated and pierced my heart and He showed me the gravity of my sins. His Love and forgiveness swung opened those doors that were hiding my shame for the mortal sins I committed, flooding them with His Light! God has forgiven & has set me free from bondage!

    I love you Father ….thanks for Loving me

    • Dude_Abides

      Powerful testimony Alicia.

  • Dayna Ellis

    Just thinking of the Bishop’s last three questions especially the first one. With a terrible wreck involving an eighteen wheeler, I survived with scrapes and amazingly found my four year old 6 inches from the wheel of the truck submerged in mud but alive. God truly “broke into my life” with that event. God was always with me and never left, but I was not fully with Him. All of us have life events where we ran back to the arms of our Lord to seek refuge and calm.
    Thank you God for leading me home. You ” Lord Jesus are the potter, I am the clay. ” Mold me and use me to Your benefit. Amen

    • kayeloney@cox.net

      That was amazing. Big Hugh truck’s are scary, Jesus indeed saved you and your child. With no injuries, I have no doubt at all there was Angel’s all around you, and your child.

  • rtclovesmac

    The challenge is not to become so scrupulous that we become obsessed with purification. Such scruples are also sinful.
    God asks nothing of us that we cannot accomplish while His is the Captain of our ship.
    Some of us will serve as shipmates, and others will be given ships to lead…like families, work sites, communities, platoons of servicemen and women…
    the key being that we not let “our directions” over replace His directions to serve.
    Humble compassionate service is the best form of leadership

    • Dude_Abides

      Amen!

    • Elizabeth

      The movie Full of Grace, mentioned in my commentary, portrays just what you have stated above. Amen

      • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

        Lovely Lady, dressed in blue,
        We’re here again today,
        To seek your guidence and your love,
        For we have lost our way.

        It’s not so much the words we say that bring you close and near,
        But that sorrow in our hearts, the loss of someone dear!

        You know this feeling all too well, that words cannot express,
        Yet Jesus Love remained with you
        That’s why we call you “blessed”!

        So once again we come to you,
        For you won’t turn away
        And ask you Lovely Dressed in Blue,
        To teach us how to pray!

        Michael

        • ber

          Beautfull Michael missed your wise words

        • Elizabeth

          Profound and soul-filled poetry Michael. This is how I envision our Blessed Mother. I also appreciated the poem with the first line of your poem – Lovely Lady dressed in blue… I prayed with my young children. – Lovely Lady, dressed in blue, teach me how to pray, God was just your little boy, tell me what to say…

        • rtclovesmac

          Amen!

    • ber

      Well put rtclovesmac agree

  • Penelope

    This morning, as I pray & reflect on Sunday’s readings, these are the things that have come to me.

    I was very sad, in tears, remembering Sarah my daughter-in-law, now home with the Lord, and I read the beautiful reflection by Ron Rolheiser (thank you for this!) and Psalm 126: The Lord came into my boat of sadness.
    “Those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.” Sarah has brought much to my life, four grandchildren whom I love dearly, and, I will see her again. I must turn away from the sadness and grief, and see the good that the Lord has brought me – and Thank Him! My mission as grandparent takes on a whole new meaning for me today.

    When I read the Gospel, the thought came to me: the elders leave first because their sins are greater, and, they are convicted sooner. And I thought: we often don’t know, realize, what we’re doing when we’re young…this often comes with age: The Lord got into my boat of self-recrimination.
    As I reflected in the silence, I wrote in my Bible:
    The Lord will forgive the sins of our past, because Jesus prayed for us on the Cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Today is a new day: “O that today you would listen to his voice! Do not harden your hearts.” Psalm 95:7-8a. Forgive yourself, for God has forgiven you. And go, sin no more.
    We are our own worst taskmasters, the Lord has said to me.

    On Reconciliation Sunday, I will run, not walk, to the confessional! Otherwise, I deny all that Jesus has done for me…and, who am I not to forgive myself after all that Jesus Christ has done for me!?!

    • Elizabeth

      Penelope, thank you for sharing. To recognize the role as Grandmother to 4 young children. Sarah lives on in these grandchildren of yours and so will you as you take on the responsibility for their spiritual growth along with their emotional and physical growth. God Bless you and yours.

  • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

    Good morning,

    There is a famous picture/painting of Jesus outside a house and knocking on the door. When you look at the painting closely, you see there is no door knob! Why? Jesus cannot enter your house unless you let Him in! So how does He get in? He waits for you to come out. And how does He get you to do that? He sends His “telemarketer”, the Holy Spirit, Who, overtime, convicts you of your sinfulness, that your life has been unhappy, troublesome, lacking joy and peace. He prompts you that you need to see a phycian, someone Who has the right medine for any illness. The miracle pill called “Grace”. Coated with Love, it becomes easier to swollow.

    We get sick from time to time but the greatest of all phycians is on call 24/7 !

    How convincing is the heart felt voice of the Holy Spirit? Your all here this morning to share and learn you are not along, a type of group therapy, aren’t you?

    Do you think that was an accident?
    Two years ago, at her birthday party, I bought my Granddaughter an”open heart necklace, made of silver”. My, then 10 year old Granddaughter, was so moved, as was her little girlfriend’s that the room became silent, truly a Kodak moment that brought me to tears!
    That is what the Love of Jesus does to the human heart.
    When you open your heart to Him, “Love will find a way” in to a heart that has been broken!

    Peace and prayers,

    Michael

    • ber

      Beautfull michael

      • Elizabeth

        Precious moment to savor, thank you for sharing Grandfather.Michael. Treasured til the end of time for your Granddaughter.

  • Anton D

    ‘ The true God cannot be manipulated by us, controlled through our efforts. ‘

    Our Catholic tradition does not seem to suggest that. Will it ever be corrected and will the faithful be relieved of the burden?

    • Elizabeth

      Anton D, The end of Bishop Barron’s quoted portion of your reflection states: ‘ he comes into our lives, often unbidden and unexpected, to determine and guide us.” And at the end of the movie Full of Grace, written and directed by Andrew Wyatt, depicts this is what happens to Peter. He is free to go forward and recognize Jesus is guiding not just Peter but all of us.

  • Gary

    The first step to Jesus is acknowledgement that you are a sinner. The second step is repentance. The third step is acceptance of Jesus into you heart, the forth step is mission, to take Jesus to others. The fifth step is to enjoy your new life in Christ.

    • ber

      Amen

  • concerned citizen

    “Has God broken into your life? Has he given you a mission? Has he forgiven your sins? The answer to all three questions is: “Yes!”

    i think the next questions are: What is His mission for me? How do I find out or get to know? How do I accomplish it?

    And the answers to all three questions are: pray, pray and pray.

  • Carol Miller

    Thank you. Carol M.

  • Debra Johnson

    I love the last questions! The Holy Spirit has indeed been smacking me upside the head a lot lately. And I know without any doubt that the Lord is listening to me and forgiving my sins. I don’t know yet what my mission is, though. I guess it’s a spiritual blindness of some sort; maybe I should be listening to Him more. Like Samuel said to Him: “Speak Lord for thy servant is listening.”

  • kayeloney@cox.net

    I know what my mission is, that was given to me by Jesus. I am to give my Human Will back to Jesus daily . In order to Pray in unity with Jesus for all Souls Past, Present, and Future. That all Soul’s come into Jesus Divine Will in order to compete the mission of the Our Father. The Most Holy Trinity’s Will be done on Earth as in Heaven. Pray for me it is a Big Mission.

  • Deng

    I have been praying fervently to GOD how can I serve HIM. Still waiting for what, when and where my mission would be.

  • Nancy Rynders

    I am happy that Jesus is in my boat.

  • 50AF

    “We must not be afraid of acknowledging our sin—despite a thousand suggestions to the contrary coming from the culture.”

    And the reason for that is simple: If we don’t acknowledge our sin, if we don’t look it square in the eye, we do not see it for what it is — and we will never let it go. As Catholics we identify and consider our sins in earnest, and not because we are obsessed with them, but rather because we wish to part from them. You cannot turn away from that which you don’t see. You cannot defeat what you don’t understand. Love is not a passive gift — you have a part to play.

  • Barbara Ann Baugh

    Once we acknowledge our sin (reconciliation) we must acknowledge the mercy of God and let our sin go.

  • IrishRush

    Yes, God has broken into my life. And yes, I do believe He forgives my sins. Still trying to figure out what my mission is. In the meantime, I’m loving the journey of getting to know Jesus better and growing in love for Him more and more every day. Thank you Abba, for never giving up on me, even when I turned my back to You. Thank You for loving me.

  • Vilma

    Amen! So true – the closer I get to God the more I realize my purpose – the more I try to spread the Word! http://www.shepherdoffaith.com

  • Mary Jane Madeline

    Jesus Climbing in my boat- (my space.) Giving me a mission( help me to be wise in my use of my time). Giving me orders..( Lord Jesus, help me to understand your Will for me at this time of my life.) and forgiving every one of my sins. ( Lord Jesus , I am sorry for all my sins, the sins throughout my youth and present age).How awesome is God! Lent is Healing- to get serious about my sins and relationship with my God, to trust in His Divine Mercy, and forgive others for their offenses. Thank God for our priests who give us absolution in Jesus persona.
    Thank you Bishop Barron for a good reflection.

  • Jackie

    Yes, but how easy it is to forget and to accept forgiveness?. I find it easier to forgive another than accept forgiveness from another. I get caught up in the “martyr” syndrome or tell myself I can always do better. Remember the prayer ” by my fault, by my fault, by my most grievous fault”. One doesn’t erase all the guilt by one absolution, it takes courage, acceptance, prayer and grace to rise above my imperfections and the beauty of it all is that my imperfections is exactly what others and God love about me. Who wants a know it all or someone who has it all together? That’s not how I like to choose my friends and not how Jesus chose his disciples. Us.

  • Màire Ní Bhroin

    Amen to that reflection, Bishop Baron! Yes, Jesus has truly broken into our lives, given us our mission from God and He forgives us all! Thanks and praise to Him!

  • Linda Dokey

    THANK YOU LORD JESUS ALWAYS FOR MAKING ME WHOLE AGAIN AND AGAIN. HELP ME TO SERVE YOU BETTER EACH DAY. THANK YOU BISHOP BARRON FOR YOUR INSIGHT ON SCRIPTURE, I HAVE LEARNED SO MUCH. GOD BLESS