Martyrdom of St. Isaac Jogues

I tell you, my friends,
do not be afraid of those who kill the body
but after that can do no more.
I shall show you whom to fear.
Be afraid of the one who after killing
has the power to cast into Gehenna;
yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.
Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.
Do not be afraid.
You are worth more than many sparrows.
—Luke 12:4–7

My confidence is placed in God who does not need our help for accomplishing his designs. Our single endeavor should be to give ourselves to the work and to be faithful to him, and not to spoil his work by our shortcomings.
—St. Isaac Jogues

st-isaac-joguesToday we celebrate the feast of St. Isaac Jogues, one of the North American martyrs who gave his life serving the Native American people (and also the first priest to set foot in Manhattan). Through his life and martyrdom, he embodied the verses from today’s Gospel. He had no fear of those who threatened to kill his body, although there were many. He focused instead on the well-being of the soul, both preserving the sanctity of his own soul and awakening other souls to Christ.

In the summer of 1642, while Fr. Jogues was traveling with the Huron people he was serving, he was captured and tortured by attacking Mohawks. They beat him mercilessly and chewed off his forefingers, leaving his hands permanently mutilated. Fr. Jogues spent the next seventeen months in captivity, treated as a slave. Even in those unimaginable conditions, he sought to connect with people’s souls. He baptized seventy people and tended to the sick, including one of the men who had bitten off his fingers.

For Fr. Jogues, the horrible bodily tortures he suffered—undoubtedly painful though they were—were ultimately inconsequential. When he was freed from captivity and returned to civilization, he spoke fondly of his former persecutors, never allowing the physical pain they had caused him to cloud his awareness that they were beloved children of God. He had demonstrated his genuine love for these people, who had reason to distrust Westerners, by learning their language and customs and being attentive to their needs. He wanted them to realize the incalculable worth of their souls—they were worth more, indeed, than many sparrows.

People thought Fr. Jogues was crazy to return to his mission after the ordeals he had suffered, but he was undeterred. He was eventually martyred in 1646, captured again by Mohawks and killed by a blow to the head with a tomahawk. Some of his last words were, “I do not fear death or torture. I do not know why you would kill me. I come here to confirm the peace and show you the way to heaven.”

Curiously, his killer later underwent a radical conversion to the Catholic faith and took the name Isaac Jogues when baptized. He too was martyred just a week later. One of the missionary priests said afterward, “God willing, there are now two Isaac Jogueses in heaven.” I have to imagine that the first Isaac Jogues had taken an active interest in caring for his persecutor, interceding for his conversion and a martyr’s crown. His goal, after all, had always been heaven, not just for himself but for everyone. Ultimately, his joyful confidence in Christ drew many souls upward in his wake.

Treasuring our Gospels

Responsorial Psalm

PS 145:10-11, 12-13

R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.

Dear fellow pilgrims,

Today is the feast day of St. Luke, who is best known for writing his Gospel and the book of Acts, which details the days of the emerging Church. These books together comprise almost a fourth of the New Testament, which is not a trivial contribution! St. Luke was also a close companion of St. Paul, and is mentioned in several of his letters, so it’s clear he was very involved in early Christian missions. The Holy Spirit had a very special role for him as one of the four Gospel writers, and this – if you take some time to think about it – was probably a call that began as a very small inclination to write these things down that grew into quite the enormous task, which then led to a global impact he could never have dreamt of. St. Luke was, as the responsorial psalm proclaims, a “friend who made known the glorious splendor of His Kingdom.”

What strikes me more and more as I read about St. Luke is how attentive and thoughtful this man must have been, especially to the Blessed Mother, who is featured much more in Luke’s Gospel than any of the others. (If it wasn’t for the details St. Luke provided of the Visitation, we probably wouldn’t even say the Hail Mary!) He heard the call of the Holy Spirit to be a vessel and interpreter of these divine, earthly happenings, as a kind of appointed treasurer of nascent Christianity. I think it is definitely worth our time to contemplate the gifts of such a character, and how the age we live in presents unique challenges to treasuring our own lives. For we should desire to preserve the treasure of our life and pilgrimage with God for our own understanding and instruction as we follow Him during this life, but also for future generations to understand how He has worked wonders in our specific circumstances and time.

We live in a world where our lives are able to be constantly documented and selectively uploaded to share with others for comment and affirmation.  While there are merits to this system of life documentation (e.g. I’m so glad my iPad keeps and organizes my photos of Leo as a baby because then… I don’t have to), I think it also does some damage to the way we think about our memories and how we live our own, unrepeatable lives.

For one, we can lose our grip on personal ownership of our lives. If we constantly have the opportunity to post about our lives, we will begin to get into the habit of seeing the moments of our lives through the lens of our social media followers, thinking about how other people will react to things we post, crafting the way we tell a story for the maximum impact in the type of persona we want to project or leaving out details that would reflect a person we would rather not have others see. This view can slowly eat away at what should be our primary focus of sanctification, that is, learning to live in closer and closer communion with God, living more and more within the heart of God that is reserved for your eyes only. He thirsts for your attention and affection, and no one else but you can quench that thirst.

Secondly, we can learn to see others in a more utilitarian way, as in, value others more of what they provide to us (e.g. “Unfollow – boring feed. Follow – exciting feed.”) rather than the intrinsic goodness and likeness of God in which they were created. When there’s so much of our own choice involved with what and who we see on our feeds, as well as how we interpret the little information we receive from a visual and text rather than interpersonal communication, it can be easy to slip into uncharitable thoughts and assumptions about others or ourselves, depending on who is getting the short end of the comparison stick.

To bring this all together, let’s revisit the psalm. We Christians should be a people whose discourse is Kingdom-focused, people who are more interested in God’s work than any other economical, political, or entertainment work. This outward focus, however, begins with an inner focus on your individual relationship, work of sanctification, and destiny with God. We bless the Lord when we take care and time to remember, write down, and share with others the works of His hands. When it is a gift given to others to specific friends to cherish and care for, to really receive in an intimate way that is vulnerable and risky instead of publicizing the gift and longing more simply to be seen and acknowledged.  And when we take the time to invest in friendships beyond our screens, we will truly know the splendor of the Kingdom. There just is not a substitute for presence, for true presence with God and other believers, as anyone who has been to a Frassati retreat knows! In this Presence – when we worship and gather – we find ourselves, we are formed, we are encouraged, we are seen, and we truly see others.

I encourage us all to rethink our relationship with social media or our internet browsing, even if it’s the two thousandth time we have done so. (*raises hand*) God always wants more of us, and often times, we do not understand this truth enough to remove what hinders us to give more of ourselves to Him.

We often have that vague feeling of not being satisfied with the use of our time, but still finding ourselves slip into old habits. Here is a piece of my journal that describes a breakthrough God gave me in prayer about my own struggles with properly using social media.  I pray it will bless you as you think and pray about treasuring your life more and more in the presence of God and not the world:

“…when I seek companionship and attention and entertainment from social media, Your Heart hurts for me because You see the longing in my heart and want to give me true food, true drink. You long to satisfy me, but You submit to my own will in that You don’t force me to look at You. For the first time, I see my struggle through Your eyes. It became less about my failings and more about the reverence You give to my freewill and how the source of my desire is meant to be filled by your according to Your designs. I give my own sin too much power when I see my continued habits that do not reflect the fullness You want for me as just my own failings.”

St. Luke, pray that we may learn to see more and more clearly the treasure of the Lord’s work in our lives as an unfolding love story meant to be shared and praised among the faithful.

Pax Christi,

-Alyssa

Living in the Spirit, Following the Spirit

Brothers and sisters:
If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious:
immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry,
sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy,
outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness,
dissensions, factions, occasions of envy,
drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.
I warn you, as I warned you before,
that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Against such there is no law.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh
with its passions and desires.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.
—Galatians 5:18-25

Do you ever catch yourself reading a Scripture verse and thinking, “Okay that seems obvious”? Or maybe a better way to phrase the phenomenon is glazing over a verse here or there because it just seems too…straightforward? Easy to digest? Unremarkable?\

Sure, you do. We all do, we all know the feeling. It’s happens all the time when our minds wander, and sometimes even when you’re pretty well focused. That happened to me with today’s first reading.

Luckily, I caught myself this time. Do I really think St. Paul was redundant? Should I really write him off as an over-communicator? Of course not.

So I went back to the last verse of the reading: If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. Straightforward, no? Yet what happens if we break this verse down grammatically? If I believe and profess that the Bible is the written Word of God, then every sentence, and possibly every word, should get this treatment. There are so many “levels” on which you can read Scripture, and God can speak to you through all of them! Read a chapter for the story, or meditate on a single sentence or passage a la lectio divina; the Spirit speaks either way.

So. Back to today’s verse: If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.

Why wouldn’t somebody be doing both? Why does it need to be stated?

As Catholics, what does it look like to live in the Spirit? The most obvious response is being a regular participant/recipient of the Sacraments. Jesus instituted the Sacraments as vehicles of grace, aka the gifts of the Spirit. Regular Mass-goers, you can check this one off: you, in a technical sense, could be considered to be living in the Spirit (if you go to Confession, and if you are not in a state of sin; big ifs)

If we’re living in the Spirit, it does not mean that we are necessarily following the Spirit. Participating and receiving do not mean that we are listening. If we are to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, do we need to receive the Holy Spirit? Absolutely. Is that enough by itself? Not at all.

“Following the Spirit” can have two related meanings: discerning God’s will in your life (i.e. following as a guide) and acting in accordance with His law (i.e. following as a rule). How often do we participate, but do not seek time in prayer for the Spirit to speak on a personal life decision? How often do we pray before a difficult conversation? A meeting at work?

These two elements, living in the Spirit and following the Spirit, are symbiotic and necessary. The grace of the Sacraments will flow into and inform our prayer and actions, and our prayer and actions inspire a greater desire for the Sacraments.

In addition to seeking out ways you can more deeply live in and follow the Spirit in your life, I ask that you say a special prayer for those who attend Mass regularly, but God does not have a central place in their lives otherwise. Pray that the Spirit would enkindle in them a new fire of love for Christ.

 

Are You For Real?

“Suffering is Jesus kissing you from the cross!” Mother Teresa is reported to have told a woman in great anguish.  “Well then, tell Him to please stop!” the woman supposedly retorted.

Lately, I have been inclined to agree.

I wrote recently that it is when you hit rock bottom that you discover just Who that Rock really is.  But I feel as though instead, I am lying splattered and splayed upon its hardness.  Previous pious platitudes have not brought comfort.

“I can’t handle this, Lord.  I have nothing left to give.”  I was praying weeks ago in front of the Pieta, on Saturday afternoon of the Frassati retreat, begging for a reprieve from fatigue and stress.  Neither the statue nor any other voice spoke into the silence, but I felt a pain like a cross beam spread across my shoulders, then slowly into my neck.  That pain did not subside after my prayer was over.  It only grew, and I blamed my relentless stress.

A few days later, I was not able to turn my head without a cocktail of ibuprofen and prescription drugs.  The doctors took some bloodwork, which revealed elevated lymphocytes and some other anomalies, and I was diagnosed with Lyme disease.

“Are you for real?”  I asked God.  “Didn’t I ask for rest, for reprieve?  Did you hear me correctly?”  Silence.  “All right, I will say Yes, if this is Your will for me…”

After ten days of doxycycline, the pain had only worsened, spreading from my elbows throughout my arms and legs.  I was unable to lift even small items without intense pain, so I called my sister Teresa to help me take care of my mother, and my 88-year-old aunt who has also been staying with us.

On the way back from the train station, I was telling my sister about my symptoms when suddenly the pain increased exponentially.  Simultaneously there was a terrific bang and lurching.  I struggled to breathe as the now excruciating pain tore through my ribs and neck.  It took a few seconds to figure out what was happening—an SUV had smashed into our car, which in turn propelled our small Honda into the SUV in front of us.  I didn’t even get a look at the scene as the ambulance carried us away.

“Are you for real God?  Surely this is not happening…” I was mostly laughing, as I later texted neck-brace selfies from the ER to friends and family, but maybe it was the morphine.  I was admitted to the hospital, to ultimately be diagnosed with a fracture of my neck vertebrae.  Teresa returned to the city with her own very painful injuries (diagnosis still in progress).

A few days later I was finally feeling strong enough to sit up at the table for dinner.  But a bit later, my mother started complaining of abdominal pain.  The complaints grew in urgency and volume, and I looked to see that she was as white as a sheet and sweating.  A call to a nurse friend directed me to call 911, in case she was having a heart attack.

My few minutes of sitting up became seven hours in the ER, only to have Mom admitted, not for her heart but her pancreas.  “Really, not again…” I sighed.

The next morning, before I call for a ride to the hospital, I stumble into the kitchen to make myself some coffee.  Something doesn’t smell right.  Maybe it’s because there’s been nobody to do the dishes, but there aren’t that many, and the smell is worse than that.  I painstakingly bend down to peer into the corner, to discover that an unwanted gift from Saint Martin has been decomposing in the corner of the pantry.

This is the last straw.  “I HATE ALL LIVING THINGS!” I scream into the Silence.  But I hate even more things that used to be living.  Surely this cannot be real.  Surely there is someone else to deal with this.  I have said many times that I don’t mind being single and without a husband, except perhaps on garbage night.  I add this to the list.  “This is not okay, God!!!”

Mom is released from the hospital two days later, and I think I can finally breathe.  But then we get the news that the car is likely totaled, and I look at our finances, and feel my feet sinking into an ocean of panic.  “I trusted you, God!”  Without a job, our finances have been precarious for awhile, and this is one hit too many.  What are we supposed to do now?

On Saturday evening I am nauseous from the stress, worry and pain.  We go to Mass, at which the Gospel is the Rich Young Man, who leaves Jesus, sad because of his preference for possessions.  I feel an odd sense of conviction, that despite technically living below the poverty line, I am no different from this rich man.  That there is still more to surrender.

“ARE YOU FOR REAL?” I ask God incredulously.  Surely He cannot want more of me…surely there is nothing left to give!

God is silent, but other voices start piping in.

“Are YOU for real, Grace?” asks the Girl I Ought to Be. “Where is your trust in God?” snaps her snarky sister.  “You talk about it all the time, about faith on the tightrope, about thanking God in all things.  Time to see what you’re made of!”

Real Me responds with words that could constitute material for Confession.

“What do you want from me God?  I am trying to trust you.  I am trying to say yes.  I am even trying to thank you, but it seems like a joke.  Are you even there?  Are you, in fact, for real?”

Doubt comes around like a Dementor, threatening to consume me with its darkness and despair, so I quickly shut the door, in my will if not my emotions.  “Jesus, I trust in you.”  The words comfort me, even if only 1% of me can get on board at the moment.

On Sunday I sit down to pray.  “Lord, I am trying to say thank you.  Trying to say yes.  Trying to trust.  But that is above my paygrade right now.  I need you to do all these things for me, in me.  I don’t even know what that means.  I even need you to give me faith to believe that you are real.”

And I remember suddenly, that it is the date of my baptism, that (quite a few decades ago) on this very day I was brought as an infant to a small church in Kentucky.  Brought to be marked with the sign of the cross, to receive the gift of faith.

The Silence remains, but I find rising up within me the grace to look up and say “You.”  To remember and know that my prayers are not being spoken to or received by an abstraction, but by a Person.  By Someone who is loving me in this.  That I am saying yes not to the cross itself but to the Person who asks me to carry it (or more accurately, carries me during it).

Today is the feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, to whom God entrusted the vision and message of His Sacred Heart.  A Heart that was incarnate that we might know God’s love is not an abstraction, but in fact deeply human.  A Heart that was pierced and bled for our sins, yet still burns with a personal love for each one of us.

Let Nothing Disturb You

Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.
Praise, you servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
both now and forever (Psalm 113:1-2)

God, we praise You.

You alone are worthy of our praise.

We praise You in times of great consolation.

We praise You when we feel suffocated by fear.

We praise You, even when our hearts are aching and destruction is all around us.

We praise You when it is hard to trust.

You are good.

You have not forsaken us.

From the rising to the setting of the sun
is the name of the LORD to be praised.
High above all nations is the LORD;
above the heavens is his glory (Psalm 113:3-4)

When we wake up well-rested, we praise You.

When a new day starts after a sleepless night, we praise You for life.

When we are feeling confident on the way out the door, we praise You for that grace.

In the moments where we feel like we can barely make it through, we praise You.

When we share a meal with friends, we praise You.

When we are so busy we scarf down a quick bite on the subway, we praise You.

When we mess up and say or do something we regret, we praise You for Your awaiting mercy.

When we receive great news, we praise You knowing that all good things come from You.

When work is stressful, we praise You.

When familial relationships are strained, we praise You for never abandoning us.

When we lose someone we love, we praise You for Your resurrection.

When we’re so tired we can barely muster the words to pray, we praise You for the breath You put in our lungs.

When we are up late writing that paper or meeting that deadline, we praise You for how You provide.

When we lie awake in bed worrying about finances or family, we praise You for the way You made our hearts to love.

When we are awake at 4am caring for our crying children, we praise You for the gift they are to us.

You are sovereign over all.

You are faithful through it all.

Who is like the LORD, our God,
who looks upon the heavens and the earth below?
He raises up the lowly from the dust;
from the dunghill he lifts up the poor (Psalm 113:5-7)

Lord, You meet us in our darkness.

You are there when our hearts ache of loneliness.

You are there when we feel unloved.

You are there when we are embarrassed or ashamed.

You are there when You seem far away.

You are there when we can’t help but cry.

You are there when we struggle in our faith.

You are there when we shut You out with distractions, sin, or fear.

You are there in seasons of change.

You are there in our mourning.

You are there. You are enough for me, Lord.

I praise You.

When was the last time you stopped and praised the Lord? What if every part of our day became a song of praise for our Lord, even the trying moments? His goodness never changes. Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila. She, like our patron Bl. Frassati, like the seven new saints canonized yesterday, had one thing in common: everything they did was about the Lord. He was enough for them. And no matter what hardships they faced, they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus and praised Him in the good and the storms. God is so worthy of our praise, dear friends! Be encouraged today knowing that He is with you.

“Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.”
— St. Teresa of Avila

P.S. This song taught me a lot about praising God in all things!

Whom Do We Let In?

“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone,
it roams through arid regions searching for rest
but, finding none, it says,
‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’
But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order.
Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits
more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there,
and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”

—Luke 11:24–26

Jesus compares the human soul to a house, the state of which is a reflection of our spiritual well-being. When He drives out demons from a man possessed, He sweeps that house clean and puts it in order. He can do the same with all of our interior messes—removing our excess and clutter, dusting off our cobwebbed habits and vices, making room for a most important Guest.

Whether or not Jesus cleans our house is entirely up to us. He is already knocking at the door—will we welcome Him in? If we do, He will rearrange our hearts and guard the door against any intruders who might harm us. But if we don’t, He will respect our privacy and leave us alone. Intruding demons, however, are not so polite; they will pester us constantly and slip inside at any available opportunity. And if our house has already been cleaned, that is all the more reason to be vigilant.

We cannot be complacent and ignore the safeguards Jesus has put in place for us against the demons that seek to destroy the work He has done in us. If we open the door to sin and invite malice into our hearts that the demons will be easily evicted, it will not be easy to return to a neat and tidy state. Openness to sin has lasting consequences.

It is up to us whom we will let in. Will we answer Jesus when He knocks? Will we monitor what passes over the threshold of our hearts, or will we prop the door open and let all manner of shady creatures move in? Jesus has entrusted us with the power to invite and shut out whomever we will. May we use this power wisely, always keeping in mind the goal of creating a space hospitable to our loving Guest.

Fear and (Self-)Loathing

Praise the LORD, all you nations!
Extol him, all you peoples!
His mercy for us is strong;
the faithfulness of the LORD is forever.
Hallelujah!
This week our local parish was lucky enough to host Hallie Lord for our annual “Fall Mission,” a series of Mass, dinner, talks, and Adoration (sound familiar, Frassati folks?) to unify and build the faith of our Church community. Ms. Lord published a book titled, On the Other Side of Fear, and she shared much of her experience in overcoming fear in her life tonight. I’d like to share a bit of her story here.

Hallie was a convert to Catholicism, and after experiencing a strong movement of the spirit to join the Church (she had grown up in a “hippie liberal family” in northern California) after witnessing her now-husband’s resurgence of faith, she experienced a strong “New Convert High,” as her spiritual director called it. She was two years removed from her Confirmation, married to the man of her dreams, and her closest priest friend had come to visit for dinner. After the meal, he pulled her aside and struck a somber tone, far from his normal demeanor.
“How are you doing, Hallie? It’s been, what, two years now?”
She told him that things were as good as they’ve ever been. She felt filled to the brim with the love of God. This much he already knew.
“I just wanted to let you know, though, that it doesn’t last like that forever. I’m not trying to be a killjoy, but I believe people handle the rough patches better when they expect them.” He added, semi-jokingly, “If you’re a Catholic and you’re not suffering, you’re not doing it right.”
Hallie was understandably disgruntled, and more than a little in denial. By her own admission, she thought that maybe this cradle Catholic priest couldn’t understand the experience of a convert!
However, within two months, her family’s financial situation had undergone a dramatic downturn, and they spent the next 10 years digging out from under accrued debts, bad luck, and tough break after tough break. By all accounts, the math didn’t work out: her husband had a Master’s degree, was working two jobs, and they were living in relatively inexpensive cities. In retrospect, she says, it was clear that this was a Cross that the Lord had called their family to bear.
Hallie, for years, was fraught with anxiety and crippled by fear. Would their utilities be shut off tomorrow like it had been in the past? Would one medical emergency put them over a financial brink?
Finally, after the birth of fifth(?) child, her daughter Zelie, she reached a turning point. She, like so many times before her dark decade, offered her life to the Lord. He, in His own funny way, confirmed His love for her through an hour-long car-ride with three hitchhiking French friars.

In hearing her message, I was struck by how much room my faith has to grow, and how numbed and distant my heart had grown from Jesus’ lately. Hearing someone else talk about their unsuccessful efforts to ‘muscle’ through trying times, admittedly much more trying than anything I’ve been going through, brought some healthy perspective to my recent struggles.
For 27 years of my life, I’ve heard the message that the Lord offers us crosses and suffering to refine our hearts. For so many of those years, I’ve nodded my head, but not been able to truly believe it.
Tonight, for the first time in longer than I’d like to admit, I started to believe it again. Almost unbeknownst to me, My Way had taken hold of my spirit, and My Faith turned into something that better resembled My Contingency Plans, or, How to Avoid Disaster and Mitigate Risk.
Does that sound familiar to anyone? Are any of you struggling with a life or faith whose boundaries are set by your fears of utter failure? Are any of you living in what Hallie called, the “wreckage of the future”? How may of your daily decisions take into account bad- to worst-case scenarios that invite you to take the safe, least vulnerable path.
But has Jesus Christ ever once called us to safety, to invulnerability? I think you know the answer to that.
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.
—Matthew 6:27,33

Jesus does not invite us to live a timid life. Instead, we are called to make disciples of all nations. He does not invite us to safety. Instead, we are told that we will suffer for our Faith, but the Lord’s mercy is strong and his faithfulness can overcome any obstacle or fear.

Jesus calls us beyond our fears, inviting us to walk on the water with our eyes fixed on Him. The Creator and Redeemer of our universe wants us to abide in Him, which is not without its risks, but he promises not only safety and provision, but Eternal Life with He for whom our hearts long most.