The Courage to Be Vulnerable

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Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 14:22-36

Then he made the disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.” After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret. When the men of that place recognized him, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought to him all those who were sick and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak, and as many as touched it were healed.

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the source of all things. I hope in your goodness and kindness. I love you for your providential care over me. I thank you for this day and I invite you to be by my side. Lord, I know that you can heal all my wounds. Help me to be vulnerable before you. 

  1. Encountering Christ:Reliance on Christ: Peter stepped out onto the water, not knowing if he would sink. What prevents us from following his example, from attempting something we are unsure will turn out well? The fear of failure? Rejection? Loss of control? The fear of suffering? To risk pain or humiliation, to be vulnerable is an act of faith by an interiorly strong soul, one firmly rooted in the knowledge of how much he or she is loved by Christ. 
  2. “Take Courage, It Is I; Do Not Be Afraid”: Courage is the “virtue of bravery in facing difficulties, especially in overcoming the fear of consequences in doing good. As moral courage, it enables a person to pursue a course deemed right, through which one may incur contempt, disapproval, or opprobrium” (catholicculture.org). Peter was faced with trusting the Lord at the risk of looking foolish to his friends. He could have stepped out of that boat and sunk into the water, but he was sure that it was the Lord who called him and he mustered up his courage. When we are courageous and vulnerable before the Lord, we too can often walk on water. 
  3. Perseverance in Faith: A miracle happened thanks to Peter’s courage and faith. Imagine how strong Peter felt in the Lord, walking on water, defying the laws of nature! But then he looked at himself, he doubted, he remembered he could not walk on water,  and he started to sink. We cannot do what the Lord can do, and we are called to remember that, believe in him, and keep our eyes fixed on him. He gives the courage we do not have when we need it. 

Conversing with Christ: Dear Jesus, let Peter’s vulnerability and courage be a source of inspiration to me. Help me to remember that all things are possible to the one who has faith. 

Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I ask that you draw out of me the courage to do your will. Help me to be vulnerable for your sake. 

For Further Reflection: Brené Brown provides insights on vulnerability and courage in this Ted talk. 

Written by Renee Pomarico.

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