|Peter Jumping into the Water by James Tissot|
Today at our RCIA session following Mass, the catechist leading the session led us in a meditation on today's Gospel. In typical Ignatian fashion, she directed us to put ourselves in the story. As she read the Gospel, she stopped along the way and asked us to picture ourselves on the lake and feel the coolness of the morning, the heat of the sun as it rose. Then she asked at specific points in the story what we were thinking as something occurred, what emotions arose in us, what would we have done if we were there? At one point she asked what would you be thinking when you saw Simon Peter jump from the boat into the water. I sort of chuckled to myself as I thought, "Is he crazy? What the heck is he doing? I think he's lost it."
I stayed with that image and those words for awhile after the meditation was over. When asked to share our thoughts or reactions, I shared those words, but then I continued. When we grow closer to the Lord and deepen our relationship with Him, we begin to change. Things that brought us pleasure may not matter so much anymore. We don't do some of the same things we did before. We may go to church more often, spend more time in prayer, get involved in activities in our parish, read the bible or other spiritual books. People who know us notice the change and may be confused by it and might even have some negative thoughts. At times we may hear criticism of our dedication to our faith. Friends or family might think we are crazy, that we have become some sort of "holy roller." They may wonder why we focus so much on God. Yes, and they might think we've "lost it."
I could think of a number of times when that happened to me, and I know some of my family members think of me as a bit too religious. They say I'm like the Church Lady, in fact at my last parish I have had kids call me that when I ask them if they knew who I was. Some people might get offended if called something like this, but in a way I don't mind. No, I'm not the kind of Church Lady that Dana Carvey plays, but what's wrong with being a Church Lady? What's wrong with being someone who tries to put God first in her life and orient whatever she does toward living as a good Christian, as a good Catholic? What is wrong with talking about God, speaking the truth about the faith, and abandoning myself to the Lord.
Like Simon Peter, we sometimes have to "jump in" when we discover the Lord, not considering what anyone might think of us. It's not easy and I admit I do struggle with that. But in the end it comes down to loving Jesus above all things. Do I listen to the voices that might distract me from reaching the Lord, or do I jump?