She will not sink

We’ve all read the episode in the fourth chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel when our Lord calmed the seas.  Convinced that the boat was about to sink and that they all would be drowned, the disciples hastily awoke Jesus.  “Master”, they cried, “does it not concern thee that we are perishing?”

We can be reasonably sure that these men were all experienced fishermen and sailors, who were very familiar with the erratic and dangerous moods of the Sea of Galilee.  They were not overreacting to their situation.  They were in real peril.

Well, of course we all know what happened next.  We read that our Lord stood up in the boat, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still” and in an instant everything was utterly calm – they were floating serenely on perfectly placid waters.  The disciples were astonished, dumbstruck in fact, and wondered to themselves what manner of man was this that the wind and the sea should do His bidding.

Jesus-Calms-Sea

Everything that is contained in the Gospels is intended for the furtherance of our education as Christians.  The great lesson to be derived from this particular narrative is to be found in what our Lord said to His disciples after He had silenced the wind and settled the waves: “Why are you fearful?  Are you still without faith?”

We would do well to take those words to heart. 

We live in a world which, from a moral point of view, is very stormy indeed.  Nor can we deny the fact that those storms seriously affect the Church.

In the light of the troubles that beset the Church, we may, in a response somewhat like that of the disciples, sometimes wonder if she is not being swamped, and is in danger of sinking, or if she has lost her bearings and is following an erratic course.  And, like the disciples, we may be tempted to panic.  But what explanation can be offered for a reaction of this kind other than a lack of faith on our part?  It is precisely at times like this that we must be especially heedful of our Lord’s words, and let them penetrate to the very centre of our souls: “Why are you fearful? Are you still without faith?”

There is a long-standing tradition of referring to the Church as the Barque of Peter.  It is not unlikely that the boat which found itself in so perilous a situation on the Sea of Galilee many centuries ago was owned by St. Peter. However that might be, would it be improper to interpret the dramatic incident recounted by St. Matthew as symbolic of the kind of dire circumstances which the Church has found herself in from time to time over the course of her history, and in which she finds herself, and in unprecedented fashion, today?

The Barque of Peter is being tossed about violently on a cruel and merciless sea.  To all appearances, she will not be able to survive the ordeal.  But look!  Who is that there, sitting in the stern, in the position typically occupied by the one in charge of the boat?  It is God Himself.  He is with the boat, in the boat – and the boat – the Church – belongs entirely to Him.

The winds may howl, and the seas may rage.

The Church might have to endure much buffeting by the storm.  She might suffer severe damage from it.  But she will not sink.

We have our Lord’s solemn assurance of that fact.

“Why are you fearful?”

14 Responses to “She will not sink”


  1. 1 Mary Nicewarner August 17, 2009 at 02:15

    Hello, Gabriella! This is one of my favorite passages to meditate on when I am afraid. You’re right, with Jesus at the helm of our lives and that of the Church, we should not fear.

  2. 2 anne bender August 17, 2009 at 03:22

    Oh Gabriella! This is so wonderfully beautiful! Your words offer so much comfort! We have nothing to be afraid of, God is always in the boat and we will not sink! Thank you so much for this reminder to trust.

  3. 3 booklady August 17, 2009 at 05:35

    Sublime and wonderfully uplifting reflection — as usual — dear friend in Christ! Trustful surrender in Him.

  4. 4 Antonella Oliver August 17, 2009 at 08:49

    Gabriella..thank you for this passage. We do need to be reminded that Christ has triumphed over the Lord of this World, has put his enemies under his feet.

    When troubles and storms beset us…..we must have faith and trust that God is in control………….only then are we restored to peace within.

    But then again it is not always easy as the disciples were also terribly afraid and said to one another :Who is this man ? Even the wind and the waves obey him !”

    Jesus asks us again today :Where is your faith?”

    It is good to ponder on that.

  5. 5 Wendell August 17, 2009 at 09:54

    A very good point to ponder indeed.
    Although I firmly believe that The Faith has not been lost among Traditional Catholics, I do believe that a good measure of trust has been.
    True, the Church lives today in a state of intellectual and cultural crisis and we can feel hopeless when we encounter around us people who don’t know a thing about their religion and have no intention to learn but just accept the modern way of life with an attitude of “Well, what’s wrong? I’m not doing any harm!” but we musn’t fall to the bottom of the pit of hopelessness, Christ is guiding us so let’s keep our heads up high, fight for Him, be proud of carrying His cross and follow His Church’s teachings. We traditionals (as opposed to ‘anything goes’ and ‘we’re all the same’ Catholics) are the hope of the Church. Let us rather accept the pain, the suffering, the dying unto oneself knowing that the resurrection and a new life are around the corner.

  6. 6 Judy August 17, 2009 at 13:24

    Thank you for this encouraging post!
    I’ve always found it interesting that the Apostle’s great fault in t his story was not that they didn’t believe in Jesus POWER to save them…it’s that they DOUBTED THAT HE CARED! “Does is NOT CONCERN YOU?”, they asked…in other words “Don’t you even CARE about us Lord?” This is the enemy’s greatest snare…to convince us that GOD DOES NOT CARE ABOUT US! This is where Jesus is calling them (and US) to FAITH…saying…no matter WHAT happens…no matter HOW frightening, confusing, overwhelming, difficult….don’t ever ever ever doubt that I CARE FOR YOU!
    Thanks for the great post Gabriella1

  7. 7 Kieran August 17, 2009 at 14:43

    Hey Judy, wow! I never actually saw it that way – that they weren’t so much doubtful of his power as of his care.
    It is very comforting to know he cares for us always ….. even when we don’t care …..

  8. 8 Raman Chakravorthy August 17, 2009 at 17:44

    Millions have entrusted the salvation of their souls to man, rather than placing their trust in God. Millions believe in God, they believe He exists, but they do not place their trust in God.
    Many place their trust in the wrong things.

    Beautiful post, Gabriella.
    Dhanyawaad.

  9. 9 ginny August 17, 2009 at 20:59

    Gabriella, Very beautiful! I wrote about this very same scripture once. It is so true. When I am afraid or worried I shout out “Lord save me, my boat is sinking!” It brings me back to focus on who is really in control.
    Have you had formal training in religious education? You sound like a teacher, or a pastoral minister.
    I really like your very Catholic blog!

  10. 10 Bernie August 18, 2009 at 04:23

    Gabriella,

    Wonderful reflection on a beautiful passage. Thank you for viewing my blog hopefully it will be one you will frequent and be part of the discussion. I am knew at this so I appreciate all the people that have found me in such a short time. Praise be to God!!!

  11. 11 Antonella Oliver August 18, 2009 at 08:32

    Thank you Judy for a most refreshing way of looking at this story………(smiley face)

  12. 12 michael August 20, 2009 at 16:20

    Thank you for this inspiring post. What a perfect reflection of St Matthew’s Gospel.

  13. 13 Bill Bartmann September 2, 2009 at 11:41

    Cool site, love the info.

  14. 14 Stephanie March 27, 2013 at 22:13

    I have a question about the painting that you posted in “She will not Sink”. Wondering where you found it? We are in the midst of putting a book together and would like to use the painting. IF you would reply ASAP we would appreciate it.


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