Fifth Sunday Ordinary Time - Duc In Altum Time !

Image source. Artist - Baboun. 

Scripture readings for today's Mass are here.

Various reflections from St Louis University Centre for Liturgy from here

My previous posts on the Latin phrase, "Duc in Altum " used by John Paul II, meaning " Casting Out into the Deep" can be read below.
Related posts here

All three scripture readings say something about how the power of God is so often beyond our human powers of perception.
They are graphic illustrations of the failure of rational intellectual analysis when it comes to understanding how God works in our lives.

The three narratives all speak of a powerful liberating encounter with a God who comes right in the thick of failure, and temptations to discouragement or despair, and when the heart feels itself drowning in a host of insurmountable difficulties and broken efforts.

 It's about a God who knows the truth about our inadequacies, who knows the circumstances when we fall short, when our own efforts are unsuccessful, a God who fully knows the evil and hostility we are capable of.

They also show why it is His sustaining love and not our failures that defines our lives.

Rembrandt- Miraculous draught of fishes - source

When do I ever realise and admit the utter poverty of my own thoughts and the awesome holiness of God ?
When do I admit the fact that God's love is greater than my self will and propensity for evil ?

When do I take the journey into God to find Jesus in ever new and more beautiful ways; to accept that He is constantly ready to reveal His strength in my weakness, if  I trust Him - totally !
I need silence and time for prayer to go deep into my heart to allow myself to be carried into the mystery of God's goodness. I know there are plenty of places in my life that are not in harmony with God's will.

Image source

Taking the disciples out into the deep wasn't just about the fish. 

It was about taking them away from the shallows of false piety and stultifying pettiness of socially acceptable religious observance.

It was about taking them away to show them everything that was preventing them from being fruitful in ther lives.

St John of The Cross said " to come to a knowledge you have not, you must come by a way you know not."

It was showing them that by making themselves vulnerable to a plan that was not their own, and how, by spending time with God, they could open up their whole being to new life.

 It was a taste of liberation for them from everything that was trapping them.
 It was a journey into the depths of God's truth and love to show them how this love was vastly deeper than anything they could fathom.

These stories show a God who is ready to sustain me whether on an inner or an outer journey, when all my own efforts reach their limits. So often my wilful autonomous nature imagines itself doing something beautiful for God only for me to miss the mark and fall flat on my face.

Useless energy and anxiety to do it my way all amounts to nothing if God's will is not working in me. The readings also show how unfathomable the mystery of God is, and how this Word made flesh often comes to me in surprising ways.

My desiring, seeking, encountering.... all for this miraculous gift, this draft of fish !!

I could spend a whole lifetime pondering those riches and never begin to exhaust the mystery that is there.

 James Tissot : Miraculous Draft of Fish

As Lent approaches next week, Christ invites me to take a journey into the deep, to trust and follow where He leads me, to discover that vast, unexplored, untamed wilderness of my innermost being.

I need to be willing to reach into those most intensely vulnerable places of the heart and the Lenten journey asks me not to run away in anxiety.

I need to trust that this desire to seek and discover God goes hand in hand with discovering and unlocking the deepest truth about my own existence, that reaches beyond and transcends my human faculties.

I need to trust my instincts that God swims with me into these hidden depths to the deepest centre of my humanity. Sometimes He will be with me in the boat, at others He will challenge me to do it on my own or in community.

He will ask me to follow, to take bold steps in faith, He will urge me on in my immature and critical questioning. Like the hymn says at the end of this post, I believe and trust that " His eyes are set upon me, gently smiling, speaking my name."

Somewhere in the deepest experience of Lent, lies a God who believes in me and who is waiting for me.

Image source

This beautiful prayer of St Paul, is a great one to enter Lent and I pray it for myself and for all of us.

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you
 with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 
 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
 And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
 may have power, together with all the saints,
 to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 
 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge,
 that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV)

 Lord You Have Come To the Seashore

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