With my own voice I will call out to the LORD, and he will answer me from his holy mountai. (Psalm 3:5).
Now the people complained bitterly in the hearing of the LORD; and when Moses heard it his wrath flared up, so that the LORD’s fire burned among them and consumed the outskirts of the camp. But when the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the LORD and the fire died out (Numbers 11:1-2).
Jesus 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?” (Matthew 14:29-31).
We all have natural reflexes. We jump when we are startled. We try to grab onto something if we are falling, or duck out of the way when something is flying toward us. Without stopping and thinking about it, we just do it.
What about inner reflexes? When suddenly faced with a tough situation or crisis, what’s your first reaction as a Catholic man? Is it to immediately fight back? Is it to flee? Is it to turn inward and panic? Or is it to turn to the Lord for help and wisdom?
Moses was faced with the Israelites’ complaints as they grew tired of their daily supply of manna. Moses’ frustration was quite understandable “and his wrath flared up” (Numbers 11:1). Here God was providing for them miraculously, and they still weren’t satisfied. So what was Moses’ reflex action when the people cried out to him to stop the fire? He turned to the Lord and prayed for help and the Lord answered him(11:2).
In a similar way, when Peter stepped out of the boat and began walking toward Jesus, he was faced with swirling, violent waters. Beginning to sink, he immediately cried to Jesus for help — and he was saved (Matthew 14:30).
How are your spiritual reflexes? Do you “call out to the Lord” (Psalm 3:5) expecting him to answer you? Do you cry out: “Lord, save me!” when a storm hits? Or do you focus all your attention on the problem and try to fix everything yourself? Of course, when a crisis arises, we obviously have a role to play in solving it. However, Jesus wants us to get in the habit of turning to him first so that he can calm the storm swirling within us before we address whatever storms are swirling around us. Sometimes it may seem illogical. Sometimes it may feel as if we’re going against our gut instincts. But in many situations, the best thing we can do first is calm down, pray, and seek his presence. .
Jesus wants to help us and save us in every crisis. When you struggle with a painful relationship, you can turn to him for the compassion and wisdom you need. When you are deciding on a difficult course of action, you can ask him for wisdom and discernment. When you or a loved one are facing an illness or physical limitation, you can seek his healing power even as you pursue medical treatment. Jesus is ready to meet you anytime, anywhere, about anything you face.
“Lord, I trust in your unfailing love. Teach me to turn to you first and foremost in all things – in good times and difficult times.”
Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing me to adapt meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- Take some time to meditate and reflect on the Scriptures at the beginning of the article. What do you think God is trying to reveal to you through them?
- The article describes natural reflexes and inner reflexes. What are the differences between these two types of reflexes?
- The article poses this question: “When suddenly faced with a tough situation or crisis, what’s your first reaction as a Catholic man?” How would you answer it?
- How would you answer these other questions from the article: “How are your spiritual reflexes? Do you ‘call out to the Lord’ (Psalm 3:5) expecting him to answer you? Do you cry out: ‘Lord, save me!’ when a storm hits? Or do you focus all your attention on the problem and try to fix everything yourself?”
- The article ends with examples of how to deal with different types of crises. Do any of these apply to you right now? How are you handling them? Are their other crises in your life. How are you handling them? Have you spent time in prayer with the Lord on each of them? Have you sought the support of other brothers in Christ? If not, why not?
- Take some time now to pray for the grace to turn to the Lord in all crises. Use the prayer at the end of the article as the starting point.