Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Safe Barrier

Years ago on a trip to Hawaii, I faced my biggest fear . . . sharks! (Seeing "Jaws" as a teen ruined me for life). Hawaii Shark Encounters took us out about 3 miles off the North Shore into international waters and . . . to what they call the "shark grounds." I had been doing a lot of praying prior to stepping on the boat! But I was ready. The shark cage I would jump into looked very sturdy, but only came out of the water about 2 feet. I think I asked if sharks could jump, praying the answer was "no!" Once I slowly slid off the steps and into the water with mask and snorkel on, it took a few seconds to muster up enough courage to take a look at my surroundings . . . underwater. It was glorious! To be inches away from something so feared was freeing. I had a safe barrier, grant it, feeling very protected inside a cage with steel bars. As my comfort level rose, it wasn't about me anymore. I let go of my fear and trusted in the protection of the cage (and protectors - great crew!). Although there was some potential danger (or else we wouldn't have to sign all the waivers!),  I had to trust. And I lived to tell about it! Thank you, Jesus!

A couple pics from Hawaii Shark Encounter website

In todays Gospel (Matthew 13: 1-9), Jesus tells us when we have complete trust in Him, we will always have a safe barrier:

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

In Anne a lay apostle's book Lessons in Love, her analogy of the lifeguard creates a perfect visual in understanding God's protectiveness of His Children:

"Think of a lifeguard. A lifeguard watches closely. He knows where he can protect people. He also knows that if people go outside of the safe barrier, he may not be able to prevent them from getting into trouble. They, through their own decision to behave foolishly, place themselves at risk of being unreachable in distress. They are not heeding the lifeguard’s safety parameters. The lifeguard knows what he is doing and he has watched the waters, day after day. He has watched people perish because they ignore the safety guidelines. My friends, God is the lifeguard. The beach is life and the water is behavior. People complain that the Catholic Church has too many ‘rules.’ If one studies the teachings of our faith, one will find the teachings to be protective in nature. To swim outside of the safety barriers is to knowingly abandon the teachings. The danger may not be apparent at once but if a storm comes or a swimmer simply becomes tired, as one does in life, he will not be able to put his feet down to rest because he has abandoned the area of foundation. He is, you see, in over his head. In those cases, many call out to God and He pulls them back to safety but damage is done in many ways, to both themselves and others because a bad example has a similar ripple effect to a good example."

Lay apostles, do you feel safe when out in the world amongst those who want to do you harm? Are you arming yourself with the protective shield of Christ every time you step out the door? If you aren't, it's time to start. Begin your day with spiritual reading. Say the Morning Offering and Allegiance Prayer every day. Put a safe barrier in place . . . Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Lord, for the protection and love I feel every day from You. Continue to help me let go of my fears, knowing any outcome is Your Will!

God bless,


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