The town of Feldkirch, Austria in 1799 was faced with the prospects of being attacked by the armies of Napoleon.
It was an Easter Day and the sun shone brightly, letting the soldiers of the enemy being spotted.
The Town Council was called together, in haste, to consult what had to be done.
> It was a situation of tension.
> It was a time of immense distress.
After a long period of discussion, the dean of the Church made a proclamation:
“My brothers it is Easter Day!
We have been reckoning our own strength, and that fails.
>> Let us turn to God.
Ring the bells and have service as usual, and leave the matter in God’s hands…”
It was a hard and (humanly speaking) a risky decision, but they agreed to do as he said.
Thus from the Church towers of Feldkirch, rang the boisterous and joyous peals of the bells, in honour of the Resurrection of the Lord.
>> The streets began to be filled with worshippers, hastening to the Church.
The enemy army, on hearing the sudden ringing of the bells, were taken aback with surprise and shock.
>> They came to a conclusion that the strong Austrian Army had arrived in order to relieve the place.
So they fled hastily!
The town of Feldkirch were saved from the possibilities of destruction and ruin!
Divine Providence had rescued a tiny town, who placed their trust in Him, from the deathly clutches of a mighty army!
Is my life of faith, characterised by a “Deep Trust in Divine Providence”?
The Gospel of the Day is a wonderful presentation of the marvels that can be witnessed when one place’s one’s complete trust in the Lord and surrenders one’s life – in action and deeds – to the Providence of the Lord.
Our Blessed Lord is fully into His ministry of preaching and proclaiming God’s Word (Lk 5:1)
The Word was transforming people…
… and in sometime, a wonderful transformation was to happen to a person, who would become a close-follower of the Transforming Lord!
The crowds were thronging together, to hear the words of Jesus.
But, “standing by the lake, Jesus saw two boats by the lake” (Lk 5: 2)
The Gospel says that, “the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets” (Lk 5: 2b)
This verse, though little and appears insignificant carries a mighty message: the message of the Power of God’s Providence.
The fishermen, as we would later read, were Simon and James and John and others.
>> They had toiled the whole night… caught no fish, and were now, dejectedly, washing their nets.
The boat was empty – bereft of any fish!
But Divine Providence had a mighty plan in this “barrenness”
>> The emptiness of the boat allowed our Blessed Lord to enter it, and make it His Pulpit for preaching God’s Word!
>> The vacancy in the boat prompted our Blessed Lord to enthrone it, and make it His platform for calling His First Disciples!
Had there been fish in the boat…
… in all probability, the fishermen would be in it, sorting and cleaning the fish..
… and would have left no space for the Blessed Lord to preach from it
Had there been a mighty catch that night…
… in all probability, the boat, filled with the fish, would not have been there
… and the vehicle of “catching fish” would have missed the chance to be a “podium for proclaiming God’s Word”
Is my life, at this point, empty and barren…
… like this boat?
>> Maybe its been a long time I have been watching and expecting, patiently and faithfully, for my boat to be filled.
>> Maybe its being a horrible wait, sometimes even leading to frustration and hopelessness, for my boat to be filled
But can I trust Divine Providence, in having a purposive plan for this “emptiness and barrenness”?
Later on, Simon would be asked by our Lord to “put out into the deep and let the nets down for a catch” (Lk 5: 4)
>> It seemed illogical, pointless and hardly reasonable to Simon.
>> It seemed as a confronting questioning of Simon’s skills and abilities in his field of expertise
But Simon “let go” of his own prejudices, tiredness and (possible) humiliation…
… and Trusted in the Mighty Providence of the One, who would be His Life and Master!
And this Trust did not fail him!
> The net was filled with fish…
>> His mind was filled with feelings of awe…
>>> His eyes were filled with tears of repentance…
>>>> His heart was filled with the joy of surrendering…
Here is a beautiful story of how..
A competent fisherman failed utterly in his field of competence…
… but is initiated into being a competent “fisher of people”, for the Kingdom of God!
As Christians, we do claim to be people of faith and belief.
>> But does this “faith” translate itself into real “trust”?
>> When hardships come in life, I may proclaim my faith with my lips…
… but do I “trust” Him to take me through?
>> When emptiness fills my life, I may perform external works of faith…
… but do I “trust” Him to utilize my barrenness, in the way He wants?
>> When toils of life yield no results, I may persist in saying that I have faith…
… but do I “trust” Him to grant me the fruits of labour, in His own time and in His own measure?
And if I really “trust” in the Lord…
>> I would be a person of joy, going about my works without anxieties and radiating serenity and calm…
… even when walking through the valleys of sufferings
… even when sinking in the deluge of pain
… even when surrounded by the clouds of uncertainty!
Let us always seek to trust in the Lord, reminding and telling ourselves in hard situations of life:
“We have been reckoning our own strength, and that fails.
>> Let us turn to God.
Let us ring the bells of joy and confidence, and leave the matter into God’s Hands…”
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “There are no galley-slaves in the royal vessel of divine love – every man works his oar voluntarily!”