Recently, I had the privilege of caring for the newest member of our family. Jacob Alexander is two months old, and his mother was returning to work.
Since he is the first addition to our extended family in the past 5 years, there are some adjustments being made. We have slowly become accustomed to more independence when it comes to the children. They eat what we eat, have graduated to boosters rather than car seats, and are able to take care of basic grooming for themselves.
As I fed this little one, there was a mishap, and the milk his nursing mother had supplied spilled all over the two of us. A realization came to me in a flash: we were invisibly tethered to her and the life-giving sustenance she had carefully provided for her absence. Without it, there would be dire need. Thankfully, the remaining supply was plentiful; and the day went smoothly from that point on.
This same type of revelation must have come to Peter when he asked Our Lord to allow him walk on water. In a moment of bravado, he saw Jesus and wanted desperately to be with Him. As the waves grew more menacing, however, he must have come to realize just how precarious his position was. In terror, his faith dwindled and he began to sink. (Matthew 14: 28-31) Only calling out to Jesus, being tethered to Him, could save Peter — and he knew it!
Like Saint Peter and our little Jacob, we are all tethered. As Jacob is tethered to his mother, we are tethered to God. We rely on Him for our very lives and for everything we need — in this world and in the next. Although our passions deceive us into a flawed sense of self-sufficiency, the life-giving sustenance our Creator God provides is our only true and eternal lifeline.
As adults, we are lulled into a complacency and pride of self sustenance. We see our own efforts resulting in food, shelter, and other worldly needs and wants. Yet, in the blink of an eye, tragedy can strike, and we can become as helpless as a newborn. In this world, that can mean unemployment, illness, and death; in Eternal Life the options are everlasting life or damnation.
So what are we to do with this realization? How can we consciously remain tethered to God and give Him His due? Holy Mother Church beautifully provides the answers.
The gifts of the Sacraments give us forgiveness, food for the journey, and bountiful oceans of grace. In the Bible and writings of the saints we are provided with all the tools we need to live as the saints He wants us to be. We also have the Communion of Saints, shoring us up even as we join them in heavenly praise.
The rest is up to how we employ our free will — to come fully to terms with our need for God. Our very lives depend on it.
Like the wise virgins, we must to keep our lamps of grace filled and remain ever watchful for the Bridegroom. (Matthew 25: 1-13) Like the saints, we must to serve God by serving others and loving unconditionally. And like Martha’s sister, Mary, we must sit at the feet of Jesus and bask in His life-giving words. (Luke 10: 38-42)
Being as little children to God our Father, our realization of utter dependence will be essential in the Eternal outcome of our lives.
Photography: See our Photographers page.