Enjoy the September 2015 issue of the Cursillo Newsletter, The Evangelizer!
Caught Between Faith and Doubt
From Matthew 14:22-33 – Then He made the disciples get into the boat and precede Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowds. After doing so, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When it was evening He was there alone. Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, He came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once [Jesus] spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to Him in reply, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” He 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?” After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did Him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”
This scripture reminds us of our weakness to be easily distracted, which can cause our faith to waiver. Are we more like Peter, ready to ask God to use us, or are we more like the other disciples who sat in the boat watching to see what would happen with Peter? Peter stands for every disciple in every age, caught between faith and doubt. He believed in the presence of Christ, yet his faith wavered.
In the struggles and complexities of life, it seems natural for Christians to seek signs of God’s presence and of God’s will. Yet the true Christian challenge is to believe in the presence of God precisely when it is least discernible. Peter’s challenge to Christ came not from a strong faith in Jesus, but from the sad reality of “little faith.” The Christian cannot walk on water, and is not meant to do so. But God does empower every disciple to believe against the odds, to face the struggles, and to mature and grow in faith in the process. The essence of Christian life is not signs, but faith. The desire for signs does not originate from God. Yet it is precisely from instances of little faith and sin that Jesus is prepared to reach out his hand and catch the waverer.
In the Christian journey, Jesus invites disciples to follow. In this incident, Peter took the initiative. Interestingly, Jesus accepted his challenge in order to underline for Peter, and for all subsequent believers, the meaning of deep faith.
Faith doesn’t save us from trials and tribulations; what it does is give us strength to face them. The person who has faith has a source of strength and inspiration, especially when trouble strikes. It’s not we who keep the faith – It’s the faith that keeps us.
No one’s faith is perfect. If we ever have a doubt like Peter did, we need to talk to Jesus about it. Mark 9:24 says, then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” Just like Jesus reached out His hand and grabbed Peter to keep him safe, He is that close to us, and He will help us too.
The truth is, lots of situations are too big or too scary for us to handle, but nothing is too big for Jesus! We shouldn’t focus on the situation we are in. Instead, we should focus on the One who has power over every situation! In Verse 27, Jesus tells us like He told the disciples; “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Our faith will be strong when we keep our eyes on Jesus. When we know Jesus, we know He is completely deserving of our trust. When we keep our focus on His power and His love for us, our faith will be strong.
Final thought: “We shall steer safely through every storm, so long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God.” – St. Francis De Sales
Dear Brother and Sister Cursillistas;
I have spent a good amount of time praying over and wondering what to write to you about concerning our lives of “Christ Counting on each of us.” Needless to say, considering that we currently have one man and one woman as candidates for our upcoming weekends, the idea of evangelization comes to mind most frequently.
We’ve all enjoyed a wonderful vacation this summer, and the weather hasn’t been so bad. Now is “Harvest Time,” the time to turn around and get busy working to harvest souls for our God of Love. Have you made some new friends, gotten some new neighbors, or parishioners? How about those who have journeyed through the RCIA, and most importantly do these friends know that you have made a Cursillo? Pick up the pace of your new friendships and bring these friends to Christ through the Cursillo.
I recently listened to a Lighthouse CD titled “Evangelizing Catholics” by Dr. Scott Hahn. It is so interesting that evangelization has been the theme of every Pope since Vatican II. Two years ago the Church was to have been dedicated to a “New Evangelization” but I, for one, failed to see much action from this effort. Perhaps that is the fault of we lay people. We can’t sit around waiting for our priests and bishops to lead us by the hand. Remember go forth and – Be a Friend – Make a Friend and Bring that Friend to Christ.
Our Cursillos are for our Catholic brothers and sister. However, we should also have an ecumenical spirit to our friends of other faiths and guide them to programs of renewal, if these are available, or at least guide them through the process of conversion in their lives to bring them closer to the love which Christ has for each of them and us. One never knows when they are talking to one of our next converts.
Ultreya (Onward), Nick Lang
We have entered into another school year, a time for many young people to try to gear up once again, for the task of studying that we hope leads to learning.
Studying, one of those three legs on which Cursillo is built and maintained. How is your study going? Spending time getting to know better what Cursillo is about? Attending the School of Leaders? Reading about the movement? How about something spiritual like what helps you to better understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? What Church teaching do you need to better understand? How about Pope Francis’ new encyclical on the use and care of our home we call Earth?
So, as the teachers and students return to the classroom, let us remember them in prayer, and let us come to know how important study is for all of us who experience and try to live Cursillo.
I hope everyone had a good summer, and that this beautiful weather we have been having the last couple of days is a taste of good things to be experienced this Autumn.
Blessings to you all,
De Colores, Fr. Gary