Duc Et Altum


 And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat.  When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.”  When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break;  so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” Luke 5:3-8

Lately I have been hearing God whisper to me, “Duc Et Altum”– “Cast into the Deep.”  That was a favorite of St. John Paul II.   It is a call to a much deeper trust.  A call to cast your net into the unknown, not knowing exactly what will happen.  When the Lord told Peter to do it, Peter still didn’t know Jesus well (it was his brother Andrew who believed), but Peter trusted and cast his net into the deep, and his net became full.  And Peter KNEW him, and said, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man.”   In the verses that follow Jesus tells him not to be afraid he will be catching men.

I had been pondering this story, because, you see, I know my purpose.  I know I am called to love God more than anything and that I am called to share His love for us with other people.  And so it seemed God kept whispering to me, Duc Et Altum.  Not knowing exactly what I was supposed to do with that, I went about my day.  Low and behold I came across a conference called, “Into the Deep,” led by Dan Burke (Executive Director of the National Catholic Register.) I don’t believe in coincidences, so I knew I was supposed to go.

The conference was at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL.  Since I don’t much like travelling by myself, I really did have to trust and I drove myself there.


The Conference was wonderful.  Mr. Burke gave us excellent tips on how to pray.  I would highly recommend his book Into the Deep.   Prayer really can change your life.  I know it has changed mine.

After the conference was over, I went into the Shrine.  All I can say is I was overwhelmed and overcome.  This place is stunning.  This is beauty.  It transcends time and takes you to the heavens.  I almost lost my breath.


Then I attended Mass in the crypt church.  This is probably the most reverent Mass I had been to in a long while.  During the consecration the altar boys laid prostrate on the floor (it was celebrated ad orientem).  This place was holy.  I felt safe and loved and I didn’t want to leave.  There is a place for beauty in architecture, and in the liturgy.  It definitely drew me deeper, and I didn’t want to come back to “reality.”  I would actually argue that what is going on there is more real than any place else.

And I felt something.  I felt I am no longer afraid of death.  I know after being in this place that is a little slice of heaven on earth, that heaven is what is real, and that heaven is where I long to be.  I actually felt sad to leave.

For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.  If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose.  I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, [for] that is far better. Phillipians 1:21-23

So I have been Cast into the Deep, trusting in the Lord, knowing that He is real, and that He overcame death, so I have nothing to fear.  May God Bless all of you, may you no longer have anxious hearts, and may you know the love that surpasses all understanding.

About veilofveronica

I am a mother and wife as well as an RCIA and Adult Faith Formation catechist at a parish in the south. I have 3 children and a great husband.
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18 Responses to Duc Et Altum

  1. By ‘taking’ you to that conference, and leading you to that shrine, it feels as if Jesus took you aside for some heavenly mothering. Do you feel that way? Precious time out from the world. Like Elijah was tended to in the desert. Fed and nourished and blessed for the journey ahead.

    I am so happy you had that, Susan, like an early Christmas gift.

  2. Christina says:

    Beautiful ❤ I find it so inspiring that you can hear God like this!

    • I would recommend the book above. Into the Deep. Mr Burke has a very fruitful prayer life and the book helps tell how you can too. Though I am not a theologian– I realized I was already doing most of what he spoke of. I think for me it came from an infusion of grace because of suffering. I think he can speak this way to all of us. God Bless you.

      • Christina says:

        Wow- Thanks so much for telling me 🙂 I’ll be sure to check that out. And yes, no doubt, I feel that God spoke to me more when I was suffering. Now, that I’m comfortable and erring a little, He seems to be a little further away. I should put more effort in praying and fasting . God bless you and your family 🙂

      • It definitely takes a discipline in prayer to keep up when times are good. All the Saints had certain things they did everyday to make prayer time a priority– through dryness and fulfillment. That way they didn’t get off track. Most of us regular folk tend to let other distractions take out time when things are rolling along– he recommended setting aside at least 15 minutes everyday and everything else is scheduled around that… not the other way around. I have been blessed because I work in a church so setting aside prayer time for me is easy. It would be harder in a secular job and I would really have to set aside that 15 minutes deliberately.

      • Christina says:

        Yes- definitely so. Although 15 min is even too little for me. I used to pray for long hours with a lot of devotion. I still try to fit in a rosary, chaplet, bible verse and consecration prayers though, but I feel like I can’t be within God’s Will unless I pray more. I should just trust, do my duties, and hope to pray more. I hope that I’ll be able to work in a church setting too as you do soon after getting married in less than a month/change my lifestyle. You’re so kind to take the time to type back! Prayers going out to you

      • I agree 15 is too short– but he was speaking to a diverse group some who need to just get started! Congratulations on the upcoming wedding and I will pray God will Cast you into the Deep!

      • Christina says:

        Hehe yes- I remember that Our Lady of Medjugorje recommended 15 min in the morning and prayers at night for working people. And thank you so much! ❤ Prayers are appreciated! Here's to all of us becoming more open to God's call ❤

  3. Mayra villavicencio-post says:

    Thank you this was beautiful !

  4. Holly says:

    So glad you loved it. Tadd and I felt like, when we visited the shrine, that it felt like the most beautiful old church in Europe was dropped in the middle of the country in Alabama. Unreal what the Holy Spirit worked there thru Mother Angelica. I wonder if you let Fr John Paul? Let’s chat soon. Xoxo

    • Miss you so much Holly. I don’t know if it was Fr John Paul or not but whoever he was he had a beautiful singing voice. I want to take a group on a pilgrimage there, maybe you could come too!

      • Yana says:

        We always take a family pilgrimage there at least once a year. As you know, the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament is a very special place for David and I.
        We would love to go on the group pilgrimage or retreat there!

  5. Janice Nelson says:

    Thank you for coming to the retreat! “Life changing” is the most frquent description of the event. God bless you, Janice Nelson

  6. Susan, I have a little gift for you on my blog.

  7. Pingback: Restoring Beauty | Veil of Veronica

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