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.