Fr. Larry Richards likes to say that the theme song of hell is “I did it My Way” by Frank Sinatra. I don’t know if hell has a theme song, but I see what Fr. Larry is getting at. Isn’t that the attitude of our generation, the freedom to do it “my way”? In truth, when we reduce life to a struggle to have our way prevail over the way of others, life becomes extremely burdensome. It becomes not worth it after a while. In contrast, when we do it “God’s way”, then an exciting adventure can open up in front of us. When we do it God’s way, we discover “peace which surpasses understanding.”
How do we do it “God’s way”? We follow the example of St. Peter, who is the inspiration for the name of this blog, “I will Lower my Net.” We have to do as Peter did and be willing. One day, Jesus Christ just happened to come to Peter’s home town, and borrow his boat. Then, Jesus gave a curious request, “Put out into the deep and lower your nets for a catch.” Peter, who had been up all night long, and utterly failed at catching a single fish, could have easily said, “Sorry, we are going into shore.” But instead he said, “at your command I will lower the nets.” Peter was open, even when he felt like doing otherwise.
Peter, in response to the miraculous catch of fish, (the nets were so full that the boat almost sank) then moved from willingness to honest humility. “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man”, Peter said. Could there be a better response to finding yourself suddenly in the Presence of God? Peter knew that he had no right to be in the Presence of God. He knew that the Son of God could easily ask the impossible of him. But what did the Son of God, Jesus Christ, say in response to Peter’s confession? “Do not be afraid.” This is always the response of Jesus Christ. He always responds to our humility with encouragement.
What did Peter do next? He and his companions left their lives behind and followed Jesus. This indicated an openess to not do things “their way” but to do things “God’s way”. Certainly, God will not ask a man or woman with a family to permanently leave behind all they have to follow Him (except in the most extraordinary of circumstances). The road that Peter would travel would be an interesting one. He would walk all the way to his own Cross in Rome, as the first Pope and a martyr of the Church. But his would be the gift of profound peace, and the joy of relationship with God and neighbor. He would become poor in the things of this life, but rich in the things of God.
Are we so inclined as Peter was to follow God’s way, and not our way? Certainly, it is easy to do it our way. It seems as if everyone else is trying to have it their way – why not prevail over others and even maybe over God Himself (after all, where is God anyhow?)? No, the way ahead is not through selfishness, but neither is it through the foolish utopian visions thrust upon us by our secular materialistic world leaders. The way forward is through being willing, honestly humble, and to follow where Jesus leads.
There is a new song by Toby Mac (a Christian recording artist) about how he needs to let God take his musical shows over. Instead of having his performances go as planned, he wants Jesus to “take it away” and do with it what He will. Yes, Jesus, take away our show – you know what the people need most.