Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr
MT 8:23-27

As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him. A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” 

And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”
Gospel citations come from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Andrea McMerty-Brummer ’01, ‘10 MNA

Throughout our courtship, engagement, and marriage, the image of a sailboat has been very important to my husband and me.

I remember very vividly one of the first cards that my husband gave me early in our relationship. It depicted a sailboat on the front and the message penned on the inside invited me to trust the winds of the Holy Spirit to fill our sails and guide our journey. Ever since that time—now more than 15 years ago—the image of the Holy Spirit navigating our lives has been a touchstone for me. It has gotten me through a decade of missionary life, the early years of marriage and family life, career transitions, navigating the waters of parenting adolescents, and the everyday joys and challenges of living as a modern day disciple.

When life is smooth sailing, though, I often forget how present God is to me. I have fallen into the trap of believing that once I committed myself to following Christ, the road would open up before me and all hardships would fall away. I discern God’s will for me. I do it. God takes care of the rest. Simple, right?

But then the storms blow in. The waves crash over me. My boat fills with water. I truly believe that I might drown. And where is God? The Lord must have fallen asleep on the job, right? Did he forget that I got into the boat with him? Did he forget his part of the deal? It feels as if God has forgotten that I am a member of the crew—as if God is leaving me to bail water and navigate the storm on my own.

Why am I afraid? Why is my faith so little? God is NOT asleep on the job! The Lord will rebuke the winds and calm the seas—even when that seems to be an impossibility.

I thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit, and for the gift of a wise partner in life who keeps me properly oriented. I keep images of sailboats all around me—they remind me that I have taken the leap, I have stepped into the boat to follow Jesus. He will not let me perish—he sends the Holy Spirit to be the wind in my sails.

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Father Dennis Strach, CSC 

Almighty and ever-living Lord, you calmed the wind and the sea, and calmed the minds of the disciples. When the storms of life surround us, help us to rest confidently in your embrace, knowing that you are greater than any difficulty that comes our way. May our faith increase, that we may see through the darkness of the clouds, and behold only the radiance of the Son. Amen.


St. Irenaeus, you defended the early Church from secret sects and ensured the truth of our faith today--pray for us!