On this week’s podcast, Brandon and I were talking about the virtue of fortitude, and I mentioned my love of the Gospel story where St. Peter took those couple steps out onto the water with Jesus. In all fairness, St. Peter is my guy in general. He is such a strong sign of hope because he, the rock on which Christ would build His Church, is also the one whose humanity is so fully on display. As someone who has a really strong habit of putting my foot directly in my mouth, Peter is someone I connect to in a deep way.
This story of the walking on water is a perfect example. So often, when we look at the passage, we talk about Peter sinking and Christ asking him why he doubted. Fair enough, that’s worth noting. Yes, Peter, doubted and went down into the water, but as I said on the pod, he made it further than anyone else in the boat. I prefer to focus on the lesson of those steps.
So often, I am like the other disciples, paralyzed by fear in the midst of the storm. On my best days, though, I do the same thing as Peter and get a couple steps in, but then, I start thinking about all the surroundings. Peter shows us both what fortitude is by getting out of the boat, and the key to the success when he focusses on Christ and manages those couple steps.
Then, he shows us the danger in losing focus. He is distracted by the wind and the waves, and loses sight of the miracle he has already participated in and the Lord who made it happen. Ultimately, though, he showed us how to overcome those failures so they don’t become final and fatal. He recognizes his failure and its root. He doesn’t continue to flounder, he calls out to Christ immediately, and is rescued immediately. We have to get out of the boat, let’s take those couple steps.