Project Description




6B Leviticus 13:1,2,44-46/1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1/ Mark 1:40-45

 

Country Music legend George Jones

sang a song called

“Beneath Still Waters.”

 

It’s one of my favorites.

 

The main line of the lyrics goes like this:

 

Beneath still waters 

there’s a strong undertow. . .

 

The surface won’t tell you 

what the deep water knows.

 

The song is about a love relationship

that looks so romantic on the surface. . .

 

but just below. . .

 

just below the surface. . .

 

there’s trouble. . .

 

There’s an underneath current swirling. . .

Ready to pull you under. . .

and drown you.

 

Just beneath the surface. . .

 

Just beneath. . .

 

The surface won’t tell you,

what the deep waters knows.

 

I love this song!!!

 

In my own life,

there have been times when everything

on the surface looks calm. .  .

 

But just below the surface. . .

 I was dealing with some serious stuff. . .

The current was swirling

 

And as a priest. . .

 

I know this is true

many times

for many others as well.

 

We just have no idea

what someone might be going through. . .

 

beneath still waters. . .

 

beneath still waters.


You know,

this is also true of the saints.

 

sometimes we just hear all the good stuff. . .

 

but saints are human, too.

 

Take for example,

St. Therese of Lisieux. . .

“the Little Flower”. . .

 

the saint always pictured with roses.

 

To read parts of her autobiography,

one would think that

her life was nothing but roses.

 

That’s partly because of the sugary

French language of the late

19th century she used.

 

One commentator said that he

had to take a shot of insulin

before he could read her. . .

 

but beneath still waters. . .

there was a strong undertow.

 

Therese was certainly surrounded by love. . .

 

so much so that Therese’s mother and father. .  .

Zelie and Louis. . .

are also canonized saints.

 

But Therese also experienced a lot of trauma. . .

a lot.

 

First, Zelie. . .

Therese’s mother—

had breast cancer. . .

 

and Zelie had great difficulty in

breastfeeding Therese.

 

So, at 3 months,

Therese was separated from her mother

and given to a wet nurse named “Rose.”

 

Rose lived several miles away from the Martin Family.

 

And as any child would do—

Therese bonded with Rose as if

she were her mother.

 

And when Rose would bring

Therese to her real home. . .

 

Therese would just cling to Rose—

as if Rose was her real mother.

 

Then 11 months later. . .

Therese was returned to her home. . .

 

So she experienced 2 separation experiences

of a mother figure. . .

in the first critical year of life. . .

 

After a period of adjustment—

 

Therese would cling to Zelie—

her biological mother—

cling in an extreme way. . .

afraid of being abandoned again.

And then,

when Therese was 4 and 1/2—

her mother—

died of breast cancer.

 

A tremendous. . .

tremendous loss.

 

Losing a mother again. . .

for real. . .

and at such a young age.

 

Underneath that sugary language of Therese. . .

is a lot of pain.

 

After her mother’s death. . .

the family showered Therese with even more love. . .

trying to make up for the losses. . .

 

and they spoiled her. . .

 

and they sheltered her.

 

So much so that when Therese went to school. . .

she didn’t know how to play

with the other children. . .

 

She didn’t know how to play

any of the games they played. . .

 

So, as children can sometimes be. . .

they were mean to Therese. . .

 

She was an outcast. . .

They bullied her.

 

And she kept all this inside. . .

Not telling anybody. . .

It kept building and building

 

Beneath still waters. . .

There’s a strong undertow

 

And then another huge hit. . .

another great storm.

 

Pauline,

her older sister

who became Therese’s surrogate mother

when Zelie died. . .

 

joined the convent.

 

Another experience of maternal abandonment.

 

And she lost it. . .

she had a real nervous breakdown.

 

There would be even more great storms Therese’s life. . .

 

Her beloved Father suffered mini-strokes

and was institutionalized.

 

And at the end of her life,

she experienced the Dark Night of the Soul. . .

 

She doubted if there was a heaven. . .

or a hell. . .

 

she couldn’t feel God’s presence.

 

But through all of these storms. . .

and undercurrents that threatened to

pull her under and drown her. . .

 

There was one constant. . .

 

And that was Jesus.

 

Therese knew. . .

even though she couldn’t feel Him at times. . .

that Jesus would never abandon her.

 

From an early age in childhood. . .

until she died of tuberculosis at 24. . .

 

She always hung on to Jesus. . .

Even in the darkest of times. . .

 

And in doing that. . .

She is the model of trusting in the love God. . .

Regardless of what’s going on externally.

 

She is the model of charity. . .

Being kind and gentle and loving

with those who were just as wounded as she was.

 

Clinging to Jesus.

 

And that, to me is why she is. . .

as Pope Pius X proclaimed,

the Greatest Saint of Modern Times.

 

Have you noticed how Jesus acts in the Bible. . .

 

Jesus exorcises demons. . .

Jesus heals. . .

 

Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever. . .

which in that time. . .

before antibiotics. . .

could easily rob someone of their life. . .

 

And today,

He heals the man of leprosy. . .

 

A leper couldn’t worship. . .

A leper was a social outcast. . .

 

And Jesus gives them life and

Jesus gives them the grace for a more fulfilled way of life. . .

 

in the midst of difficulties.

in the midst of storms. . .

In the midst of undercurrents threatening to pull us under.

 

Like those possessed. . .

 

Like Peter’s Mother in Law. . .

 

Like the Leper. . .

 

Like St. Therese.

 

That’s the work of God. . .

That’s the work of Jesus in the Gospels.

 

Trust in Him. . .

Cling to Him


I want to end with one more St. Therese story. . .

 

I’ve mentioned it so many times,

but it so wonderful. . .

I want to mention it again.

 

Do you recall how St. Therese

interpreted the story of the disciples

waking Jesus up while he was asleep

in the boat as

the storm raged. . .

threatening to capsize the boat.

 

St. Therese trusted Him so much,

she said she would let Him sleep. . .

 

She had nothing to fear as long as

He was in the boat with her.

 

A great image for her life. . .

filled with many storms and undercurrents. . .

 

And a great image for our lives. . .

Filled with many storms and undercurrents. . .

 

And it’s all there right in the very first part of Mark’s Gospel. . .

How does Jesus act in the Gospels. . .

 

Jesus gives life and

Jesus gives the grace for a more fulfilled way of life.

 

Holy Spirit 02/13-14/2021