Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Floatation Mat of Faith

Each season brings with it, its bounty, its own gifts. We are heading into summer, where "living is easy." What are the gifts of summer we can look at through the eyes of wonder, through the x-ray eye of faith? What are the sacraments, what are the sacred events that allow us to encounter God's presence? What has become so familiar to us that they have lost their deeper meaning, their inner mystery, their wonder-full beauty? What are the sacraments of summer?

In Arizona, we love to swim. When I came to Arizona I discovered a wonderful invention -- the floatation mat. On it, you can lie, relax and soak up the rays of the sun (of course you haveput on at least an SPF 30 protection). With that comes a great feeling of being supported as you gently move around the pool.

Many times over the years, I have recommended the use of the flotation mat to any number of people. I recommend it to people who find it difficult to rest, relax and let go of life for a time. To others, who have difficulty with surrendering, trusting God, this too is recommended. What better way to imagine God as the mat? Just as you can trust the mat to support you, you can trust God's support while you relax. You can train yourself, allow yourself to just be, just chill, to live in this moment -- all the while being supported.

That is the way it is with us and God. In faith, we see that He is our mat. Always there with His love, His care, His persevering faithful love. When we fight Him -- as we do on a regular basis -- like the mat, He does not move. We can slip off the mat, but the mat is there for us to reconnect with again. Yet, we can make it an act of faith when we connect a simple act of gliding on a flotation mat to our willingness to surrender.

Our willingness to surrender our lives unto Him. It is He who has the power to support us and transform us as well. This gives new meaning to the scripture passage, "In Him we live and we move and we have our being."

When we move to the ocean, that mat can be used in two ways. We can lie on the mat and rock slowly and gently to the gentle movement of the waves. The relentless movement of the ocean seems to still the restless spirit within us.

The ocean can change just as life changes. When the waves grow from little to big, then our mat enables us to ride the rough waves. What a great feeling it is to move at speed, as we ride the waves and come safely to the shore. To do what? Well, to go out again and again. We have the security within each of us knowing that the mat will bring us safely back to shore. As long as we hang on, this will happen. In the rough waves of life, we have the safety of the mat of faith to carry us safely to the shore, to security and to home.

Our journey continues…


  1. At a time when I needed a life raft, I found your blog. When listening to your sermons, I always said it seemed like you had been there during my week. Thanks for being there again.

  2. Hi Fr. Joe,
    Back in 2005 you gave me a "penance" to go home a take a good long soak in the tub...I did,,,it seemed to help...I got away from that tub in recent years....not so good...Thank-you once again for making me feel so welcome back to the St. Andrew's Faith saved my life...May the Lord's Peace Be With You Always...Richard L. LaBerge (a "BOOMERANG" Saint Andrew's Catholic Member)

  3. Today I am going to get a raft and float. Thank you. :)

    I hope one day you publish so that our children can still have you as a minister of God's Word in their lives. It's a gift. You have always had a way of bringing it all to a level that is tangible and real.