When I visited Israel I took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. It was the setting for the gospel story of Jesus calming the storm.
Jesus and his disciples set off in a boat after a very busy day of preaching, healing and teaching. They needed time away from the crowds. Jesus immediately fell asleep but was awakened by his disciples who were afraid. Unlike his friends Jesus was able to rest despite the turbulent weather and his hectic, stressful day.
The morning I was out on the Sea of Galilee, our group leader asked us to deliberately turn our minds away from all our concerns and distractions and take some time to reflect and meditate. This wasn’t easy. Although I tried to block it out, I could still hear the sounds of traffic on the highway near the sea. I could hear someone’s i-pod music and the chatty voices of tourists in neighboring boats. I thought about the drama that had occurred on the trip where I was helping to chaperone twenty-five teenagers.
I had to concentrate so I could fill my mind with more peaceful things like the sound of the waves lapping up on the sides of the boat, the sight of a bird skimming the water, the beat of my own heart and the blessings of my trip so far.
St. Francis of Assisi once said “Before you can proclaim peace with your lips you must be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.