Jesus said to the disciples: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.” (Mt 13:47).
The invitation of God is universal and we are all lured by his invitation of love and intimacy. We long to belong, our very substance and essence as human beings is the reality that our ultimate fulfillment can only be reached in communion with the God who created us. Yet, though drawn, we resist being caught.
St Augustine (354-430), bishop of Hippo, came to a point in his life where he realized that the flame of his desire for wealth, fame, and pleasure was dimming. He clearly felt moved toward “one reality that cannot decay, from which all other realities are derived.” Though he was caught in God’s net and being pulled in, Augustine still sought to wriggle free, for: “Though drawn to the Path, who is my savior, I shied from its hard traveling” (Augustine 2008, 161).
How many of us could echo Augustine’s dilemma? We have experienced God in our lives and feel the invitation to go deeper, yet, we still seek to wriggle free. We are attracted to God but our attraction to fame, pleasure, power, or wealth still has a stronger hold. At a baser level, we may believe that the minimalist approach is easier. God’s path is too hard.
Hard yes, but if we look at anything that has been worthwhile in our life, haven’t we received it through discipline, effort, and hard work?
Often it is more effort to work against God’s will, just read the Book of Jonah! May we instead surrender to the current of the Father’s Love and allow ourselves to be caught in the net of his Grace. At first, anxiety and fear will arise, because the pull may appear too strong, his love too pure. Yet, when we align our discipline and effort with his will, the anxiety will wane, and we will indeed be free to swim again. This time with more exhilaration and joy than we had ever experienced before.