The Sea of Gennesaret, icon of the world

The following is a quote from a book by Augoustinos N. Kantiotes, Bishop of Florina, Greece,  “FOLLOW ME”

“The Sea of Gennesaret is a small icon of the world.  On the figurative sea sails a ship.  On the outside it is not as impressive as the enormous ships or floating colossii, but it has Jesus Christ as its protector, the Apostles, Teachers and Fathers as sailors, and the faithful of every generation as its passengers.  This ship is the Orthodox Church. It sails constantly, though rarely is it at peace.  Frequently, the Leviathan, Satan, raises strong winds, storms, and hurricanes against it, and makes the sea turbulent.  Allegorically, this is the relentless opposition to the Church by Her many-named enemies.  They are generals and rules, kings and emperors, ruling powers that hate Christ and take pains to exterminate violently the Christian Faith.  They are also false teachers, false prophets, and heretics who through error seek to distort the right faith and turn the God-guided ship from its course. All these as cyclones and hurricanes befall the ship of the Church.  The enemy’s opposition is so furious that those of little faith on the ship lose their self-control and despair, thinking that the Church will not endure at all, but will sink in that ocean where whole kingdoms and empires have gone down.  And while those sailors and passengers in the boat have been dazed by the furiousness of the storm, and the enemies rejoicing, wait from hour to hour to watch the Church’s disappearance, suddenly, miraculously, the winds become calm and there is great peace.  The Church comes out of the rough waves of affliction purer and brighter.  How? There is only one explanation:  that the same Lord who rebuked the wind and the sea saying, “Peace, be still,” is invisibly present in the Church and protects Her.  At the time He deems appropriate, He says to the furious sea of heresy and evil, “Peace, be still.”  He most clearly puts the surge to rest and grants peace to the Church.  Worthy of remembrance are the words of St. Augustine, who philosophizing about striking events in the Church, said that the Church is ever stormed against, but is never sunk.  See how the miracle of the calming of the storm in Lake Gennesaret is constantly repeated in Christ’s Church.

This miracle teaches a valuable lesson from yet another perspective.  Think of the human heart as a sea.  It is large.  Storms which occur on lakes, seas, and oceans are visible and are described by the learned pen.  But what psychologist or what anatomist of the worlds in our minds could describe the awful storms which the tempest of human passion evokes in the depths of our souls.  Dear reader, no lake, sea, or ocean is shaken at such depths as the human heart.  Rough waves of furious sea:  love of pleasure, glory, money, hatred, anger, revenge, wickedness, murder, ingratitude, disbelief, blasphemy, and every other evil arise in the human heart, and our boats are battered amid fearsome tempests which deluge individuals and whole societies of moral shipwrecks.  Who now can say to the furious sea of passions, “Peace, be still?”  Only the God-Man, the Lord.  Only His voice, secretly heard in the depths of a believing heart is enough to stop the winds and make the sea peaceful, to tame and muzzle the roaring beasts of passion.  The calming of a heart disturbed by its passions is so much more excellent than the calming of Lake Gennesaret!

Lord, in the hour of temptation when my heart is assailed by a host of passions, come and speak Your almighty word, “Peace, be still.” (pp 83-84)

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