Whenever the Church is going through a rough patch, it can be tempting to doubt that God is truly in control. The storms of the world continue to buffet the Church and it may seem that God is sleeping.
Yet, just like the apostles in the boat, we are challenged to trust in God, knowing that he is in control of the Church.
This simple truth is brought to mind in the final general audience of Pope Benedict XVI.
I have felt like Saint Peter with the Apostles in the boat on the Sea of Galilee: the Lord has given us so many days of sun and of light winds, days when the catch was abundant; there were also moments when the waters were rough and the winds against us, as throughout the Church’s history, and the Lord seemed to be sleeping. But I have always known that the Lord is in that boat, and I have always known that the barque of the Church is not mine but his. Nor does the Lord let it sink; it is he who guides it, surely also through those whom he has chosen, because he so wished. This has been, and is, a certainty which nothing can shake.
It can be tempting to doubt God’s intentions in allowing so much evil in the world, and often that evil can be found in the members of the Church.
Whenever we feel tempted to question the Church, we must always go back to this scene of Jesus sleeping on the boat. God is there, and can will help us get through any trial. We simply need to trust in him and have no fear.
Pope Benedict ends his audience with these consoling words.
God guides his Church, he sustains it always, especially at times of difficulty. Let us never lose this vision of faith, which is the one true way of looking at the journey of the Church and of the world. In our hearts, in the heart of each of you, may there always abide the joyful certainty that the Lord is at our side: he does not abandon us, he remains close to us and he surrounds us with his love.
If you ever feel your faith in the Church slipping, hold tightly to these words and trust that God is there. He is a loving father who will never abandon his Church.