One of the primary purposes of doing the Spiritual Exercises is to get to know Jesus, love Jesus, follow Jesus, imitate Jesus and then to bring others to Jesus so that they can become good friends with Jesus.

GRACE TO BEG THIS WEEK.   This week we will be begging for the grace of deep knowledge of Jesus, so that we love Him more ardently or passionately, so that we can follow Him as true disciples all the more closely.

GREATEST PURSUIT IN LIFE.  Indeed there is no greater pursuit in the short life that God has given to us then to truly fall in love with Jesus. This is the end and purpose of Principle and Foundation--- to know, love and follow Jesus in this life so that we can be happy with Him forever in heaven.

FALSE PURSUITS IN LIFE: SADNESS!  Open up your eyes and look around you and notice so many people, young and old, moving in so many different directions, like a chicken with his head cut off. They seem to be driving on the freeway without any destination; it seems as if the faster they drive the less they know where they are heading.   The reason for this confusion, disorientation and sadness almost leading to depression is because they have not encountered Jesus in their lives or they have lost Jesus.

WAYS TO MEET JESUS.  There are many ways that we can meet Jesus in our lives.  This week we will encounter Jesus in the Gospel, which means Good News, and contemplate Jesus performing powerful signs that we can call MIRACLES.

WHY MIRACLES?    WHAT ARE MIRACLES?   You might ask these questions and they are good questions: why did Jesus perform miracles? What are miracles? Well, God performs miracles and Jesus is the Son of God made man. Jesus performed miracles to prove that He was not only man but also He was and is God.  A miracle is a supernatural event or happening that goes beyond the mere natural.

FORMS OF MIRACLES.  Jesus worked many miracles, but especially two types: one was done over nature and the other over the healing of human bodies. The first type: he could walk on water, turn water into wine, multiply the loaves and the fishes, and calm the storm. Over human bodies that suffered some type of ailment, He would heal and often instantaneously. Can you name any? If not, we can help you! Jesus gave sight to the blind, speech to the mute, hearing to the deaf, and the ability to walk to the paralytics. Jesus also healed the lepers of their serious skin disease. However, the greatest miracles of Jesus were when He actually brought some people who died back to life.

Let us now plunge into the infinite abyss of the power, love and goodness of Jesus and meditate and contemplate upon His miracles.

1.    Mt. 8: 23-27: THE CALMING OF THE STORM.

CONTEMPLATION: USE OF YOUR IMAGINATION. Try to imagine that you are present in this scene.  The Apostles are in the boat with Jesus in Lake Galilee.  Some of the Apostles were fishermen—Peter, James, and John and Andrew. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a violent storm kicks up. The Apostles are terrified! See them in this state of panic. They fear for their lives. Maybe this is the end?

JESUS ASLEEP.  What is equally fascinating is that in all of this Jesus is fast asleep in the boat. Actually it is the only time in all of the Gospels that we find Jesus asleep—in the midst of a storm on the lake.  If you were in a storm in the middle of a lake, would you be fast asleep!

POWER AND ASSURANCE OF JESUS.  Terrified, the Apostles wake Jesus from His sleep and He rebukes the violent winds and immediately they calm down to a whisper.  At the same time Jesus rebukes the Apostles for their lack of faith.

APOSTLES REACTION.  The Apostles were totally amazed at the power that Jesus had over this violent storm.  They were getting to know Jesus better and better as they spent time with Him, even in the mist of this violent storm.

MIRACLE OVER NATURE. This is one of the many miracles that Jesus performed over nature to prove that He was the master even of nature.  The following are points to help us to get to know Jesus better, love Him more and be willing to follow Him all the more closely.

1.    STORMS IN LIFE.   Have you ever had a storm or storms in your life? Storms can come in many forms, shapes, sizes and places.  Storms can also come and catch us by surprise as in the case of the Apostles in the boat with Jesus.  Rewind the film of your life and pick out maybe one storm that really seemed to shake your boat. See yourself in your own little boat, the wind picking up force, the waves battering against your boat, even the hiss of the wind, as well as the violent waters kicking up over the boat and splashing you in the face. Now, very important in the Spiritual Exercises, talk to Jesus about this or these storms. He really wants to enter into dialogue with you.

2.    HOW DID YOU REACT? Now enter into your own heart and remember what your reaction was.   Did you doubt? Did you cry out? Did you wonder and question why?  Did you start to give in to despair? Talk to Jesus now about your inner feelings and emotions. This is the essence and importance of the Exercises—learning to talk to Jesus about our lives, our inner experiences, our storms.

3.    WHERE WAS JESUS?  Now ask yourself: where was Jesus?  Remember that with the Apostles, in the midst of this violent storm, Jesus was not far away. On the contrary, He was very close to them, probably a few yards away!  Do you ever feel that Jesus is distant from you?  Do you ever feel as if Jesus has fallen asleep on you?  Talk to Jesus about this; He is very interested in you and wants to have a deep conversation with you.

4.    YOUR SOUL AND JESUS.   The boat in which the Apostles experienced this violent storm had Jesus present the whole time.  This boat is symbolic of your own soul. Are you aware of Jesus present in the depths of your soul? If you are in the state of grace, then Jesus is living in the boat of your soul, the boat of your very heart. Now is the time to get in touch with the Presence of your Best Friend Jesus the Lord living in the boat of your soul.

5.    STORMS IN YOUR LIFE.  To live in this world is to be exposed to trials, turbulence, small storms and even enormous storms. Maybe you are in a moment of calm now, thanks be to God. However, future storms will come to batter against the bark of your soul. Like the Apostles, do not be afraid to call out to the Lord Jesus: Lord, save me! Jesus is just as powerful today as He was 2000 years ago. Call out Lord save me! Lord strengthen my faith!