Learning to Swim

Readings from http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/040219.cfm

Did you ever go to the beach and wade into the water just so far?  I’m not a swimmer, so I’m very cautious about how far I go.  I certainly wouldn’t want to lose control of my footing.

In our first reading today, the angel leads Ezechial into deeper and deeper water in a rather elaborate story.  First he goes into ankle deep water, then knee deep, then waist deep.  What’s the message?

An article by Mike Hullah called “The River” gave me a little more insight about this scripture.  He suggested that just as the prophet was literally led into ever deepening waters, so does God want to do this in our lives as we deepen our spiritual relationship with God.

When we wade into ankle deep water, that’s the first step of faith that we take in our relationship with God.  For us Catholics, this relationship begins at our baptism.  Some folks, however, never go any further in developing their faith in God or taking advantages of all the blessings that can result.  They want to be in control and so miss opportunities from God who wants so much more for us.

When we wade in knee deep water, we’re feeling the power of the water as it rushes by, but we’re still standing on two feet.  This image represents the person who is learning to be dependent on God, who prays and tries to live a good and moral life.  But they’re still in control and not being supported totally by the river of God’s love.

Finally, Ezechial goes in waist deep; he’s getting braver. When others look on, they see more of the river and less of the person. Spiritually, this means getting stronger in our faith so that others see more of God and less of us as we serve others in God’s name. But… we haven’t surrendered completely yet!

Finally the angel takes Ezechial to a place where the river is in total control and the only way to cross it is by swimming and getting completely immersed in the water.  Ezechial would literally be all wet, way over his head, and totally dependent on God for life.  In our story, however, this river, and wherever it flows and whatever it touches, gives abundant life.

Lent is a wonderful time to examine our relationship with God and how deep we are in the water…Ankle?  Knee? Waist?  Our lifetime goal is to learn to surrender completely, learn to trust in God’s mercy, and learn to swim in God’s love confidently.