Again, we return to Sunday’s Gospel.
Both liturgical prayer and private prayer are strengthened by repetition.
Repetition helps us to relax into a meditative and reflective state, still aware of the general flow, but freed now to be attentive to particular detail and to bring our response to that to God in a more focused time of prayer and dialogue.
Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he would send the crowds away. After sending the crowds away he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, while the boat, by now far out on the lake, was battling with a heavy sea, for there was a head-wind. In the fourth watch of the night he went towards them, walking on the lake, and when the disciples saw him walking on the lake they were terrified. ‘It is a ghost’ they said, and cried out in fear. But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’ It was Peter who answered. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.’ ‘Come’ said Jesus. Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water, but as soon as he felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink. ‘Lord! Save me!’ he cried. Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. ‘Man of little faith,’ he said ‘why did you doubt?’ And as they got into the boat the wind dropped. The men in the boat bowed down before him and said, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God.’
This episode ends with the disciples’ worship and adoration of Jesus as the Son of God.
Their experience and their reflection on that experience has brought them to need to give him worship.
Sometimes our worship is prompted by habit – the established rhythm of the week giving us the Day of the Lord, and of the year, giving us the seasons and feasts; the established rhythm of our own private pattern of prayer – half an hour in the morning, or fifteen minutes last thing at night, for example.
Building into that rhythm and habit a time of conscious and deliberate reflection on the detail of our daily lives is also a good thing, and often will prove to be occasion for an engaging and urgent prompt to prayer of petition and contrition, and adoration of the living God
Photograph: worship of the Eucharist outside of Mass, the Dominican Church, Krakow, Poland. (c) Allen Morris, 2013.