Recently we revisited the case of Cora Evans, a California woman whose “cause” for beatification has been advanced by the U.S. bishops to the Vatican.
In a powerful book about the life and death of Jesus, called Refugee From Heaven, Evans, a modern mystic (died 1957) who allegedly “saw” scenes from the Lord’s time on earth, recalls one event, along the shores of Galilee, that can be related to our own time. For it was about a storm.
“At last He was able to sail, but the voyage was destined to be eventful, for a few hours later they were overtaken by a severe storm,” wrote Evans of a vision.
“At Jesus’ command, Simon — after ordering his men to remain with the vessel and to keep it anchored in deep water — took Mother Mary and the Master to the beach in a small boat. Once more on land, they peered through the darkness, hoping to find a place of shelter for Mother Mary for the duration of the storm.
“As the fierce gale bore down on the beach Simon, although within two feet of the Master, called at the top of his strong voice, ‘In all my years as a fisherman, I have never seen such a storm!”
It was described by Evans as raging like a hurricane — the sky pitch black, devoid of stars and lightning darning the horizon from angry clouds.
Her descriptions take you right there — in great detail. Here we have a good book to meditate upon during Lent: Lightning sprawling in “phantasmal designs,” the wind causing waves and spray to cover the beards of Simon and Jesus, Mary sheltered by His arm.
Meanwhile, Simon’s ship was forced farther and farther from shore.
Thunder rolling through “heaven’s canyons.”
Suffice it to say (and Evans relates) that it was like “the end of the world.”
Yet Jesus was calm and directed Simon to return to his ship.
Onboard, the crew clung frantically to the rails.
Oars and sails were useless.
There were “tidal-like waves.” These meditations are meant to bring us emotionally, not factually, to scenes from His Life.
Simon, who had gone to a hill in order to spot the boat, shouted, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” He had lost sight of the Master and was concerned about Jesus and Mary finding shelter. There was no answer. He hurried to lakeside. Once there, he shuddered at the water’s unrest. It was a holocaust — the water — of rising mountains and deep valleys, “all filled with heinous shadows and rumbling moans.”
Yet, as instructed, Simon waded and then swam to the ship despite the terrifying risk — Evans leads us to believe — and was helped aboard, where he assumed the helm as the storm grew yet worse.
“Jesus, save us!” the frantic men shouted. Simon had taken the helm, needing all his strength and skill as a navigator to bring the ship under control.
Simon reminded them to pray and tried to calm them.
“Through the prayer of silence he believed Jesus would hear and help them, for he knew the Master could calm the storm because he had watched him silence other storms, both on sea and on land.
“As the men prayed silently, they were caught up into the great phenomena of rapture according to different degrees of grace.
“Into the delights of their ecstatic sleep they felt God’s protecting Love flood through their souls.
“Suddenly, all was calm — both human hearts, and the lake,” wrote Evans for our discernment. “The sounds of the buffeting waves and the howling wind were now reverberations of Heaven’s music piercing their souls. As their united senses listened, they were lulled higher and higher into the state of fearlessness where all is love.”
[resources: Refugee From Heaven]