Water Turned into Wine

By this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them.
The story of the storm-tossed apostles could well describe the situation of Gabriela, a woman we recently met in our Visitation Mission. She was newly arrived in the US when she found herself pregnant and being threatened by the father of her child for refusing to have an abortion. She was scared and alone in a foreign land, where she knew no one and couldn’t speak the language.

Early in the morning He came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.
When facing the unknown, we sometimes feel frozen by fear. Although we sense that Jesus is present, we cannot see where He is leading and we are tempted to draw back instead of running forward. Gabriela was no exception. Although she knew she had to get away from her baby’s father, she kept hoping he would change his mind that somehow things would work out.

Peter said to him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” He said, “Come.”
This is where our Co-Workers of Life enter the story. Penny was a brand new Co-Worker who had some extra space in the apartment where she lived with her roommates. She had offered to be a short-term Holy Respite for a pregnant woman in need and we asked if she would be willing to invite Gabriela into her home for a few weeks. But answering the Lord’s call to “go in haste” can sometimes require stepping out in faith just like the woman whom a Co-Worker desires to serve. Penny was naturally nervous about inviting a stranger into her home, wondering if she would say the right things and if Gabriela would feel comfortable living there. It was with trepidation the Penny said “Yes”.

So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus.
Like St. Peter, Gabriela and Penny were able to put their trust in the Lord and step out into the wind and the waves. Michael, another Co-Worker of Life, assisted Gabriela in a clandestine escape from where she had been living with the father of the baby and she made it safely to her first stop at the home of Irma, one of our volunteers. In the meantime, other generous Co-Workers delivered a donated bed to Penny’s apartment and now Gabriela was ready to move in.

But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
In the midst of the transition, feeling unsettled and tossed about in the wind, Gabriela began to wonder if she had made a mistake. Her ex-boyfriend begged her to come back, assuring her that he had changed. Gabriela was tempted to believe him. But after staying with Penny for just a week, Gabriela began to see things in a whole new light.

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. (Mt 14:24-32)
Penny and her friends lavished love and attention on Gabriela. They went on outings, took photos, and just spent time together. Experiencing the authentic love of Penny and her roommates, Gabriela knew that God’s plan for her was so much better than she had thought possible. She told us, “I am abandoning myself and my baby into God’s hands. I give thanks to God for giving me the light to choose the path to follow Him.”

When we take a risk and step out of the boat, God is able to work marvels in our lives. Especially when it seems that God is asking us to step beyond our “comfort-zone”, we need only follow the advice of our Blessed Mother: “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5). Gabriela later moved into a more permanent housing situation and thanks to her courage and Penny’s “Yes”, her life is moving in a whole new direction. This is the fruit that comes from stepping out in trust. Looking back, Gabriela described the transformation she had experienced in these words: “I feel like my life is water changed into wine.”

Lord, we ask that you would give us the courage do Your Will in those times when we are most afraid. Give us the light to choose the path to follow You. When fear threatens to sink us, reach out Your hand and save us. May we step out in faith every day, in the big things and in the small decisions of daily life. We ask this all through the intercession of your Mother,