THAT GOSPEL episode of Christ walking on the water should remind us that God can intervene in our life in some mysterious and extraordinary way. (cfr. Mt 14,22-33) In other words, he can surprise us, he can come to us when we are not expecting him.
We somehow should be ready for this eventuality, although we should rather prefer that God comes to us in the usual ordinary ways—through the sacraments, doctrine of our faith, the usual events in our life, etc.
I say that we should prefer the ordinary ways because the extraordinary ways can also be pulled by evil spirits who can also appear to us, as St. Paul warned us, as angels of light. (cfr. 2 Cor 11,14) Thus, we have to be very discerning.
In any case, if it is truly God who pulls a surprise on us, he would normally tell us to remain calm and to reassure us that it is him who is doing so. This happened in that gospel episode of Christ walking on the water. Christ told his disciples, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Otherwise, if it is not God or any saint who is doing these extraordinary interventions, we would usually be led to some tense reaction, kind of disabling us to think and behave properly.
Also, we have to remember that the evil spirits can do nothing on us without the permission of God. And if God permits them, it is because a greater good can come out of them. The important thing to do is not to lose our faith in God. If we ever err in our judgments and discernment, but done in good faith, we can be sure that God will do everything to correct things for us.
The Book of Ezekiel mentions these reassuring words of God: “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.” (33,11)
We should learn the skill of determining the kind of spirit that is involved in these extraordinary events in our life. St. John was explicit as to which spirit is proper to us. “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already.” (1 Jn 4,2-3)
St. Paul distinguished between the fruits of the Spirit of God and the works of the flesh dominated by the evil spirit. The former include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (cfr Gal 5,22-23)
The latter include fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing. (cfr Gal 5,19-21) We would somehow know the kind of spirit we have by the kind of thoughts, desires and loves we have. If we look more closely at how our consciousness works, what its usual contents are, what we are most aware of, we would have an idea of the kind of spirit we have. All we have to do is to see if our thoughts, desires and loves are those of the fruits of the spirit or the fruits of the flesh. By Fr. Roy Cimagala (EV Mail July 31-August 6, 2023 issue)