By Joseph J. Mazzella • August 11, 2015
I was a young boy sitting on a big rock by a river with a pole in my hands. My Dad was next to me trying to show me the fine art of fishing. Being an impatient boy I wasn't a very good student. I hated just sitting there and longed to be playing ball or riding my bike. After a few more attempts my Dad finally gave up and let me go play so he could fish in peace.
It wasn't until I was older that I finally began to appreciate fishing. It was a way to escape the stress and strain of daily life. It was a way to be quite and peaceful. It was a way to sit in solitude and enjoy the beauty of nature and the love of God that was all around us. When I had my own children I took them fishing a few times, but my sons' Autism made it too hard for them to be quiet and sit still. We soon gave up fishing and instead found our peace walking around the local lake while others fished it
As a boy I was often puzzled by the part of the Bible where Jesus told his disciples that he would make them "fishers of men." I thought, "How can anyone fish men?" As I got older, however, I began to understand. You can't catch fish or men by screaming and shouting. That only scares the fish and men away. Instead you have to ready your nets and cast off your boat quietly. You have to set your line peacefully and patiently. You have to dangle the bait of God's unconditional love to all the hungry souls out there. You have to joyfully cast your net of love and truth and let them come to it.
Perhaps it is best if all of us fishermen follow the advice of Mark Twain and "so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." For it is by living a life of love that we catch the hearts of others. And it is by sharing our peace, joy, and kindness that we become the "fishers of men" that Jesus called us to be.
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