Calming of the Storm

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Fred O’Brien

Mark 4:35-41 and Matthew 8:23-27


“When it is evening, you say,

‘It will be fair weather; for the sky is red.’

And in the morning,

‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’

You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky,

but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.         Matthew 16:2-3



Handstand 2007 top board Newfoundout


My interest in the sea goes back to my early childhood and has grown ever since.  My father introduced us (my seven brothers, six sisters and I) as children to swimming off the West Coast of Ireland.  From our early childhood we spent time each summer at the seaside resort of Kilkee in west Clare.  My older brother, John, and I joined the Shannon Swimming Club in Limerick City and we competed at swimming galas on rivers, lakes and in the open sea at venues in the province of Munster.  During our time at Kilkee each year, in addition to swimming at various places in and around the bay, we went for walks along the cliffs, rocks and coastline with my parents and maternal grandparents.  On family walks during the day or night we stopped off at various natural amphitheatre shaped rock formations and engaged in story telling, praying the family rosary, singing and delighting in the panoramic view of the sometimes turbulent and, at other times, calm sea.  We became familiar with the moods of the sea, the changing tide times, and the best swimming and diving spots.  I can say with St. Augustine (Bk XXII, Ch XXIV; p. 395) that I saw “the strange alterations in the colour of the sea (as though in several garments), now one green, then another, now blue, then purple – how pleasing a sight sometimes it is to see it rough, and how much more pleasing when it is calm!

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