About the Holy Card
“St. Peter Attempting to Walk on Water” (“Saint Pierre tentant de marcher sur les eaux” in French) is on display at Versailles Cathedral outside Paris, France. The work of oil on canvas was painted in 1766 by the renowned Rococo artist François Boucher.
A native of Paris, Boucher (1703-1770) is known for his idyllic and voluptuous paintings on classical themes, decorative allegories and pastoral scenes. He took inspiration from artists like Peter Paul Rubens. He was perhaps the most celebrated French painter and decorative artist of the 18th century.
This image depicts the miraculous event in the Gospel of Matthew (14:22-33) when the apostles were out on the Sea of Galilee:
22 Then he made the disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. 24 Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. 25 During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. 27 At once [Jesus] spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I;do not be afraid.” 28 Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw how [strong] the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 After they got into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”Matthew 14:22-33
The takeaways for us as Christians?
• Make room for God: Jesus sent the disciples away so that He could go alone to the mountainside and pray. Even with His busy schedule, Jesus made spending time with God the Father a top priority. We too must set aside time for God.
• The Lord is with us in difficult times: Even though the disciples had been with Jesus for a long time, they didn’t recognize Him as he approached in the storm. The story reminds us that we may not recognize the Lord when He comes in the middle of our own personal storms.
• Stay focused on Jesus: Peter did not begin to sink until he started looking around at the wind and the waves. When we take our eyes off Jesus and focus on our difficult circumstances, we may begin to sink under the weight of our problems. If we cry out to Jesus in faith, He will catch us by the hand and raise us above seemingly impossible surroundings.
• Keep the faith even when you fall: When he left the boat, Peter started out with good intentions, but his faith faltered. Nevertheless, his leap of faith did not end in failure. Even in his fear, he cried out to the Lord, knowing that Jesus was the only one who could help him. Peter’s experience reminds us that a lapse of faith is merely a lapse and that the Lord is still there for us when we call for Him.
• Weather the storm with Jesus: When Jesus climbed into the boat, the storm ceased. We can rest assured that when we have Jesus in our boat, He will calm the stormy waters of life.
— Adapted from Dotdash Meredith’s Learn Religions
You must be logged in to post a comment.