Out into the Deep with the Saints

November 2011 — Vol. 1, Issue 1

Fr. Jim Gallagher, C.S.C.


“Duc in altum.”  “Put out into the deep.” Jesus spoke these words to Simon Peter, encouraging him to cast the nets once more after a fruitless night fishing. Simon Peter’s trust and willingness to respond bore great fruit. We now offer these same words to you to encourage you in your discernment. 

As the story unfolds in Chapter 5 of the Gospel of St. Luke, Simon Peter followed the command of Christ and netted more fish than he could manage on his own. Following this great catch, an even greater invitation came: “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”

The first invitation required Simon Peter to take a chance on the fishing advice of Christ. He was willing to step into the unknown and trust Jesus. The second command, although coming in light of the miraculous catch, required Simon Peter to take an even greater step into the unknown and place even more trust in Jesus. He did not know where following Christ would lead him, but he did know that Jesus was capable of great things.

Fr. Drew and I have decided to offer this monthly e-newsletter because we realize that the process of discerning your vocation can be difficult in the midst of a busy life. In this e-newsletter, we will share with you short reflections to help you deepen your discernment.  We will also give you information on upcoming opportunities and point you to other vocational resources.

We have given this e-newsletter the name Duc in Altum because the nature of Christ’s invitation to each of us is similar to the invitation Simon Peter received in that boat so many years ago.

It is an invitation to step out into the unknown. Following that invitation requires the same willingness to trust in Jesus as well as the same boldness to step forward despite not knowing where He will lead us.

Initially, there may not have been much on which Simon Peter could base his trust in Jesus’ fishing advice. Yet we do have a good bit on which to base our own trust. On today’s Feast of All Saints, we recognize that we have the witness of the lives of countless saints to show us that the Lord does amazing things with those who put their trust in Him. Each of these saints was given a similar invitation to trust in the Lord and step into the unknown. Each of them was held firmly in the palm of the Lord’s hand while following His invitation. 

If you find your trust in the Lord lacking, especially after what seems like fruitless days and nights of discernment, take heart in the witness of Peter, James, John, and the other Apostles. Take heart in the witness of the countless saints we celebrate this day. Pick up a book on the lives of the saints and notice how they were not abandoned by the Lord. Look back on your own life and notice how you as well were not abandoned when you took risks in following the Lord. See that the Lord is worthy of your trust.

Together with the saints who have gone before us, we can place our trust in the Lord, “put out into the deep,” and follow Christ into the unknown.

Prayer from the Tradition



Lead, Kindly Light
Blessed John Henry Newman
Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on! 
The night is dark, and I am far from home, 
Lead Thou me on! 
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see 
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou 
Shouldst lead me on; 
I loved to choose and see my path; but now 
Lead Thou me on! 
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears, 
Pride ruled my will: Remember not past years!
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still 
Will lead me on, 
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till 
The night is gone, 
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!
Meantime, along the narrow rugged path,
Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Savior, lead me home in childlike faith,
Home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life.

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