I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Have you seen this fish symbol on a bumper sticker? This Christian symbol is a Greek acrostic for the phrase JESUS CHRIST, GOD'S SON, SAVIOR, the initial letters of which spell ΙΧΘΥΣ (ICHTHYS), which means fish. Early Christians used this fish symbol because they originally met in secret. They faced persecution and could easily identify each other with the fish symbol which affirmed they had faith in Jesus.
Fish were one of the earliest and most widely used Christian symbols. These fish symbols may have marked places of worship. The New Testament is brimming with fish references as the disciples are called to fish for people, the miraculous catches of fish, the multiplying of the fish and loaves, numerous fishing examples from Jesus, as well as Jesus’ reference to the sign of Jonah which symbolizes Jesus’ resurrection.
There is a lovely prayer written in the 13th century that imagines Christians as little fishes. It was written by Umilta of Faenza, “Saint Humility.” She was a strong, versatile Italian nun and anchoress who faced tremendous difficulties with grace as prayer raised her spirits. We can find comfort in her prayer in the 21st century as we see that even in the 13th century, life seemed to be a troubled sea full of storms. This prayer is a poetic reminder that we can do all things through Christ without fear. I invite you to meditate upon this prayer of wisdom for strength in the month ahead as we face tumultuous times.
May the prayer of Saint Humility bring you peace:
O Jesus, gentle love, “I’m like a fish resting in the ocean. The waves rush over the little fish, and the great storms buffet; but this fish goes on swimming, knowing capture is impossible, and the storms just make this fish leap with more agility.” “That’s what I do in this world that is a troubled sea. The great currents arrive, and I sail below them. I take shelter in You, God, and let them pass by. Then my soul finds wings in the arms of Christ on the cross, and I rush up, Jesus, into Your protection and saving grace.” “When I stop and remember that I’m with You, I don’t fear the currents. I conquer them by navigating through them to Your peace.”
ICHTHYS, Pastor Andrea