Today I’d like to talk about “The But Prayer.” The But Prayer is what we hear from Simon Peter. Simon Peter has been out fishing all night with his brothers and the disciples, and they’re exhausted. They’re putting everything away, washing their nets and cleaning everything up.
Jesus comes to them and says, “Put out to a short distance.” They said, “Alright, we’ll go out a little bit with you.” They go out, and Jesus teaches. He said to them, “Alright, now let’s go fishing. Let’s go out deeper.” Simon Peter says to him, “Lord, we’ve worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command, we will do your will.”
They go out, and they catch all of these fish. At the end of the Gospel, Jesus says to him, “Simon Peter, do not be afraid, for now you will be called fishers of men.” When they brought their nets to the shore, they left everything and followed Him.
So, now we are going to talk about The But Prayer. The But Prayer really is being honest with God. It’s saying to God, “I really don’t want to do this thing you’re asking me to do. I don’t want to do it, but if it’s your will, I will do it.”
It might even be coming to Mass sometimes. “Lord, I really don’t want to go to Mass right now, but because it is your will, I will do it.” At one point in your life, God is going to call each one of you to something amazing, and that’s going to require leaving everything and following him.
There will probably be some things in your life that you don’t want to do, or that you don’t feel you can do, but if you leave everything and follow him, you will work miracles.
He’s calling each and every one of you to a vocation in life. He’s called all of us, first of all, to be holy, but he is also calling us to one of the four primary vocations. I just want you to think about that for yourself. What is God calling you to in this life?
For some of you that will mean marriage. So for some of you, it will actually be entering into this life-long commitment through sickness and in health with another person. For some of you, he may be calling you to the priesthood. He may be calling you to give your life entirely to him as a priest.
And there might be that thought, “I don’t know if I want to do it. But, if that’s what you’re calling me to, Lord, I’ll take that step out into the deep.” Some of you may be called to religious life, and in that religious life, you leave the world behind. You literally leave everything behind and follow him on the road of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
You might think, “I don’t know if I can live without this or that God, but if it’s your will, I will do it.” Some of you may be called to lead a single life, to be solely dedicated to him on this earth. You might not want to do that. But, if you do his will, there will be an abundance of fruit.
I think it’s good that we all pray The But Prayer. There are times in our life when God is calling to us, and we really have to admit, “God, I don’t know if I want to do this. I don’t know if I can do this, but if it’s your command, I will.
I just invite you to ponder those bigger questions in our lives because sometimes we only have that opportunity once when the Lord invites us into something, and we have a tendency not to want to do it.
That’s why The But Prayer is so important. During this prayer, we acknowledge what we’re feeling and that we desire to do his will. Simon Peter complained, “Master, we’ve been working hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command, I will lower the nets.”
It’s so important that we know this But Prayer, too, and that we’re willing to insert it after anything when we find ourselves not wanting to do his will. “God, I don’t want to do this, but at your command, I will.” I invite you to pray The But Prayer.