The monster lives below, far below the world. But he comes up, unbidden, out of control, to spread his misery, to wreak destruction in the world; because he sees the world through a lens—he curses from the mountaintop--of bitterness and contempt. Like John Gardner’s “Grendel,” the monster turns a nasty face at the sky, “mournfully observing the way it is, bitterly remembering the way it was, and idiotically casting tomorrows’ nets.” How does one avoid becoming a monstrosity of resentment? A creature wandering the earth, devoid of meaning? What can it mean to “cast tomorrows’ nets?” Where do you cast your nets? The net cast into the world, into the unknown, attempts to capture life. A net encapsulates--it gets-- the life one knows is out there but remains elusive. To cast nets is to gaze at one’s world in a certain way; to extract out of the complexity, something understandable, something of value, something with meaning. It is the frame through which one perceives their experience. Whatever height or depth extends beyond one’s reach; whatever glittering tininess slips between one’s fingers; whatever behemoth dwarfs one’s grasp; a net is cast—to grab. What one gathers in his net; what one finally extracts; is the meaning—the sustenance—that lay hidden below the surface. When reason becomes superordinate; when the arrogance of “what I already know” stops one from listening; when what is objectively seen is all that there is to see—the caster will find his nets returning empty—nets cast in all the wrong directions, cast too far; searching for meaning in places and at times where none exists—leaving only anxious unsatisfaction. Faith is much the same; it is a way of seeing properly—casting properly. Faith is understanding that what is seen is not made out of what is visible—that meaning lay behind, beneath, and within; for one willing to cast his nets into the water again; but this time, listening to the voice from shore; from a small, indistinct figure saying, “I know you’re tired. I know you’re frustrated at the nothingness you’ve found. But, friend, look! The sun is rising, cast your nets one more time, and trust me.” At the end of John the gospel writer’s book of miracles—he records one last miracle. This one was for Peter. The fisherman—a net caster. The final passage of John’s book opens at night. Peter, still broken by the memory of watching himself do exactly what he thought he would never do--become precisely the thing he proclaimed he would never be, stands on the shore looking across a dark sea. He has lost his world. I will never betray you…I will never deny you…I will defend you to the death… Empty words. Meaningless. Peter, the first to see inside the empty tomb, watched as Jesus revealed himself to the others after his suffering and death: to his feeble chickens hiding in their roost, to the doubter…but Peter, somehow there and not there, somehow watching, but not part; watching Thomas touch the flesh of Jesus—seeing Thomas the doubter believe. Yet, here stands Simon Peter, a man of two names—or no names--a man back where he started, with nothing, in search of something—what? “I am leaving. I am dying. I am going under. It is all the same. I am a fisher; I am a vessel on a dark sea. So, I am going fishing.” Peter casts his nets. Peter’s hauls in his nets. Empty. As empty as his view of the world. Throwing his net out into the darkness, letting it sink below the surface; he tries to catch, tries to find, life--searching. Wrong. Nothing. Wrong again. Maybe everything he’s ever done or thought or believed is wrong. At the coming of dawn, he still has nothing. Then, from the shore: “I have the bread over here, childling, waiting for the relish of fish. Do you have any? No? Then you’ve been casting your nets on the wrong side. It’s why nothing works; and when the sun rises, you are unfulfilled. It’s why you can’t find what you seek. Now, listen to my voice and actually do it just the way, and at just the moment I tell you; and I will show you that what you have been searching for, is right below the surface of the world around you. Right where you have been toiling all night.” Peter hears the voice from shore. He relents to it. He does the exact opposite of what he had been doing. He casts in a different way. The net—now let go, now searching—cast deep with possibility, and impossibility, in the unknown. He pulls the flaxen rope, he draws it closer, the fibers suddenly taut with the weight of what might be. The water churns and writhes with life. Here come the fish, boiling up, cresting the surface, the net filled, stretched, but holding—holding still. He hears another voice, close-by, “It is the Lord, that you heard.” Peter turns toward the shore, and jumps. In the final paragraphs of his gospel, John tells of Jesus giving Peter the antidote to his emptiness on this same shore: “Loving me is not saving me. Loving me is not lashing out with your sword to defend me. Loving me is not protecting me from suffering. Loving me is not telling me of your devotion. Loving me is taking responsibility for the whole world. Follow me.” Following Jesus with arms open wide in acceptance of one’s vulnerability, finally letting go of where “I want” to go, one finds something. He finds his world is teeming with people—he finds that to share himself, to raise up the naked and bloody truth, to listen, to die, to accept responsibility for the destiny of others is full of meaning. Seeing with new eyes, one discovers people are not tools to use, or obstacles to remove; at home, they—his family-- are not subjects to rule. They, like himself, are hungry. They, like himself, are sheep—needing to be fed--starving for the healing, life-giving sustenance of bread and fish. Together, others and himself—ingest Jesus and meaning. Over burning embers, under a rising sun, they satisfy. They transform.