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Lenten reflection: Asking God to “Be My Captain” with Jacob Rudd

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J-P Mauro - published on 04/03/22

"Somewhere in between the storms and the calm, my flesh was weak but my spirit was made strong."

Our Lenten observances are sailing towards Holy Week, as we enter the 5th week of Lent. This is about the time when Christ began directing his steps towards Jerusalem for his triumphant entry on Palm Sunday. Similarly, now the faithful will start to steer our ships towards the final stretch of the reflective journeys. 

This week brings to mind a beautifully poetic song by Catholic artist Jacob Rudd, “Be My Captain.” The song reflects on the necessity of calling upon God to guide us in the same way a crew would look to its captain. Rudd effortlessly blends this sentiment with a heartfelt melody that continues to build towards an inspiring outro. 

When preparing for a long 40-day voyage, it is essential for a crew to know and trust their captain. He holds a pivotal position on any ship, and not just as a source of commands. Captains are imbued with wisdom on the perils of sea travel. They are responsible for the lives of every sailor, for the proper maintenance of the vessel, and for protecting the precious cargo it bears. On top of all that it is the captain’s duty to hold the crew together, even when the storms threaten to sink the ship into the briny deep. 

Jacob sat down with Aleteia to discuss “Be My Captain” and explained how our Lenten voyages can be made more fulfilling when we ask God to guide our ships. 

Aletiea: What does it mean to claim Christ as our Captain, and what does it require to be a faithful member of a crew?

Jacob Rudd: I think it begins by casting off the mainstream idea that you are in charge and control of your life. Are we willing to let Jesus lead us? Are we willing to follow His rules and directions? Or do we want to throw Him off the ship because His ways are too hard and His teachings too restrictive? 

I think it takes humility, trust, and self-denial to have Jesus as our Captain. We put our lives in His hands and we trust that He will lead us safely home. My son at home loves pretending to be a pirate and making his siblings walk the plank (and has gotten in trouble for pushing his sibling off the couch, haha). But seriously, don’t let the flesh, the devil, and the world conspire in your soul to push Jesus out.

In the tune you sing “My flesh was weak but my spirit was made strong.” What are some methods for improving upon one’s spiritual strength?

I believe praying to the Holy Spirit every day is a must. I do a short prayer each day: “Holy Spirit, help me to be obedient to Your every prompting, set me on fire with love for Jesus.” Throughout the day, just praying “Come, Holy Spirit” sporadically can be very helpful.

I also think learning and reflecting from past mistakes is key. HALT is a good acronym: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. During these moments, it is easier to give in to the weakness of our flesh. Be on guard during those times! Know yourself and prepare. 

It can be the same with certain moments and situations. Our emotions and senses are off and it is easy to lose wisdom. We think of only the present moment. We are like Esau ready to give up our birthright for a bowl of soup. Don’t be like Esau! Yes, that story speaks to me a lot since my name is Jacob.

“Be My Captain” speaks to a feeling of hopelessness in life, which becomes alleviated through a proclamation of faith. It can be a natural reaction to turn to God when the storm rages and the ship may capsize, but how might we better maintain focus on Christ when the waters are calm?

In the calm waters, I think it is very pleasing to God to give thanks for all of your blessings. For me, I have so much to be thankful for. I have a beautiful family … My work is to create music … God has been providing for me through this work … I have relatively good health… For friends and family, etc. 

So be aware that all is a gift from God. When we are in good health and all is well we need to let our lights shine! Let us use our gifts and energy to do something beautiful for God and those in need.

Also, it is important to remember that when you are in spiritual consolation or just feeling like everything is going well in life, know that it is not going to last forever. Desolations will come. Bad things or news will happen. So prepare yourself. Secondly, during the desolations or bad news, remember that these are not permanent, but consolations and good things are soon to come.

May God bless you and give you peace! Thanks for reading and checking out my music!

Hear more of Jacob Rudd’s exceptional Catholic music at Spotify.

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