40 Years in America

Catching a Giant Tuna

Kieran O’Neill

On our first day’s fishing we caught a small shark. What was unusual was that the fish was not caught on a hook, but on one of our sinkers, a circular weight. I felt that this was a sign from heaven that we would succeed. The next day, we caught our giant tuna. It was a miracle that, with our simple equipment, we should catch it and beat others with very sophisticated fishing tackle. We couldn’t even have fished another day, because we had no money to buy gas. However, after catching the giant tuna, someone gave us money for gas, and we continued to fish in an effort to win the prize for catching the most fish.

I learned that when everything is going wrong is the time nearest the goal that God is not distant; He is a living reality, close to us, and we meet Him when we are in extremity. I shed many tears during those days -- and experienced rebirth. I realized that our attitude is the most important thing; faith and the determination to win at any cost, to give it whatever it takes, count much more than tackle. And when I think that a finger-sized hook can hold a ten-foot tuna, I know that we can do great things if we have the heart to do so.

You couldn’t imagine the confusion as we played that fish. The sea was rough, the surrounding waters were laced with boats, and it raced around in a desperate effort to escape, crossing lines and tangling them. It took all our effort to play it as it lunged frantically about. Finally we hauled it aboard. It was a tuna, ten feet long and weighing more than one thousand pounds. It was the heaviest and the longest fish caught in the tournament and won us a prize of $23,000.

After the tournament, Father talked with me. He told me to go now and fish for men.

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