Be Not Afraid

As a Bible Christian I memorized a verse from the New Testament: “God has not given us the Spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

The older I get and the longer I work with people the more I have come to understand how fear is at the root of all our problems. It is part of our human condition that at a very profound level we experience a kind of existential fear. It is down deep at the most fundamental level of our experience. There, before we had language, before we had rational thought, before we had self awareness–we experienced fear.

What was this fear? The fear of an infant in the dark. The fear of being left alone. The fear and bewilderment in the face of hunger and pain. The primal experience is emotional, not rational, and the primal experience is one of fear. From this fear comes all the negativities that trouble out life.

Are you angry? Beneath the anger is fear. Are you depressed? Beneath the depression is anger and beneath the anger is fear. Are you addicted? That’s a response to fear. It is the flight from fear and the search for comfort. Do you struggle with lust? Beneath that is fear–the fear of being alone and unloved. Are you greedy? The riches you crave are a false solution. You think they will bring you security which will protect you from the fear. Do you have low self esteem? Beneath that is fear. Are you proud and arrogant? That is a compensation–a substitute for the true security you crave which will answer the gnawing fear at the deepest level. Read more.


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  • S.

    I am in a deep despair and fear right now. I don’t trust God right now. I will attempt to call on the Holy Spirit for healing. My goal is to make it through the night until the person I have called for help will arrive. I thank you for your post.

  • JRP

    Our time calls us, urges us, obliges us to gaze on the Lord and immerse ourselves in humble and devout meditation on the mystery of the supreme power of Christ himself.
    “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16). These words were spoken by Simon, son of Jonah, in the district of Caesarea Philippi. Yes, he spoke them with his own tongue, with a deeply lived and experienced conviction—but it is not in him that they find their source, their origin: “…because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven” (Mt 16:17). They were the words of Faith.

    The absolute and yet sweet and gentle power of the Lord responds to the whole depths of the human person, to his loftiest aspirations of intellect, will and heart. It does not speak the language of force but expresses itself in charity and truth.

    Christ, make me become and remain the servant of your unique power, the servant of your sweet power, the servant of your power that knows no eventide. Make me be a servant.

    … do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. Help the Pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and with Christ’s power to serve the human person and the whole of mankind. Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows “what is in man”. He alone knows it.

    St. Peter’s Square
    Sunday, 22 October 1978

    I remember hearing the story of a priest who, when asked for advice on how to avoid future sin, encouraged his listeners to dig a ditch and lie in it for a few hours while contemplating eternity. Whenever I tell this little tale, the response it provokes is more often a fit of laughter than a trip to the tool shed in search of a shovel. And rightfully so, the story is meant as a joke. (Although, I understand that at least one man was given the ditch-digging exercise as a penance). That aside, while lying in a ditch may seem impractical and excessive, it does at least point to a valuable lesson: Keeping eternity in view can be a helpful aid to maintaining a proper perspective toward life on earth.——-by Br. Thomas More Garrett, O.P.

  • Elizabeth K.

    S.–I am praying for you right now. I have been where you are–hold on to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit–they will not fail you. I will continue to pray for you.

  • Dr. Eric

    Hold on.

    Be assured of my prayers and the many of those who have read your post.

    I offer my prayers for your comfort. May God send you consolation.

  • Shadowlands

    Good stuff Father D, strong medicine for sick times!

    S. -
    “whoever calls upon the Lord(which you have) SHALL be saved!” (Rom 10:13)

  • Doug Sirman

    We fear because we have learned to fear. We learn it from living. We fear abandonment because we have been abandoned, loneliness because we have been lonely, suffering because we have suffered. We know these things are to be feared from our previous experiences of them. Yes, we can call on God in the midst of them, and He may or may not answer. (BTW, please don’t tell the lie that silence is God saying “No,” or “Wait.” Silence is God saying *nothing at all.*) Our reactions to life’s lessons are entirely justified. The someday promises of a someday god are fine for someday; but of what worth are they today? When the predator crouches, when the treatment fails, when the Mother drags her screaming child’s hand toward the stove once again, do not the promises of the Someday God prove their real worth? Yes, Jesus has overcome the world, but that too is just another “someday” promise. And if relief finally comes, (if!) is it not poisoned by the reality of the past, fixed and unchangeable? The worst fear is that you will be forsaken. The lived experience to many is the lesson that you ARE. How do we open ourselves to the promises of God when our experience teaches the seemingly irrefutable lesson that He cannot be trusted?

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Read the Book of Job.

  • doughboy

    right on.