“Fear not because God is with you.” St. Padre Pio
One night some time ago, I received a call in the middle of the night from a friend who had brought her young daughter to the hospital. She had multiple issues with her health and her mom needed a ride home. I went with a small group of friends to pick her up. It was a quiet scene at the hospital and even quieter on the ride home. Fear seemed to have pervaded the air. Incidents such as these make us think about what our next move might be when we are paralyzed by fear. Sometimes we are unable to move but we must take one step forward. It was a similar situation when we were awaiting news if my dad was going to live or die while he was in the hospital. I waited for that phone to ring all day. It didn’t and he was okay and thriving now.
Ste. Therese of Lisieux said, “Your soul is called to raise itself to God by the elevator of love and not climb the rough stairway of fear.”
We cannot allow ourselves to freeze by what might or could happen. This does not come from God. Self-doubt, evil and suspicion lurk around us, and we cannot allow any of these to control our lives. We need to continue to trust and allow God to be part of our lives. He wants to help, and heaven is waiting to be asked. But God is not some sort of crutch that we need and then discard him once we are okay.
“I fear nothing for God is with me.” St. Joan of Arc
Some great saints must have suffered dearly for their faith. Torture and threats were rampant in many places where the Church thrived. Outside forces do not want to see the Church succeed but we love our Church, and we must never be afraid. These human emotions are part of us for sure, but they cannot be the centre of our lives. Christ is the centre of our lives – always.
“We must often feel weary and tired, yet God brings us through all these things.” St. Mary Mackillop
I was on a flight once and the weather was turbulent. I fly often but I am not a good flyer. I get nervous all the time. A rough flight makes me shake so I always fly with my rosary. This flight was especially difficult, and I could see the dark storm clouds beneath me. Even the attendants noticed how stressed I was, and they came to sit near me and talked to me until we landed. I appreciated that very much, but I need to put my trust in God not man. Of course, it was a gesture of kindness on the part of the attendants, but I also know that I need to submit to God’s will.
Life is not easy. We cannot reduce our fears to sentimentalism and cliches and think they will all simply melt away. We need to stand firm knowing that Christ is there. I enjoy the scene when the Apostles were in the boat and the waves were getting rough. They cried out, “Lord, we are going down!” I am sure Christ knows how deep the water is. When I was a child, I was desperately afraid of water and swimming. We owned a cottage and boating was out of the question for me. My family tried many ways to help me overcome my fear. Even swimming lessons didn’t help. But, at one point, at a cousin’s house, I was standing near their pool in the backyard. Watching everyone else have fun was not fun for me. My cousin surreptitiously came up behind me and pushed me into the pool. I could swim finally. I was no longer afraid. We need to pay attention to our surroundings and know that coincidences do not exist because for the believer, there is no such thing.
“In all your trials, arm yourself with faith, confidence in God and deep humility of heart. Fear nothing.” St. Paul of the Cross
Sometimes I lament a lot that I have been put through the wringer often. I had a great friend who reminded me that maybe I do not know what real suffering is since I complain so much. That quote stuck with me always. I do not see that cousin from the pool incident so much anymore and that friend who told me to stop complaining has faded into memory now. However, what they have done for me is always at the front of my mind. I was quite alone at one point when I did the pilgrimage to Santiago, and it was only myself in front of the Infinite. Those moments of solitude and silence are the moments that the Lord can finally get through to us. He must try so hard to remind us that he asks for our trust. I do not want to be reluctant to give him that trust. Maybe we need to count our blessings instead of our fears. My friends in the Carmelite cloister reminded me of this on my last visit.
“Let nothing perturb you; let nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything.” St. Teresa of Avila