Fear is the absence of love. Yeah I know, it sounds a bit harsh and maybe unforgiving at first, but if you stop to think about it you might realize that fear only drives us away from things that make us come alive.
Perhaps I should rephrase that and say that “giving in to fear is to reject love.” All people fear. This is a natural inclination we all have for situations that make us uncomfortable. Because, we like to be comfortable. We like sailing on smooth waters and we like to know what is coming around the next bend. But what if God was calling us to more? What if the rough and treacherous rapids were where our truest selves could be realized? These have been my thoughts of late.
True faith calls us to action. It is in the moments when we are tempted to doubt or give in to our fears that we must heed the call to a higher aim. Life is a terrifying journey, if we continue to live it within our safe little bubbles of security. Letting go of the little things we hold onto that keep us “safe” is the only way to grow in the virtue of love. Only then will the journey become something incredibly beautiful and epic.
If we pause to think of the Virgin Mary and her fiat we may begin to understand what it means to let go of fear and choose to receive God’s instruction. When greeted by the angle, Mary was “troubled” by the vision, wondering what it meant. But Gabriel reassures her that with God she has found favor and therefore she should “not be afraid”. (Luke 1: 26-38) Mary then returns with a humble reply that changes the course of history for all mankind:
“Behold the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done unto me according to your word.” ~Luke 1:38
These are the words of faith triumphing over fear. Mary responds in faith where previously there had been suspicion and trepidation. She did not stop at the troubled feelings. She listened to the words of Gabriel and believed them. Through her openness to God’s divine will, heaven was brought to earth! One active “yes” to the Lord’s desire for her, in spite of uncertainty and potential public humiliation, gave birth to the redemption of mankind!
This too, is our destiny, if we choose to accept it. We are all called to be gloriously open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our lives. What beautiful occasions of producing life are we passing up by denying those moments when the Spirit directs us towards something? It may be as simple as walking over and talking to the person in our group who doesn’t seem to know anybody. Or saying “yes” when asked to help out in a volunteer project even if you feel like you have little to offer. Little moments like these, when fear tempts us to close up, are the opportunities we have to shine all the brighter with the light of Christ.
We are called to be like Mary and trust that what the Lord has said to us will be fulfilled.
“Peace I leave you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” ~John 14:27
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”~ 2 Timothy 1:7
It is up to us to discern in those moments of fear what God is calling us to do. Listen to the voice within. The Spirit is whispering to us all of the time. All we must do, is listen and heed him.
Be strong. Be open. And dare to say “yes” to God’s invitation.