Daily Catholic Advent Reflections: Day 9 Fear
One of my favorite verses in Holy Scripture can be read in 1 John 4:18, which says,
“Fear is not in charity: but perfect charity casteth out fear, because fear hath pain. And he that feareth, is not perfected in charity.”
Now this is not to say that fear has no place in a man but in what light does man take in fear that actually assists him? Going back to 1 John 4:18, the Disciple that Jesus loved is confirming the necessity of charity or love that drives out fear. One would naturally think the opposite of fear is courage but the word courage itself is more of a word than a strategy in conquering fear, rather love is the strategy that deadens the sting of fear. So as we continue to regard fear that is to naturally weave in and out of our finite minds, keep charity in mind as the decisive plan for victory over fear.
But again, in what light does man take in fear that actually assists him and what unfortunately of fear that destroys him? What are we “allowed” to fear and continue to avoid worshiping in vain? I ask these questions to call to mind the fears that bind you at this very moment so that you may in secret find the solution, who is Jesus Christ. Shall we legitimately fear things and still claim faith in Him who is always faithful regardless of our inconsistencies? Fear of losing a job or not being able to provide for those we have charge over? Or fear of not meeting others expectations? Indeed fear has its place in our lives as it is a healthy reminder of our boundaries and limits to what may bring ruin if we were to exhaust them. Such as the fear of suicide as this goes against the moral law and traditionally speaking is a grave matter. The fear of hell, while considered imperfect contrition for sin is quite useful indeed to stave oneself away from malignant choices in life. But do we rather fear losing grace or sullying our innocence? Do we fear for the souls of others who, if we do as Christ asks us to, see others on a road to destruction? This isn't pride that we who are so holy and they who are so evil so as to fear for them and not ourselves. Certainly Not! Do also fear for your own soul as you, oh fickle one, are ready to lie, steal if an opportunity presents itself, lust when no one is looking, procrastinate in ones duty in life or not at all, you who are so ready to judge and think nothing of it. What shall you fear? Fear him who can destroy the body and soul. Fear also the perfection of Him who reigns supreme as master, king, and lord of all creation. For as we look at ourselves as though dimly in a mirror we see the inglorious nature of man, deaf, dumb, and blind to most spiritual realities that would have without a doubt solidify our faith if we only had one small glimpse at the face of God while we walked the earth.
What I gather about the plague of fear is not actually concerning spiritual matters but far more carnal reasons. Earthly troubles that are made into mountains while only in truth the size of a mole hill. And so many believe by praying for a desired result will usher in a definitive resolution to your haunting fears. Remember, those of you who fear without consolation, you do not receive because you ask amiss . If it is 'these things' that we are afraid we will not receive, we need only refer to Our Lord Jesus in fully understanding what we must do so that we receive freely,
Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? And which of you by taking thought, can add to his stature by one cubit? And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. And if the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith?
Be not solicitous therefore, saying, What shall we eat: or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore solicitous for tomorrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. - Matthew 6:26-34
So what do you have to fear? Some would quote FDR and say fear itself is to be feared and in some ways that is true. But in reality, it is the lack of charity you ask to be perfected in by God you must concern yourself with. Thanks to St. Paul, we know of the three Theological Virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity, however it is charity that is greatest of them all . But why? How is it that charity towers over faith and hope? Some may argue without faith you cannot be saved, this is true. Others would side with hope as without it you lack zeal in the truth and endurance in all things, and this is true. But charity, my brave ones, is the pillar virtue that outlines, infiltrates, edifies, and purifies your faith and your hope as God IS charity so, therefore, employing true love while satisfying His justice in Dogmatic/Doctrinal truth removes all hindrances from receiving His grace. So that you may receive and not be afraid, pray for the graces to live a life of virtue, to take care in fulfilling even the smallest duties granted to you, offering them up as penance for your sins and others. Turn you fear into something holy and presentable to Him who wipes away all fear because of His great love. Do this, and you will indeed be perfected by charity and fear will flee you!