"What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul." Mt 10: 27-28
Fear is an incredible motivator. Threatened with losing our life or reputation, we might do anything. Some run away; others start a fight. Jesus asks us to transform our fear into action for good. Recognizing how natural it is to be afraid when faced with doing something new or agitating to others, we ask for the grace to discern how best to speak and live the gospel despite the consequences.
The saints have always done this. Francis of Assisi, afraid of lepers and his father, avoided them both for a long time. Only when Francis, led by grace, got of his horse (literally and figuratively) to kiss a leper did his fear turn into something new. In his Testament he writes, "what before seemed bitter was turned into sweetness of body and soul." Unfortunately, he was less successful with his father. Rejecting his father's life and lifestyle by stripping naked in front of him and the bishop of Assisi, there is little evidence that Francis ever really reconciled with his father.
Trying to avoid fear or deny it will never be a successful strategy in the long run. Either we confront our fears in an effort to discover where they might be leading us in faith, or we are haunted by them our entire lives. Jesus gives us an option by promising always to be with us, but it is up to us to accept his help and trust that the result will be for the good of all.
Today, face one fear and see where it leads.
What fears most immobilize you?