"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna." Mt 10:28
For most believers Jesus cannot tell us often enough not to be afraid. Deeply conscious of our faults and sins, we need to hear this consoling message over and over in order to have the strength to proclaim the Gospel without fear. Knowing that there those who want to silence or privatize religious conviction in the name of political freedom, we need to remember Jesus' challenge not to let anyone kill our spirits.
There are any number of extraordinary historical examples of this, perhaps none more obvious than the witness of those who gave their lives during the holocaust in service of the truth and the Gospel. Maximilian Kolbe is lauded by dozens of women and men who survived the concentration camps as someone who always exhorted them to live with dignity despite the horrors to which they were subjected and to pray for their persecutors. Insisting that God is good and merciful, St Maximilian would not let those who would eventually kill him take away his love of and trust in God. Learning this lesson in our own lives will help us live the Gospel without fear.
Today, pause a moment to remember that faith promises always to sustain us in Spirit.
Whose willingness to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the Gospel gives you strength to live your faith more fully?