“The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
“Do not be afraid” was Mary’s first message after the warm invitation, at La Salette. Obviously, the children were frightened at the backdrop of apparition, ‘the globe of fire’, the appearance at the very site where they met a weeping lady. It was beyond the grasp of children who were just 11 and 15-years-old. Mary sensed the shadow of “fear of humanity” in the children that followed a warm invitation to get closer to God.
In the Biblical narratives, it is a surprise that there are 365 occasions where God is asking us to cast away our fears that is equivalent to one for a day. Timid persons are selected and appointed and elevated as kings, prophets and judges to rule and guide Israel. The coward apostles are anointed and strengthened to lead the Church. In a nutshell, one of the most frequent assurances in scripture is, ‘do not be afraid’, that safeguards our integrity and reinforces our potential.
Saint Josemaría, the founder of Opus Dei, would refer these words, often in Latin form: “Ne timeas!” He used these words to address both his fears and those of the people with whom he came into contact. On one occasion, after a profound experience at Mass, he recounts in his ‘Intimate Notes’ the following: “Normally, in the presence of supernatural events, I am afraid. Afterwards comes the Ne timeas! (Luke 1:30) ‘Do not be afraid: It is I’.”
Fear dampens our fondest hopes; weakens our finest determination, and makes the joys of the present hour seem so empty and unsatisfactory. If we would only pause then and analyze our evil forebodings, how often we would discover of what unsubstantial stuff our fears are made. Mother Mary invited the children to this understanding, by which fear gives way to faith and trust in God.
Do not be afraid? What does it mean for a religious?
How can we overcome this emotion of fear and make it fruitful in our approach as religious? Its launching pad is the response to our vocation; our call determines the fullness of life letting values flourish to its maximum with the help of the One who called us. What is the outcome here? The end result is the bold proclamation of the word of God and life in the gospel values.
unknown poet expresses the following poetic verse,
“If the path I walk seems steep and rugged,
And I must labor long to reach the goal,
There’s always One close by my side to help me;
He brings sweet rest and comfort to my soul.
And from the pages of God’s Book before me,
He speaks the words that all my fears dispel,
And though I do not know the why nor wherefore,
I can be sure that He does all things well.”
St. Pope John Paul II said in his famous quote, “I plead with you, never ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire and never become discouraged. Be not afraid”. Is this feasible in our lives? Yes indeed. This is possible only with the supernatural grace of God knowing deep in our hearts and souls; no matter what we face, no matter what happens our God loves us without measure and wants the best for us. Be not afraid to live knowing that you are always in the arms of God. Be not afraid to live Christ everywhere we go: at home, at work, at school, in the market place and even at church. Be not afraid to show Christ to the world.
As the beautiful catholic Christian song says, “be not afraid, I go before you always, come follow me and I will give your rest”. Christ is in us, Christ is beside us, before us, behind us and above us.
Fr. Sajive Maliakal MS
where to find us
Curia Provincialis - La Salette Sadhan
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