"There is no room for fear in Love."

Monday, January 22, 2007

The title of this post is a bit of confessional wisdom I picked up a time and a bit ago, and I've been mulling over it ever since. I had a bit more time to mull in the hermitage this weekend (ah! sweet hermitage! would that I could have stayed forever!), and I've some thoughts on love and fear.

It is essentially true: true love is not afraid of anything, has no room to fear anything, save in the sense that the Holy Spirit bestows on us a healthy "fear of the Lord." Fear betrays a lack of trust, and love must trust completely. Without trust, love is broken, for trust allows giving and receiving to flow unhindered between lovers. If I love you, I want to give of myself to you (and for you), but in order to do so freely and truly, I must trust that my gift will not be in vain. If I cannot give of myself, then I do not love you truly. Fear cripples love. Fear holds back the self-gift and contradicts any advances we might make toward the beloved.

And, of course, God is Love Himself, the Beloved of each of our souls. When love is truest, it is united with Him, and is ultimately directed toward Him. And since such is the goal of the spiritual life, there must be no room for crippling fear in our spiritual lives. We must be always available to the love of God, always trusting in His goodness and wisdom, never fearing the consequences of doing His work or following Him more closely.

There are so many times in this life when we are afraid -- for ourselves, for our families, for our neighbors, for animals, for things...the list goes on -- but they all arise out of a lack of trust (or, if you will, a lack of faith) that God will take care of us. Even fears that seem right to us -- like fear of Satan and his minions, or fear for a child as she crosses a busy street, or fear that a certain event will drive a loved one away from the Lord -- must be purged from our hearts, for they betray a crippling and, ultimately, irrational mistrust in God. Certainly, we should be concerned about these and many other things, and we should pray for the triumph of good over evil (etc., etc.). But we should not fear them.

We should not fear them because we know better. We know that the God Who created all things out of nothing, Who forms and nurtures each and every soul, Who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to die in our stead on the Cross -- our God, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Beloved -- will not forsake us. He loves us with an undying and unconditional love, and as we love Him in return, we also trust that He will order all things to the greatest good. He will hear and answer our prayers, though we may not ever see their fruits. As He draws us closer to Him and more in love with Him, He will make sure that it is not only for our gain, but also for the gain of the whole world.

For the whole world. Let your mind chew on that for a while. Your relatively small act of choosing to follow God is for the greatest good of the whole world.

What is there left to fear?

[Now, having written all that, I now have to avoid being a hypocrite. Because, as I'm sure you've guessed, the general sentiments above were arrived at under very specific personal circumstances and prayers. The Beloved calls me to Himself. What is there left to fear? Well...this week could get interesting. Pray for me! And, more importantly right now, pray for my family.]

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