Be Not Afraid

Published on the Patriot Post July 1, 2022. Below is the unedited version.

“We need to tell our story of salvation in a new way. With charity and confidence, without fear.” Archbishop Gomez of LA, Address, Madrid Spain, November 4, 2021

“The liberty of love, therefore, is not license. Freedom implies not just a mere choice, but also a responsibility for choice.” Fulton Sheen, The World’s First Love

“And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed.” Jn 3:19-20

With these words, “Be not afraid,” Pope St. John Paul II opened his pontificate, one of the things most remembered about him. But these weren’t his words, they were the words of our Lord, Jesus Christ. When Jesus called Simon, He told him, “Do not be afraid, henceforth you will be catching men.” (Lk 5:10) He also told the women whom he met after his resurrection “Do not be afraid, go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” (Mt 28:10) And again to the disciples when he walked on water (Jn6:22). These words were also used by the Angels to Zechariah (father of John the Baptist), our Blessed Mother Mary, and the women at the tomb when Jesus was resurrected.

It is also the message to us, especially now that Roe versus Wade has been overturned. Fear is the tool of the devil. Read any book about exorcism; the exorcists all say that Satan preys on our fears. If God is with us and we are with Him, whom should we fear? (Ps 27:1) Notice how, with the overturning of Roe, the pro-abortion forces have doubled down on their threats of violence. Attacks on churches and pregnancy centers which support women and their babies have increased. They have even threatened the lives of Supreme Court Justices and their families. That this is work of the devil is made obvious by the manifesto of a group called “Jane’s Revenge,” encouraging violence against pregnancy centers who are dedicated to supporting women with “crisis” pregnancies and their children: “…we are asking for courageous hearts to come out after dark” (emphasis added)! Evil loves the dark. Now they are claiming that women are going to die after this ruling. Where was their outrage when several abortionist butchers were unveiled? They still blocked efforts to make abortion clinics safer. And what about the women who are aborted? More females are aborted than males. In other words, women were already dying when abortion was legal, nearly half a million annually. One of their big threats is, “If abortion isn’t safe, neither are you,” and they have painted this on pro-life centers and churches. Even the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has acknowledged the threat by warning these centers and churches to expect more violence, although they haven’t designated any of these groups as domestic terrorists. And over the weekend since the release of the ruling, several pro-life pregnancy centers and several churches have been attacked. A Catholic church in West Virginia (on the Historic Register) has burned to the ground in a suspected arson attack, although no one has taken responsibility as yet. So much for peaceful protests (a la the 2021 summer riots). 

Most importantly, again especially for us who believe, these are the words spoken to Paul in Corinth, “And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent, for I am with you.” (Acts 18:9-10) On several occasions in the Old Testament, the Israelites were told, “do not be afraid, for God is with you.” (e.g., Neh 4:14, Josh 11:6, Is 10:24-25, Jer 1:8, etc.)

There’s a significant faction in our country and the world who have rejected God. And their message is all about fear. They say we need to fear climate change, COVID, racism, conservatism, religious freedom, free speech, and anyone who opposes their point of view. Rather than enter into meaningful discussions where both sides present their facts and opinions, they want to squelch speech and just deny the other side’s ability to present their case. Recall that during the presidential campaign, Biden stated, “we choose about truth, not facts.” (Iowa, August 8, 2019) Only the truth they choose is what they want everyone to believe and not really truth at all. Think about the “truth” of inflation they claimed over the last year.

They will continue to lie and threaten, trying to silence the forces of good and force us to retreat. But that is not what we should do – we have God on our side. One of the reasons we have gotten to this state is that we have lived our faith with timidity, while we are called to be bold. We have been neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm, with the result that we have, as C.S. Lewis said, taken the “safest road to Hell;” “the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” (The Screwtape Letters)

This same group repeatedly touts their “belief” in “science” while denying the humanity of the unborn child or the science of only 2 genders and pushing the idea that mankind can actually be the cause of any increase in global temperatures, pointing to carbon dioxide as the culprit, especially when science tells us that more carbon dioxide is thrust into the atmosphere by a volcanic eruption than that put out by all the automobiles on the planet. It seems as if their truths have no basis in fact. While claiming tolerance, they have shown their hatred for anything that opposes their desire for power. Again, hatred is a characteristic of evil. Evil hates humanity and relishes in the culture of death.

At the same time, they denigrate a black woman Marine Corps veteran who won a statewide election, calling her racist and the mouthpiece of white supremacy. Meanwhile their own racism runs rampant, pushing Critical Race Theory, and is covered up by the mainstream media, tagged with ridiculous descriptions such as “peaceful protests,” or presenting staged racist/anti-gay attacks as legitimate.

However, this is not a time for hatred. This is a time for love. “God is love.” (1 Jn 4:8) There is a large segment of our society that has rejected God, and in doing so, rejects love for anything but themselves. One political party took God out of their platform and has proponents for removing “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. We now have president who couldn’t say “creator” when trying to quote the Declaration of Independence. 

And most of all, it is a time for men to be men; not macho, but MEN. Here are some of the sad facts when men don’t step up to the leadership role to which they are called, leadership by example, not dictatorship. The woke left has worked hard to silence men and make them afraid to speak out, especially white men. The truth of the matter is that without men being men (and fathers) society is devouring itself.

“Children raised in single-parent homes constitute (mostly without fathers):

  • 63% of teen suicides;
  • 90% of runaways and homeless children;
  • 85% of behavior disorder patients;
  • 71% of high school dropouts;
  • 75% of teenagers in substance abuse rehab centers;
  • 85% of young prison inmates.

Dr. Peter Kreeft notes that there are many similarities between today and the time surrounding Jesus’s birth. Dr. Kreeft tells us that the government (the Romans) at that time was taking away people’s political freedom through repressive laws, exorbitant taxes, and military occupation. Also, like today, “Those who were wise enough to know that their worst enemies were their sins recognized Jesus as their savior when He came. “… Those whose hearts were unwise and set on merely worldly success did not recognize Jesus as their savior, because Jesus did not save them from the worldly goods that they wanted.” (Food for the Soul, p. 5) Of course, this is the plan of the devil, to worship worldly things. And so many of us fall into his trap. “Thus Satan leads poor creatures down into the depths of sin by winding stairs, that let them not see the bottom whither they are going.” (William Durnall, The Christian in Complete Armour)

However, Jesus calls us out of this world and to the kingdom of God. Good will prevail. God has a record for pulling good things out of bad situations. Let us be a part of that work. Let us eschew anger and hatred. Let us love our neighbor and not forget God’s place in our lives. Let us provide a firm example of love for our neighbors. At the same time, with these threats and warnings, we need to remain vigilant, remembering Leviticus 19:16, “Nor shall you stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is at stake.”  Be not afraid. If we are with God, God will be with us. And, if God is with us, whom shall we fear?

“’Now’ is the time for the mission God has chosen for each of us to fulfill. The choice to listen to God and do his will is the most noble, fulfilling, and purposeful thing we can do with our lives.” Fr. Mitch Pacwa, How to Listen When God is Speaking

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