Fear is one of our greatest fears. To some extent we have a fear of the unknown, of uncertainty, even of life. Some of us have a fear of being corrected, of being yelled at, of being bettered.
Many of us share a fear in suffering, of pain and of death. But too many of us have a fear of doing what is right, of being holy and good. This fear is brought home; in marriage, in relationships, in having or raising children. There is a tremendous amount of fear in responsibility and decisions.
We fear losing our friends much more than we fear losing our faith and God.
I will not even attempt to provide practical tips for overcoming our fears. There are many self-help books and workshops on the market today that do a good job in managing our lives. But the fact that there are so many self-help books in general is a strong indication that something in our culture or our way of life has changed and gone very wrong.
A few years back a young altar server told me I was late for Mass. Good for him! But then I had to tell him that he messed up while serving. His mother was very upset. “You should not have told him”, she whimpered. His self-esteem has been crushed! He will never want to serve again. His super bloated ego will never again be inflated. “He will not want to serve again!” He did, three days later. That’s how long it takes to die to ourselves and rise from the dead or admit to the truth and move on. May we never fear what makes us better and stronger.
A graduate from a very good Catholic High School once asked me if he should marry his girlfriend. I asked him to tell me a little about her. Well, her father killed himself on an overdose of drugs, her mother is an alcoholic. She had an abortion, many boyfriends, she has been a stripper and currently lives in an apartment with a dog she treats like a human and feeds it steaks. I looked at him and said, “Have you lost your mind?” May we never fear the God-given gift of common sense! May we never fear pleasing God above ourselves and others.
A young lady told me that her cousin in College had a drinking problem because every morning she drinks a six-pack. She told her cousin that she needed to get help immediately. The cousin was furious! The young lady asked me, “Did I do the right thing?” So when did our friendships become more important than saving a life?
There is a teenage girl who is pregnant and her mother is telling her to get an abortion. One of her friends is trying to help her to keep the baby but doesn’t want to ruin their friendship. She asked me, “If I try to help her will she hate me? Am I doing the right thing?” May we never fear serving our God.
The Apostles were on choppy waters and full of fear. The Lord approached, walking on water, and they became even more afraid, not because he was the Lord, not because he was walking on water, and not because he approached them. They were afraid because they lacked faith in Him and in themselves. Let us ask the Lord to increase our faith so as to decrease our fears.