In 1 Jn 4:18, we read these encouraging words: “There is no fear in love for perfect love casts out all fear.” We need the fulfillment of that promise today!
In Heavenwards, verse 628, we find one of my favorite prayers, Providentia Divina. It says: “You know the way for me, you know the time. Into your hands I trustingly place mine. Your plan is perfect, born of perfect love. You know the way for me. That is enough.”
In the midst of the fearful situations we confront today, we are faced with two options. Either we can be overwhelmed with a sense of doom and fear, as something unexpected and tragically once occurred or, we can realize that, with our faith in God’s help – as a loving Father – and helping one another, we can go on. Let us take the second option!
According to Jn 20:19, we find the disciples, after Easter, hiding behind locked doors. “It was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews…” That’s where we live, isn’t it? Not in Jerusalem and not in fear of the Jews, although that irrational fear isn’t entirely gone. Most of us are afraid of something. Aren’t we? Fear is not new to most of us. And, I think it was just that way for them as it is for us now. Fear, seemed stronger than their faith at that time. And it happens to us, too.
Jesus promises us what he gave [to the apostles]: His peace, his presence, his spirit, his mercy, and his love. And when we rely on these gifts, we can pray again and again: “You know the way for me, you know the time. Into your hands I trustingly place mine. Your plan is perfect, born of perfect love. You know the way for me. That is enough.”
The problem is, in our ordinary, daily, non-Sunday morning lives, like the disciples, we forget. Our fear seems stronger than our faith! Enmeshed in our fear, we are afraid to act and afraid to dream – so much so that we give up hope: faintheartedness! We can say that if we allow fear to overcome us we are not embodying one of the most wonderful and revealing attitudes of Mary who stood bravely under the cross of her Son. The Marian attitude of faithfulness, perseverance, and belief in God’s promise of peace, joy and eternal life will certainly help us to overcome all fear.
We were not created by God to live in fear. But in his love and mercy, we were created to be free and joyful!
Fear is the barrier that keeps us from having a faith that will change our lives, our marriages, our relationships and even our future as a Church! Fear is not our only choice. We can choose faith, which is stronger than fear. We can choose love which is stronger than cowardice. We can choose a life in the strength of the covenant, which is much stronger than anxiety and fearfulness.
Fear imprisons, faith liberates. Fear paralyzes, faith empowers. Fear disheartens, faith encourages. Fear makes us sick, faith heals us. Fear makes us useless, faith makes reliable. Fear puts hopelessness at the heart of life, faith rejoices in God.
That’s what John referred to in his letter when, long after the Resurrection and long after Pentecost, he wrote the powerful words: “There is no fear in love, for perfect love drives out all fear” (1Jn 4,18).
What if we choose to believe in that? What if we took God’s word to heart? What if no matter what fears we faced, we could still hear God whisper: “I am with you. You can do it! Don’t give up.” What if we dared to believe and trust in the simple prayer: “You know the way for me, you know the time. Into your hands I trustingly place mine. Your plan is perfect, born of perfect love. You know the way for me. That is enough”?
Leaving behind all fears, let us discover in this Easter season the power of God’s love in our lives!
Happy and Blessed Easter to you all!
Father Marcelo Aravena