It is unlikely that many of us will have to deal with the lions in the arena like our Christian fore-bearers. It may be more likely that our values and principles will sometimes put us at odds with the society around us or lead us to join civil actions or even protest like the ones we have seen in our streets these last weeks.
Dr. Jerald Jampolsky who wrote a best-selling book in the late seventies, LOVE IS LETTING GO OF FEAR noted two forces in life: love and fear. Fear sometimes gets us because of our goals. We juggle too many perhaps!! If peace of mind is our single goal…fear dissipates.
A woman who was a regular church goer had just received her driver’s license. Before putting the key into the ignition for her first solo trip, she prayed for a safe journey,” Lord, please guide my hands and steer this car properly.”
Then she began to drive, but soon found herself in an emergency situation. A garbage truck was approaching her from the rear, seemingly out of control and a collision was imminent. Inexperienced and panic stricken, the woman had no idea how to react. So she threw her arms into the air and cried out, “LORD YOU TAKE THE WHEEL!”
That conviction that “every hair on our head has been counted” gives us the courage to turn over the steering of our lives long before we get backed into a corner. But keeping our hand on the steering wheel will permit God’s providence to provide the courage. We are called to acknowledge him before others with boldness.
Occasionally, we even discover an ability to laugh at ourselves and our fears. It invokes a playful CONVICTION similar to what Dame Julian of Norwich wrote from the late middle ages, “BUT ALL SHALL BE WELL, AND ALL SHALL BE WELL AND ALL MATTER OF THING SHALL BE WELL.” There is serenity in that acknowledgment.
Grace and great conviction anchors our lives in the thought that we have worth in God’s eyes more than an entire flock of sparrows. There is an old proverb that goes something like this…
Fear less hope more
Eat less, chew more,
whine less, breathe more,
Talk less, say more;
Hate less, love more;
And all good things will be yours.
Fearing less is at the top of the list of things to be done if all good things are to be ours. To know the wholeness of life, even in these COVID times, we have to fear less. We pray for the unity of the Body of Christ this week and the unity of our country these days. Join us in dreaming of a Christian community anchored to “a common good,” not all broken up in camps and denominations; that others may simply, “know we are Christians by our love.”
A gentle week.
Fr. Michael Weldon, OFM