If we take a look at the four Gospels, we will find many instances where God invites us to not be afraid: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah;” “Do not be afraid, Mary;” “Do not be afraid, shepherds;” “Do not be afraid, Peter;”; “Do not be afraid, little flock;” “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body;” “Do not be afraid. It is I;” “Peace be with you;”; “Do not be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Whether we like it or not, fear is part of our human life. Since we were kids, we have experienced fears that many times were groundless and eventually disappeared. As adults, we may also experience fears when facing difficult situations — pain, misunderstanding, loneliness, uncertainty, death — and we must face and overcome them through our efforts and with God’s help.
Nevertheless, a true disciple of Jesus does not have to be afraid because he is not alone. God is a loving Father, who, if He takes care of even the tiniest details of His creatures, how much more then will He look after His faithful children? The solution is to LOVE. He, who is afraid, does not know how to love and does not know God, nor has he truly experienced God’s love in its fullness. On this point, here is a comment from Pope Benedict XVI:
The true believer, does not get frightened by anything, because he knows he is in God’s hands; he knows that evil and all that is irrational, does not have the last word; on the other hand, the only true Lord of the world and of life is Jesus, the Incarnate Word, who loved us to the point of sacrificing Himself and dying on the Cross for our salvation. The more we grow in this intimacy with God, steeped in His love, the more easily we will overcome all sort of fear.
Overcoming our fears by trusting in God’s love also applies to our fear of death. Though it is natural for us to fear the unknown, as a Christian we should look at death as a natural step, a way back home, a victory after the battle, and a rest after the fight.
If we are truly certain and trustful of God, who awaits us on the other side, we should have nothing to fear. In fact, Jesus makes this known to us through many of the Gospel passages: “I will go and prepare a place for you;” “He that believes in me, though he may die, shall live;” “Labor not for the food which perishes, but for that which endures unto everlasting life;” “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;” “Whosoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood, shall have eternal life.”
So let us walk trustfully and confidently, with our eyes fixed on heaven. Be not afraid!
Mother María Elena Martínez is a nun, born in Mexico City, where she still resides today. She has had a consecrated life for more than 30 years. She is currently a member of a community called María Madre del Amor which is dedicated to evangelization through Emmaus retreats in parishes and prisons and Sicar retreats for young people.