Saturday, July 7, 2012

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"

In Franklin D. Roosevelt's first inaugural address, he spoke to Americans in the grips of the Great Depression.  He famously told them, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."  He continued to describe fear as, "nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes..."  He was right.  FEAR IS PARALYZING.  It keeps us from doing the things we should do.  It keeps us from living the lives we are meant to live.

Think of the things you have been afraid of in life.  Think of your fears now.

Thinking of my children, I'm surprised by how timeless and universal their fears are.  They fear anything that causes pain.  They fear rejection.  They fear darkness.  As adults, don't we hold the same fears?

Right now, I can quell my children's fears with band-aids, hugs and kisses, and nightlights.  Yet, things seem to get more complicated as we get older, but maybe things don't get more complicated at all.  Maybe we just tell ourselves "it's complicated" because we are paralyzed with fear-- unable to make a decision, unable to move forward, unable to live the lives we are meant to live, the lives God wants us to live.

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When I think about being paralyzed with fear, I think of Dante's Inferno.  I think of how Dante described the ninth circle of Hell as a place where traitors were held frozen in ice, unable to escape.  I think of satan frozen in ice, beating his wings as if trying to escape, although the cold wind that emanates only further ensures his imprisonment and the imprisonment of others.

I can't help but conclude that failing to live the lives God wants for us is like living Hell on Earth.  Certainly, it is satan who creates fear in our lives.  He doesn't want us to us to be happy.  He doesn't want us to serve God.  Satan wants us to doubt ourselves and to doubt God.  Satan wants us frozen with fear on Earth, much like Dante's depiction of satan frozen in Hell.

Dear readers, please don't let your fears prevent you from the plan of life God destined for you.  You are special.  Your life has purpose.  God has a plan for you.  Open yourself to His will. 

In case you're wondering, God's will is always easy to identify in our lives.  If something is God's will, while there may be distractions or moments of failure, you will always find the same path, the same suggestion or pull, come up over and over again in your life.  I find the more I stay on the path, the easier my journey becomes.  If something is against God's will.  It will fall apart.  Plain and simple.

While our Heavenly Father does not give us (His children) band-aids, hugs & kisses, and flashlights to quell our fears, He does provide us with the Real Presence, the Sacraments, and the guidance of our holy Mother Church.  It is up to us to seek out God's comfort, strength, and grace to get through the difficult moments in our lives.  Understand that we are not alone when we are afraid.  God is always with us.   With Him, all things are possible.

"He said to them, 'Because of your little faith.  Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you."

--Matthew 17:20

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