Nothing to Fear

By Marc Massery

Turn to any page of the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska and you find spiritual gems. Like this one: 

Love casts out fear. Since I came to love God with my whole being and with all the strength of my heart, fear has left me. … I have placed my trust in God and fear nothing. I have given myself over to His holy will; let Him do with me as He wishes, and I will still love Him (589). 

If you ask anyone in our society what they want most, there’s a good chance they will say something like, “I just want to be happy.” But we weren’t made to pursue happiness alone. We were made to pursue God’s love. 

Since love of God has fallen and continues to fall out of vogue in our culture, fear has crept into the lives of so many of us. In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 18 percent of the population in the United States, or 40 million adults, lives with an anxiety disorder. 

Many factors likely contribute to the anxiety of our society. But essentially, as St. Faustina implies above, fearfulness often results, not from failing to pursue happiness, but from failing to pursue the love of God. 

Believe in Love
Think about it this way. God created the world out of love for us. He loved us so much that He made us in His image (see Gen 1:27), and He endowed us with free will. 

If in our free will we choose to love God as St. Faustina did, “with all the strength” of our hearts, we won’t have anything to fear. Trusting in His goodness, we won’t become so discouraged when we experience suffering. In fact, we will learn to see that in His Providence, the Lord allows us to go through certain trials for our own good. 

On the other hand, if out of doubt or ignorance we choose to avoid the Lord’s love, we will replace Him with some other god, usually some form of money, sex, or power. As long as we pursue these false gods, we’ll worry. We’ll either be afraid that we won’t attain what we want, or we’ll be afraid that we’ll lose what we already have. 

Of course, nobody likes to suffer. But when we pursue the love of God with all our hearts, we will realize suffering’s redemptive power. Then, when suffering comes our way, we won’t be so afraid. We might even think to ourselves, “What is the Lord going to teach me this time? What abundant graces will result from this trial?”

Trusting amid suffering is easier said than done. But as long as we try our best and keep coming back to the Lord whenever we fall, He will give us the grace of His peace no matter how difficult the trial. 

Finally, despite what our culture says, no matter how much we try to pursue happiness, we’ll never attain it as long as we turn our backs on God in our search. Because in the end, freedom from fear is merely one of the byproducts of receiving the unfathomable love and mercy of God. 

My prayer: Jesus, help me to pursue Your love with all my heart. Give me the strength to face all suffering that comes my way with a confident trust in Your goodness. Help me to remember that as long as I pursue the love of God, forgetting myself, He will give me everything I need to be happy in this life, and happy forever in the life to come.  

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