I had a conversation with my co-workers on how some Christians, and entire societies, lived in a constant state of fear. For some reason or another, some people believed that the world was a horrible place and that all that mattered was stuff relating to the mind or soul. But this idea is completely and emphatically wrong. A certain level of fear is healthy. We need to be cautious and to always fear the Lord. But to fear God doesn’t mean constantly double-checking your every move.
Fear of the Lord is not a form of panic or anxiety. It’s realizing how great God is. It’s acknowledging that without God, we are nothing, and with God, we are everything. This acknowledgement of God’s greatness comes from experiencing the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. For today, I want to focus on the virtues of hope and love. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
“The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men's activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of Heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.” (Catechism 1818)
Love, on the other hand, comes in many different forms. The one I want to focus on in this study is agape, which is unconditional love. It’s this love that John refers to when he says
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.”
Hope and love work together to remind us of how great and wonderful God is. Hope and unconditional love give fruit to mercy, which casts out all fears of never being forgiven, never being good enough.
In one of her visions, Jesus said to St. Faustina,
“Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity.” (Diary 699)
Fear not, my beloved sisters in Christ, because there is always hope for those who love God and trust in His great mercy. Let’s keep praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet and offer our prayer up for those who need more hope and love in their lives.