Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Be Not Afraid!

"Be not afraid!" John Paul II began his pontificate with these words ringing across St. Peter's Square. Yes, he was speaking to those behind the Iron Curtian, but, as always, his words were also personal. He was addressing each of us, every member of the flock of Christ--soldiers, business leaders, stay at home moms and the poor and lonely.

In this Sunday's Old Testament reading, the Lord says, "Be strong, fear not!" The angel addressed Mary in the same way and Jesus, after the resurrection told the apostles, "Be not afraid."

Many of us tend towards fear, anxiety. Babka, my Polish grandmother would call, panicked, if she heard on the national weather that it was raining in Texas. It's a big state. I, too, have been struggling with fear and anxiety recently following a diagnosis for one of our sons. What should we do? How should we proceed? Special education or home education? How are we going to manage? If I let my thoughts run wild, they usually do and I am overwhelmed, anxious and afraid.

Mary was able to respond with her fiat to the Angel Gabriel's "troubling" news. Such peace and obedience! And grace. Perfect grace. As we celebrated her birthday yesterday, we recalled how she was born into the world without the stain of original sin, how her every action corresponded with love for God and others. She allowed grace to flow freely through her. Our Lord desires to shower grace upon us, too, if only we are receptive. If we offer our fear and turn it into trust. If we let go of our pride and are cheerfully obedient.

We need not fear the future. We need only to be open to God's grace at this moment and take courage.


B-Mama said...

Tex, this is a beautiful reflection to read this morning. Thank you. I often allow fear and anxiety (about pretty much everything) to cripple and prevent me from enjoying the present. How different things would look if I were, instead, to embrace the grace in the moment and take heart. I am most vulnerable to this temptation of sin as a mother because I love my children so much!

Kat said...

Thank you so much for these thoughts this morning, Tex. I, like you, seem to go through periods where I am prone to fear and anxiety - like B-Mama said, we love our kids so much and want the very best for them. My husband is good at reminding me that we should not make decisions based on fear, nor should we be crippled by it in the present moment. God bless you and your family as you make these big decisions!

"Ask and it shall be given unto you, seek and you shall find..."

Mary Alice said...

Thanks for these great words.

I am learning that it is really helpful for me to have set times of prayer that I stick to, no matter what else is going on around me. Otherwise, I might pray a lot (even when I should be "doing" instead) or not at all, depending on my response to a difficult time. My set prayers may not even focus on the thing that I am struggling with, but still they seem to bring a sort of bubble of peace around me.

I am in the process of "beginning again" with the practice of a daily rosary, and weekly with the children as part of school.

Joanne said...

My son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder last May and I have been struggling with fear before and since. One thing that has really helped me is to remember something one of my FB friends wrote in her status one day, that God responds to faith and not need. I try and repeat that to myself like a mantra some days, because I tend to think "I need so much help! Anthony is autistic, Maria is crazy and Veronica is so grumpy! Why won't God help me?" But then I just tell myself that it will all be okay, that God is giving me all the patience and love that I need to get these little buggers of mine through these years. I appreciate posts like this because I need constant reminders, although I shouldn't. :)

The Leivas said...

My daughter was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder this past October. I have found such comfort and strength in these words. I pray that you and your family experience the peace and the strength that only God can provide. I remember feeling so alone when Olivia was diagnosed. I know I don't know you at all (I know B-mama through friends from Ft. Carson) but if you ever want someone to talk

Kyra said...

I love the part of the mass when the priest prays "free us from all anxieties as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
When I was younger I used to listen to that and hear "blah blah blah" it is such a peaceful and hopeful message because I think "yes, that's me! I need to be freed from anxiety!" LOL.

With my son's diagnosis I have tried harder now to enjoy him as he is, because I don't want to miss these moments or not be present to him while I'm worrying about what his future has in store. Easier said than done of course, but it's a start.

Lisa said...

Kyra, Laurie, Joanne and Texas Mommy -

You and your children are in my prayers tonight. Prayer is so powerful -- be not afraid!

Be blessed,

Right Said Red said...

When my daughter Therese was diagnosed with anencephaly (a fatal birth defect), I was obviously devastated and very afraid. Thoughts of how I would survive the pregnancy, how I would watch her die, and how I would cope, swirled around my head constantly. I soon realized that each day, I had a choice, I could chose to love my daughter, or I could chose to be afraid. Holy motherhood is about choosing love over fear. Mary modeled this for all of us--especially since she knew of her son's fate "a sword will pierce your heart."

After this realization, I prayed for the grace to love Therese. I had to pray for this each day as the temptation to fear can at times be very strong.

I will pray for you Tex, and for all other parents out there parenting children with medical needs. May God give you grace to choose love in the difficult moments of your days!

Catherine said...

God bless you! I have walked a similar path with my oldest son who has Asperger's Syndrome and ADHD. You will be given the wisdom and strength to do what's best for him and for yourself.