"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.