The Lord has commanded us 365 times in the Scriptures: "Do not fear" (Mt 10:28, 31, our transl). By this command, the Lord means that we should not fear any human being, human circumstance, or even the devil. We should not fear death, dying, pain, persecution, rejection, loneliness, poverty, old age, having a large family, evangelizing, going to Confession; being a priest, religious, or missionary; tithing and giving alms, downsizing our lifestyles, etc.
The Lord commands us so frequently not to fear because we may frequently disobey this command and because we are so frequently tempted to let ourselves be manipulated by fear. Because temptations to fear are so pervasive and strong, the fulfillment of God's plan for our lives, practically speaking, probably depends on whether we have consistently accepted God's grace to overcome fear. Otherwise, we are life-long slaves of the devil through fear of death and related matters (Heb 2:15).
God graces us with victory over fear of men and human sufferings by giving us the fear of the Lord (see Mt 10:28). By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are awed by the all-holy God. Then we realize that this awesome God is our all-loving Father (see Mt 10:29), Who cherishes us as His children. This fills us with such trust in Him that we are secure in His love and not manipulatable by the pressures of fear. Adopted children of God the Father, do not fear!
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from June 1, 2005 through July 31, 2005.
†Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 20, 2004.