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Tuesday, July 16, 2002

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Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Isaiah 7:1-9
Psalm 48
Matthew 11:20-24

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the spirit of fearlessness

"Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear." —Isaiah 7:4

King Ahaz was about to be attacked by two formidable armies. Consequently, "the heart of the king and heart of the people trembled, as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind" (Is 7:2). Anticipating the death, destruction, and devastation of war, Ahaz was "shaking like a leaf."

Pope John Paul II has discerned that many of us are like King Ahaz. We are deathly afraid. We may not admit it or be fully aware of it, but fear reigns in the lives of so many. Fear paralyzes many of us and prevents us from living our vocations, evangelizing, changing our lifestyles, tithing and almsgiving, standing up for life, building Christian community, etc.

To be freed from fear, we must have faith (Is 7:9; Mk 5:36). Faith is both a gift (1 Cor 12:9) and the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22).

To be freed from fear of man, we need the fear of the Lord (Sir 34:14). The fear of the Lord is a gift of the Holy Spirit (Is 11:2ff).

To be freed from fear, we must "come to know and to believe in the love God has for us" (1 Jn 4:16). In this way, we displace fear (1 Jn 4:18). Love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22).

When the Spirit comes, fear goes. "You did not receive a spirit of slavery leading you back into fear, but a spirit of adoption through which we cry out, 'Abba!' (that is, 'Father'). The Spirit Himself gives witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Rm 8:15-16). Come, Holy Spirit!

Prayer:  Father, give me a new Pentecost of freedom and fearlessness.

Promise:  "Great is the Lord and wholly to be praised in the city of our God. His holy mountain, fairest of heights, is the joy of all the earth." —Ps 48:2-3

Praise:  Carla dedicated her life to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel as a member of the Carmelites. She, her adult children, and grandchildren travel the country evangelizing through preaching and music.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, December 4, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 10, 2001