the sin of fear
"Now that their father was dead, Joseph's brothers became fearful." —Genesis 50:15
The Lord tells us 365 times in the Bible "Do not fear." That's one for every day of the year. In our reading from Genesis, Joseph twice tells his brothers: "Do not fear" (see Gn 50:19, 21). Similarly, in our Gospel reading, Jesus commands: "Do not let them intimidate you" (Mt 10:26). "Do not be afraid of anything" (Mt 10:31). Notice the Lord not only frequently tells us not to fear but makes this a commandment.
"Do not fear" is just as much a commandment as "Thou shalt not kill, commit adultery, or steal." But how many times do we confess the sin of giving into fear? We should be fearless not only of people but even the devil. "Do not fear those who deprive the body of life but cannot destroy the soul" (Mt 10:28).
The only One to fear is God, and the fear of the Lord differs from all other fears. With fear of the Lord we do not fear being harmed, but are awed by His glorious presence. All other fears are "useless" (Lk 8:50) and, even worse, sinful, when we let them manipulate us.
Prayer: Father, may I have a holy fear of You and of no one else.
Promise: "As for you, every hair of your head has been counted." —Mt 10:30
Praise: St. Augustine Zhao Rong was a soldier who converted to the Catholic faith while providing an escort service for a French bishop. He became a priest and spread the gospel until arrested. He died as a martyr while in prison.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Evangelization on audio AV 58-3 or video V-58.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 20, 2004
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