"Do not fear those who deprive the body of life but cannot destroy the soul. Rather, fear Him Who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna." —Matthew 10:28
Jesus says we must not fear the devil. We should not be afraid of anyone or be intimidated (Mt 10:26, 31). Yet we are afraid, and we don't know how to overcome fear. Fear cannot be overcome by will-power. We cannot just throw it out. Fear must be displaced. Jesus doesn't merely tell us not to fear, but He says fear of man must be pushed out of our lives by fear of God (Mt 10:28).
The fear of the Lord, that is, a respectful awe in His presence, is the beginning of wisdom, and the end of fear of man (Ps 111:10). "He who fears the Lord is never alarmed, never afraid; for the Lord is his hope" (Sir 34:14). For example, "a reverent fear overtook [the early Church], for many wonders and signs were performed by the apostles" (Acts 2:43). They were "making steady progress in the fear of the Lord" (Acts 9:31) and fearlessness of man. This profound respect and awe in the Lord's presence develops into a perfect love which "casts out all fear" (1 Jn 4:18).
"Love has no room for fear" (1 Jn 4:18). Be filled with the Holy Spirit, especially with the spiritual gift of fear of the Lord (Is 11:2) and the Spirit's fruit, love (Gal 5:22).
Prayer: Father, may I become so aware of Your presence that I forget to be afraid of human threats.
Promise: Joseph said, "Have no fear. Can I take the place of God?" —Gn 50:19
Praise: Bl. Kateri expressed her complete faith in Jesus' provision by taking a vow of virginity at an early age. In her Indian culture, a woman received her total support from her husband.
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, January 22, 2007
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