Guest Commentary / July 1, 2022

Be Not Afraid

Fear is the tool of the devil. If God is with us, and we are with Him, whom shall we fear?

By Tom Klocek

“We need to tell our story of salvation in a new way. With charity and confidence, without fear.” —Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez

“The liberty of love, therefore, is not license. Freedom implies not just a mere choice, but also a responsibility for choice.” —Fulton Sheen, The World’s First Love

“And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed.” —John 3:19-20

With these words, “Be not afraid,” Pope St. John Paul II opened his pontificate, one of the things most remembered about him. But these weren’t his words; they were the words of our Lord, Jesus Christ. When Jesus called Simon, He told him, “Do not be afraid, henceforth you will be catching men” (Luke 5:10). He also told the women whom he met after his resurrection, “Do not be afraid, go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me” (Matthew 28:10). And again to the disciples when he walked on water (John 6:22). These words were also used by the Angels to Zechariah (father of John the Baptist), our Blessed Mother Mary, and the women at the tomb when Jesus was resurrected.

It is also the message to us, especially now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. Fear is the tool of the devil. If God is with us, and we are with Him, whom shall we fear? (Psalm 27:1.) Notice how, with the overturning of Roe, the pro-abortion forces have doubled down on their threats of violence. Attacks on churches and pregnancy centers that support women and their babies have increased. They have even threatened the lives of Supreme Court justices and their families. That this is the work of the devil is made obvious by the manifesto of a group called Jane’s Revenge, which is encouraging violence against pregnancy centers. “We are asking for courageous hearts to come out after dark” (emphasis added).

Evil loves the dark. Now the pro-abortion forces are claiming that women are going to die after this ruling. Where was their outrage when several abortionist butchers were unveiled? They still blocked efforts to make abortion clinics safer. And what about the women who are aborted? More females are aborted than males. In other words, women were already dying when abortion was legal — nearly half a million annually. One of their big threats is, If abortion isn’t safe, neither are you, and they have painted this on pro-life centers and churches. Even the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has acknowledged the threat by warning these centers and churches to expect more violence, although it hasn’t designated any of these groups as domestic terrorists.

Most importantly, especially for believers, these are the words spoken to Paul in Corinth: “And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent, for I am with you” (Acts 18:9-10). On several occasions in the Old Testament, the Israelites were told, “Do not be afraid, for God is with you.”

There’s a significant faction in our country and the world that has rejected God. And its message is all about fear. It says we need to fear climate change, COVID, racism, conservatism, religious freedom, free speech, and anyone who opposes their point of view. Rather than enter into meaningful discussions, in which both sides present their facts and opinions, this faction wants to squelch speech and deny the other side’s ability to present its case. Recall that during the presidential campaign, Biden stated, “We choose truth over facts.” Only the truth leftists choose is what they want everyone to believe, and it’s not really truth at all. Think about the “truth” of inflation they claimed over the last year.

They will continue to lie and threaten, trying to silence the forces of good and force us to retreat. But that is not what we should do — we have God on our side. One of the reasons we have gotten to this state is that we have lived our faith with timidity. We have been neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm, with the result that we have, as C.S. Lewis said, taken the “safest road to Hell;” “the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts” (The Screwtape Letters).

The Left repeatedly touts its “belief” in “science” while denying the humanity of the unborn child or the science of only two genders and pushing the idea that mankind can actually be the cause of any increase in global temperatures. Its “truths” have no basis in fact. While claiming tolerance, it has shown its hatred for anything that opposes its desire for power. Again, hatred is a characteristic of evil. Evil hates humanity and relishes in the culture of death.

At the same time, leftists denigrate a black woman in Virginia who won a statewide election, calling her racist and the mouthpiece of white supremacy. Meanwhile, their own racism runs rampant as they push critical race theory.

However, this is not a time for hatred. This is a time for love. “God is love” (1 John 4:8). There is a large segment of our society that has rejected God, and in doing so, rejects love for anything but itself. One political party took God out of its platform and has proponents who want to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. We now have a president who couldn’t say “Creator” when trying to quote the Declaration of Independence.

Most of all, it is time for men to be men; not macho, but MEN. The woke Left has worked hard to silence men, especially white men, and make them afraid to speak out. The truth of the matter is that without men being men (and fathers), society is devouring itself.

God has a record of pulling good things out of bad situations. Let us be a part of that work. Let us eschew anger and hatred. Let us love our neighbor and not forget God’s place in our lives. Let us provide a firm example of love for our neighbors. At the same time, with these threats and warnings, we need to remain vigilant, remembering Leviticus 19:16: “Nor shall you stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is at stake.” Be not afraid. If we are with God, God will be with us. And if God is with us, whom shall we fear?

“'Now’ is the time for the mission God has chosen for each of us to fulfill. The choice to listen to God and do his will is the most noble, fulfilling, and purposeful thing we can do with our lives.” —Fr. Mitch Pacwa, How to Listen When God is Speaking

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