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  A Christian Faith Magazine September 2004, Volume 10, Issue 2  
Rev. Mark Connolly
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In the light of what has happened in our country from Anthrax to terrorism I would like to share a few thoughts with you on one word. That word is fear. If you study the teachings of Jesus Christ from whom all our religious teachings have been derived, He constantly reminded us over and over; "have confidence in Me and I will help you over come the world". He also told us, I will not leave you orphans, I will be with you at all times until the end of the world". Then He said; "look at the lilies of the fields and the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap yet your heavenly Father takes care of them". Then He said: "how much more important are you to me than the lilies of the field and the birds of the air" . Those are thoughts that should be uppermost in our minds concerning the fact that God will never desert us, that God will never abandon us.

When you analyze the subject of fear, we have to keep in mind that prior to September 11 most of us had different kinds of fears. The fear of falling, the fear of flying, the fear of God. Since September11 all of those fears have been aggravated intensified and exacerbated by the anthrax scare, the small pox scare and all the scares that terrorists are capable of sending into the psyche of each one of us. If we take our religion seriously, you might remember that many of us have come through World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm and that same God never abandoned us, never left us to our own resources. He was there to guide us. So if we are going to have a degree of normalcy concerning fears as they infiltrate our psyche, work on our imagination, distort our emotions, there are a couple of principles we have to implement every day.

You have to believe that there is no one capable of taking away your peace of mind unless you allow it or capitulate to what thoughts they are putting into your mind. God has given you an intellect and will. God has given you emotions and affections. They were never intended in the plan of God that you should allow terrorists to take away your peace of mind and eventually your peace of soul. In clinical psychiatry there is one school that teaches what is called reality therapy. Part of that should remind us that we have to believe even though we do not like to think about that there are many people across the world that literally hate us and they are going to find ways of unleashing that hatred upon us. We might go back into our own country and say this is due to our politics, our military and our policies and you can have a hundred and one hours of discussion of how we got to where we are, but the bottom line is simply the same. You can never let fear take away your peace of mind. If you are not anchored to God and grafted to Christ that peace of mind will, because of fear, be eventually affected.

What you have to keep in mind during these adverse days in the history of our country is that God has given you talents that you must use for His honor and glory, for the honor and glory of your country and for the honor and glory of your family. God has given me talents that I must use for the same purposes. You have a mission to perform that only has been given to you by an almighty and loving God, a merciful God. He never wants you to stop using those talents to give honor and glory to His church and to the society in which you are living.

You have a great decision to make. You can either follow Jesus Christ who preached a gospel of love or follow a group of terrorists who preach a gospel of hate. You are responsible in the sight of God considering all God has given you concerning talents and abilities, to keep your own peace of mind and make every effort to show all the caution that is needed.

St. Monica
St. Monica

So when you consider this problem of fear, our antidote to it is our own spirituality. When you look at the teachings of Christ quite closely, when He was going through personal distress, when He awaited the crucifixion, He sought solitude and privacy that enabled Him to meditate and pray to get the insights needed for whatever God was asking Him to do. He took time aside to meditate, to contemplate and to pray. That is the kind of spirituality that has to be injected into our every day way of living, a sense of prayerfulness. There is nothing in these days that is preventing. us from developing the type of prayerfulness that gives us the insights we need to cope with the problems of fear that these terrorists are trying to bring into our way of life. There is nothing preventing us from taking five minutes each day just to be by ourselves to ask God to enlighten us. To ask God to illuminate us, to ask God to inspire us with the thoughts that we need to cope with the problems of every day living. That is your spirituality. If this spirituality is lacking, then your mind is exposed to every kind of assault that any terrorist will wage to jeopardize your peace of mind. All of us know, if you study history, that centuries ago we had a man who at 17 was an alcoholic, at 19 indulged in homosexuality, at 21 fathered an illegitimate child, at 23 experimented in the drugs of his culture and yet he had a change of heart. That change of heart led him to be a convert to the Catholic faith. He became a Catholic priest, a Catholic bishop and a Catholic saint. His name was St. Augustine. But the real hero in his life was his mother, St. Monica, who prayed for over 19 years that her delinquent son would get strength from God.

What we learn from this story is the value of prayer in your life, the value of meditation and the value of prayerfulness. When you develop those qualities, no fear will jeopardize your daily life no matter who tries to take away your peace of mind. When you develop those qualities of prayerfulness and mediation you experience what Christ had in mind when be said centuries ago; "have confidence in Me and I will help you overcome the world".

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