Rise and Have No Fear

Rise and have no fear (Mt 17:7)

 There are hundreds of battle scenes in the Old Testament. One of the best is when the Egyptian army, riding in battle array comes in pursuit of the Israelites who have lived as slaves to the Egyptians for decades. As the Israelites gazed upon the image of these well-armed soldiers furiously riding towards them they must have naturally been consumed by fear. These were their masters, the ones that they had served and most likely received countless beatings from. They knew well the power of the Egyptians. They knew well their own weakness. Then Moses, he whom they had only recently begun to follow, noticing the terror on the faces of his people and the fear taking their hearts away, says “The Lord Himself will fight for you; you only have to keep still.” (Exodus 14:14)

“The Lord Himself will fight for you; you only have to keep still.” (Exodus 14:14) Earlier in that passage Moses reminds the Israelites “Do not be afraid! Stand firm and you will see what the Lord will do to rescue you today.”  As we know the Lord splits the sea in two and the Israelites cross on dry ground. Then the Egyptians almost as if they are not noticing the miracle that has just occurred continue racing after the Israelites and the sea closes upon them and no Egyptian soldier survives that day. The Israelites go on to found a new and prosperous nation to which the Son of God is entrusted.

In these changing and tumultuous times we too are being asked to have no fear, trusting that the Lord will fight, even for you and me! How can we trust in a culture that breathes self-efficiency and production? We must transform our vision and transform our hearts. We need to foster a contemplative outlook: beginning to see, what is actually the reality, that Jesus is present here among us. Jesus is preparing our way. One way that can be immensely helpful is to call upon Jesus throughout the day. Jesus I love you! Jesus I need you. Jesus be with me now. Jesus, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner. You can link these quick prayers and many more, to a repetitive action like asking the Holy Spirit to be present every time you pick up the phone at work. Each time you throw away a piece of paper, you could call upon the power of heaven. One of our best defenses in life is Our Lady, Our Mother, Mary who vanquishes evil every time. Call upon her many times throughout the day. Mary mother of Jesus be a mother to me, now. Oh Mary direct my heart to love. Oh Mary teach me as you taught Jesus. The devil flees from her. October 7th was the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The rosary itself is a school of contemplation that will aid you in this contemplative outlook.

Rise and have no fear (Mt 17:7) is what Jesus says after revealing the deepest truth about who he is to his disciples. The disciples were with Jesus on the Mount of Tabor, and there they saw Jesus in his Glory and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt who he was. They were drawn into the intimacy of that knowledge which sustained them for the rest of their lives. It sustained them as they risked their lives in witness to Jesus.

Jesus has revealed himself to each of us in deeply personal and unique ways. He has created a dwelling within our hearts. As we ponder how to remain calm and have no fear it can be very helpful to remain with Jesus. Remain with him in that space in your heart that he has carved out over the years. He is continually inviting you there. While you are involved in your busy commute to work spend time within – with Jesus. Remain with Him, give Him honor and glory. When you meet others contemplate the facet of God that is revealed in that person. Each person is giving us a glimpse of God we would otherwise never see. Go within that carved out spot in your heart and spend time pondering the glimpse of God revealed in each person you will meet today.

St. Teresa of Avilawhose Feast is on the 15th of this month had a particularly clear understanding of this place within. She speaks beautifully of theInteriorCastle, an interior place to be with His Majesty – the Lord. A quiet place that you come to know well. A place that you take every effort to fortify. A place in which His Majesty, the Lord, is given every honor and glory possible by the soul.

St. Teresa of Avila says “Nothing can be compared to the great beauty and capabilities of a soul; however keen our intellects may be, they are as unable to comprehend them as to comprehend God, for, as He told us, He created us in his own image and likeness. The Interior Castle

Let nothing disturb thee,
Let nothing affright thee;
All passeth away:
God only shall stay.
Patience wins all:
Who hath God, needeth nothing;
For God is his All.

–  St. Teresa of Avila, Exclamations of the Soul to God

Do not be afraid! Stand firm and you will see what the Lord will do to rescue you today. The Lord Himself will fight for you; you only have to keep still. Rise and have no fear. As Fall begins and time marches on, stand firm in the interior place that Jesus has made in your heart. Remain in Him and with Him there. We are living in incredible times. As we continue to serve many vulnerable pregnant women we are seeing that the Lord is pouring out graces on so many in abundance. We know that He is also pouring graces out upon you. By removing the fears, you will find yourself open to all He has in store for you.