Life can certainly give us a few failures and disappointments. At times, these can leave bad memories and scars on our soul. We remember these events and fear repeating them, or letting them be repeated. Walls and barriers go up around our heart and obsessive caution is the rule of the day. In such an environment, however, there’s no air to breathe and our life is defined by the anxiety of potential evils.
Our local concerns are accentuated by national and worldwide economic troubles, questions of security, and stability in seeking peace.
Fear is certainly a contagious spirit. It lives to spread itself and take over hearts.
Is this how we are to live? Is there nothing beyond mere damage control?
Our discipleship offers us a different worldview and way of life. It reminds us that we are free to worship God without fear, knowing of his love and goodness toward us. It shows us that we are also able to approach others without fear.
By drawing close to God, we can build bridges to those around us. Our confidence in God can empower us to see the possible good in life, and not just the feared evil.
Our discipleship gives us a foundation and a springboard to reach out and live life to the fullest, without fear and anxiety.
When failure and distress come, our discipleship leads us to God and to the virtue of others. We are free to hope beyond ourselves, in God and in others.
Our discipleship also allows us to change our lives, and even to suffer so that we may become better people for our own sakes’ and for those around us.
The weakness of lying is made strong by the tempering of integrity. The difficulty of an unforgiving spirit is healed by compassion and kindness. We are free to accept these crosses and not to fear our own weakness or the judgment of others.
In a world that at times encourages us to create masks and facades and to die behind them, our discipleship calls us to remove such things and to be ourselves. In a world that at times seems paralyzed by uncertainty, our discipleship calls us to love others and work for justice.
Our discipleship teaches us not to fear the disapproval, failure, or criticism of those around us, or the weaknesses and failure within us. It shows us our place and the role we can play in seeking goodness in our world. Our discipleship calls us to live life fully and to be without fear.
Father Kirby is the parochial vicar at St. Mary Help of Christians Church in Aiken.