To be Christian is to be fearless

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THAT’S right! If we are truly and consistently Christian, fear would have no place in our heart other than that wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit himself that is the fear of the Lord, which is a healthy kind of fear. The fear of the Lord is the fear of offending God that would lead anyone to prefer to die for Christ rather than to sin.

We are reminded of this truth of our faith in that moving story of the first disciple to be martyred, St. Stephen, whose feast is celebrated the day after Christmas. He was martyred purely out of envy—some men could not stand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke in their debates. (cfr. Acts 6,8-10.54-59)

With Christ, we really would have no reason to fear, nor to wallow in worries, anxieties and sadness. Christ himself has reassured us in this regard: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16,33) Let’s also remember that these unfortunate states are fertile ground for the enemies of our soul, especially the devil, to take advantage of us.

About the only reason to fear, worry and be sad is when we lose our faith, when we lose touch with God. We have to pray and pray so that our doubts and fears would not undermine our faith.

What also helps is to develop a sporting attitude in life, because, to be realistic about it, we will always have frustrations, disappointments, mistakes, failures, sins and defeats in our life. But we just have to learn how to move on, just like a good sportsman.

We should always be cheerful in life, and strive to show it even externally with smiles and happy, warm and encouraging dispositions. Even in our grief and mourning, we should manage to learn how to be serene, knowing that suffering and death have already been redeemed by Christ and are now endowed with redemptive power.

Let’s not waste time and energy by falling into the grips of fears, worries and sadness. When we notice that we are having some languid moments, it can be a sign that our faith is not working, and that we are succumbing to the laws of the flesh and the world, if not, to the tricks of the devil.

Especially in our dark and difficult moments, which these days are not anymore uncommon, when we feel so miserable that we can think that we have been deserted by God, we need to react immediately and reassure ourselves strongly that God never fails us.

It might be a good idea to rally the power of our faith that tells us that God takes care of everything. There is really nothing to worry even if we are made to suffer, since that suffering, if united to that of Christ, becomes something purifying and redemptive not only to oneself but also to everybody else.

It might be a good idea to come up with the different arguments of our faith to buoy up our drooping spirit that is weighed down by our many challenges in this life. God is a God of mercy and compassion. He will take up all our suffering more than us bearing them ourselves alone.

We really have no reason to fear. If ever it comes as a spontaneous reaction to some situations, it should not be allowed to stay with us for long.