As one who must deal regularly with fear, I found this piece by Father Bede Jarrett to be so helpful, and I hope you do, too.

Fear is a weakness and a strength, a sin and a virtue.  For most, it is probably an evil, since human nature shrinks from present pain and is the more vividly afraid of what more immediately threatens.  For that reason, it would appear that man is more likely to be too much, than too little, afraid in life.  No doubt there are many who need to be more circumspect, more cautious; but these adventurous spirits are fewer in comparison than those who find in the life of the soul too much matter for depression and discouragement.

Naturally the real determinant a to whether fear is legitimate is to be sought in ascertaining the object of fear: Obviously the whole question is: “What exactly is it of which I am afraid?” . . .

What signs can I look for to discriminate between the right and wrong fear?  This surely is the infallible test: the fear that is really and truly from God should take me nearer and nearer to his feet; a fear that keeps me from his presence and holds me at arm’s length from him can never be his gift . . .

So, then, the true fear of God should hold me to his love and his reverence.  It must prevent me from turning away from the pathway of his commandments, nor should it further disturb the peace and serenity of my soul, nor torture my conscience nor bruise the tenderness of love or lead the enemies of God to speak of him reproachfully.  I may know what is a false fear of God, for it will lead me from him.

The context of holiness

Digging into my 600 page journal last night and I found some gems from Fr. Marc Foley’s book, The Context of Holiness.  I’ll share them over the next few posts.  Hope they encourage you as they do me.

Becoming an adult does not mean that the deep emotional wounds of childhood disappear. Rather, being an adult means  choosing to make courageous decisions in the face of powerful emotions.


When she [Thérèse] was assigned a job [as novice mistress] that she thought was too much for her to handle, she felt overwhelmed, incompetent, unqualified, and inadequate . . .

However, Thérèse does not apologize for her fears.  She does not berate herself for feeling like a child; rather her fears and insecurities are the context within which she places her trust in God.  It is as if Thérèse is saying to all of us: ‘There are many situations in life that trigger the deep-seated fears of childhood.  I have come to see that this is a normal part of daily life.  I have also come to see that our childhood wounds are not obstacles to our spiritual growth but are in some mysterious manner the path on which we find our way back to God.  The deep-seated fears of my life have forced me to abandon my self-sufficiency and to rely upon the grace of God.’

Nada te Turbe

“Nada te Turbe”–“Let nothing disturb you” (Teresa of Avila)  sung by a virtual choir of Carmelites!

Translation of lyrics:

Let nothing disturb you

Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you,
everything passes,
but God stays.
Pacience reaches it all;
he who has God
nothing lacks:
God alone suffices.

Lift your thinking,
raise up to heaven,
let nothing anguish you,
let nothing disturb you.

Follow Jesus Christ
with an open heart,
and, no matter what may come,
let nothing frighten you.

See the glory of the world?
It’s vainglory;
it is not everlasting,
everything passes.

Yearn for the celestial
that lasts forever:
faithful and rich in promisses,
God doesn’t change.

Love it the way it deserves
inmense kindness;
but there is not fine love
without the patience.

Confidence and alive faith
let the soul mantain,
that he who believes and hopes 1.
reaches it all.

Although harassed by hell
one may see himself,
he who has God
will defeat its rage.

Come abandonment,
crosses, misfortune;
God being your treasure,
you lack nothing.

Go, then, wordly goods
go, vain happiness;
even if everything is lost
God alone suffices.

Let Him have you

From a letter from Helen Roseveare to a struggling paraplegic friend:

“Going back to your letter-you have said, ‘It’s one thing not to know His purposes for my life, but it’s another matter not to know what He wants of me.’ No, no! That is the next step in the darkness.  We do not have to know anything except that He is El-Shaddai–He is the great Almighty Creator God who loves me and loves you, and in some amazing way, who has chosen us to be part of His program.  He does NOT have to explain to us how or when or in what way. Let Him have YOU, all of you, all your thought processes, all your desperate desire to understand, to know the meaning of this whole protracted process. Stop hankering to know what He is not choosing to explain to you yet.Oh,how relatively easy to write that, but how infinitely harder to put it into practice. Give over to Him the longing for the joy and peace of the past. Just let Him be the ALL for you in the present.”