“Fear, by its very nature, brings division, tears us apart, and makes us doubt the goodness of God,” says Fr. Bill Peckman, Missouri pastor and author.
Why do we give in to fear? It can be due to a “fear that somehow God’s not enough, God’s will is not enough and that God’s love is insufficient to give us the things that we need in this life. And you go back to the garden—that was the initial temptation. This understanding that somehow God’s holding back on you and not letting you eat of this one tree. Instilling this doubt and fear … [Adam and Eve] act on that fear and take from the tree,” says Fr. Peckman.
A common fear among Catholics is the fear of speaking about our Faith and evangelizing others. “Sometimes what the Devil will do is find a seed of truth. A lot of times we don’t evangelize because we feel that we don’t know our Faith as well as we should, and with that little bit of what might well be true, instead of doing the corrective measures to find out more about our Faith, we allow that fear … to get in the way,” says Fr. Peckman. This keeps us from getting involved in “one of the central parts of the mission of Jesus Christ.”
Fear can also be a driving force behind people rejecting a call to a priestly or religious vocation. The person who is being called to a religious vocation may fear, “What am I going to miss out on if I follow God’s will? What is going to be said about me?” This fear can also extend to parents, says Fr. Peckman, who worry about if their child will be happy or what people will say about their family. These fears reject the idea that God’s will is sufficient.
The antidote to fear? Fortitude. “That cardinal virtue, that Gift of the Holy Spirit that’s given to us to stand up when we need to stand up and to trust in the goodness of God,” explains Fr. Peckman. It’s important to understand “that if He wishes for us to go into a direction—whether it be evangelization or vocations—that it’s to our good and to the good of those around us.”
Lord, free us from fear. Jesus, I trust in You!