On this Feast of St. John Paul the Great, I’ve been thinking of three of his most famous words. “Be Not Afraid!” Considering that he spoke many, many words and ALL of them were worth hearing, it’s ironic that we can boil it down to these three. But these three words are so relevant for us today.
I have no intention or desire to wax eloquent of this tumultuous election season, but I do think that Christians are, at times like this, gripped with fear. I hear everyone plotting their run to the hills. Let’s be self sufficient, let’s abandon society. But we have to remember that we have been called to be IN this world. Yes, not of it, but most certainly in it. We also have to remember that this is the journey, not the destination.
I heartedly embrace the idea of self sufficiency. The ability to grow food, defend our families, and function apart form the “they” are all necessary skills. But they aren’t the end itself. Faith, God, Our Heavenly home is the end. We must have the knowledge necessary to carry on in this world and the faith to withstand the trials.
Those of us who grew up as children of the late twentieth century were raised knowing John Paul as THE pope. Not a pope in a line of many, but the one and only from the time we were born and into adulthood. That’s a unique position to be in. I believe we are the first generation in history to grow up with the same pope. His important words, Be Not Afraid, ring in our ears. They are the armor he gave us to withstand this time.
Be Not Afraid of what is to come. We must prepare, but we also must not run. Don’t be foolish; fill you larders, save your seeds. But never sit back in fear. We are called to move forwards, bravely, to fight this good fight.
We need to arm ourselves with knowledge and console ourselves with faith. God prevails.