My Thoughts

Jesus said it—twenty-one times: “Be not afraid.” Pope Saint John Paul II entitled a book he wrote with those three words. He said it, “I plead with you… never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt said much the same: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Nothing wrong with that, absolutely nothing. So why then is it so terrifyingly appalling when President Trump tells us to be not afraid? I don’t get it, I don’t.

I have experienced fear in my seven decades and nearly four years on God’s green earth, anyone who has served in the military, married, had children—and lost a child or seen a spouse or child suffer a grave illness, been unemployed, been in a serious accident, faced life-ending health situations knows what fear is and how it shakes you to the core. At the same time, those who have known and faced their fears will readily admit that the best advice one can receive is found in those three words: Be not afraid … for He is always with you.

Perhaps, just maybe, the reason so many are afraid is because they have forgotten, forgotten that He is always there to lift you up and see you through your fears. By and large we refuse to carry the cross we are asked to carry—we deny the necessary burden, we are unwilling to take any risk, suffer the pain incurred through honest effort, or live with the hope for a better day which awaits us if we give our fears up to the One who Loves us. Life is a constant test, a risky business; there are no safe passages, only unseen obstacles beyond tomorrow. Life without risk is death and with death there are no tomorrows.

We are living in evil times, bombarded everyday by the ideologies of evil. Pope Saint John Paul II when asked how these ideologies of evil originate, what were the roots of nazism and communism, and why did they fail, knew these questions of profound and theological significance. “We need to reconstruct the “philosophy of evil” … This reconstruction will take us beyond the realm of ideology and into the world of faith. We need to consider the mystery of God, the mystery of creation and, in particular, the mystery of man.”[1] We no longer consider these mysteries for we have come to believe we have all the answers; man has become the master and all of creation δοῦλος, doulos, the slave. If we think of the divine, we think of ourselves. After all, what’s God got to do with anything? The sainted pope goes on note that in the wake of the Enlightenment, people began to abandon “Christianity as a source for philosophizing.”

Specifically, the very possibility of attaining to God was placed in question. According to the logic of cogito, ergo sum, God was reduced to an element within human consciousness; no longer could he be considered the ultimate explanation of the human sum. … The God of Revelation had ceased to exist as “God of the philosophers.” All that remained was the idea of God, a topic for free exploration by human thought.

In this way, the foundations of the “philosophy of evil” also collapsed. Evil, in a realist sense, can only exists in relation to good and, in particular, in relation to God, the supreme Good. This is the evil of which the Book of Genesis speaks. It is from this perspective that original sin can be understood, and likewise all personal sin. This evil was redeemed by Christ on the Cross. To be more precise, man was redeemed and came to share in the life of God through Christ’s saving work. All this, the entire drama of salvation history, had disappeared as far as the Enlightenment was concerned. Man remained alone: alone as creator of his own history and his own civilization; alone as one who decides what is good and what is bad, as one who would exist and operate etsi Deus non daretur, even if there were no God.

If man can decide by himself, without God, what is good and what is bad, he can also determine that a group of people is to be annihilated.[2]

Here again, the pope, until then speaking of the evils of nazism and communism (and the other related isms: socialism, fascism, progressivism, humanism) added to the list of present evils rising throughout the west.

At this point, we cannot remain silent regarding a tragic question this is more pressing today than ever. The fall of the regimes built on ideologies of evil put an end to the forms of extermination just mentioned in the countries concerned. However, there remains the legal extermination of human beings conceived but unborn. And in this case, that extermination is decreed by democratically elected parliaments, which invoke the notion of civil progress for society and all humanity. Nor are other grave violations of God’s law lacking. … It is legitimate and even necessary to ask whether this is not the work of another ideology of evil, more subtle and hidden, perhaps, intent upon exploiting human rights themselves against man and against the family.[3]   

It takes little imagination to see much of this evil in the current progressive, leftist democrat platform. Evil lurks in the hearts and minds of everyone, it is in our nature, but of such evil we must not fear; trust in God, be not afraid for He is always with you.

Wake up America.

Just my thoughts for a Wednesday, for what it is worth.

[1] Pope Saint John Paul II, Memory and Identity: Conversations at the Dawn of a Millennium (New York, NY: Rizzoli International Publications, 2005), 2. Ideologies of Evil, 5.

[2] Memory and Identity, 10.

[3] Memory and Identity, 11.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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