Love Over Fear
Pope Francis calls us to holiness. One sign of holiness, he says, is “boldness and passion”. Pope Francis continues: “Boldness is the impulse to leave a mark in this world. To allow us to do this, Jesus himself comes and tells us once more, serenely yet firmly: ‘Do not be afraid’”.
Fear can paralyze us. It did not paralyze Mary. Our Lady is a beautiful example of “perfect love casts out fear”. Her visit to Elisabeth meant a ninety mile journey. Some, in her condition, would have second thoughts. But we are told: Mary “went in haste”. Her love, her joy, her faith inspired her.
Many ordinary people, not only saints, show us what “love casts out fear” really means.
One such person is a Passionist by the name of Fr. Rick. He has spent over thirty years of his priesthood in Haiti. Very often that country is unsettled either because of violence or poverty or storms. It does not deter him He ministers to the people not only as a priest but also as a doctor. Fr. Rick has established a hospital as well as an orphanage. As He wrote: “I spend the lion’s share of my time in front line work”. Some might fear what the future will bring. But for Fr. Rick “love casts out fear”.
Pope Francis once wrote: “How often we are tempted to stay close to shore. The Lord calls us to put out into the deep and let down our nets. Boldness and apostolic courage are an essential part of mission”. Cardinal Henry Newman said of himself: “God has created me to do him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission. I shall do good. I shall do his work”.
Fr. Rick has that apostolic courage, as did Cardinal Newman. Both followed the example of Mary. Fear did not hold them back “Love casts out fear”.
Fr. Theodore Walsh, C.P.