Deacon Antonio: Acknowledge the Fear and Do it AnywayJuly 24, 2012 No Comments
July 24, 2012 / MariaNews.com
Acknowledge the Fear and Do it Anyway
By Deacon Antonio Sandoval
Are you afraid to witness in defense of the unborn and other victims of injustice? Are you afraid to take a stand in favor of the teachings of Jesus and against the popular currents of a secular culture destructive to life and family? Are you afraid to speak the truth boldly and with love, the truth that will not only set you free, but also guarantee real freedom even to the opponents of the truth? Are you afraid to join the struggle to restore justice, peace and brotherhood among all people for fear that you might lose? Most times it is better to have tried and lost, than never to have tried at all. By our efforts we may inspire someone with similar ideals to succeed. Surely we will learn from our mistakes and do better the second or third time around. Or do you prefer to stay with the status quo, and just go along with the flow. G. K. Chesterton once said that the only creature that goes with the flow is a dead one.
I once had a book on how to overcome fear. (“Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Dr. Susan Jeffers) Essentially the author said that the only way to overcome fear is to do what we fear doing. (Of course there are some healthy fears of things that could only do us harm. Those we should avoid). Dr. Jeffers also said that we should make a detailed inventory of all that we have of value, for example, marriage, family, friends, relationships, health, talents, education, profession, possessions, spiritual values, etc. This will remind us that if doing what we ought to do, causes us to lose something, we will still have most of what is important. This will help to minimize the fear.
Did you ever wonder why martyrs approached their martyrdom with undaunted courage? They were in danger of death, treated like sheep to be slaughtered, but they knew that nothing could separate them from the love of God, their most important value. In the words of St. Paul they could say, “… In all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love, neither death nor life, neither angels nor heavenly rulers… there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God” (Rom 8: 37-39).
St. Ignatius of Loyola in his Fourteen Rules for Living the Discerning Life essentially says that we are in the middle of a struggle between the Good Spirit and the Bad Spirit. The Bad Spirit approaches us through the imagination with “convincing obstacles”, such as fear, to prevent us from doing what we ought to do, while the Good Spirit approaches us through reason to guide us in the right path. The struggle within us creates in us periods of spiritual desolation and periods of spiritual consolation. Discernment consists in knowing what Spirit is acting on us, whether we are desolation or consolation and knowing what action to take.
The challenges we face from the culture of death and a secularized society are very great. We must pray for a continuous outpouring of God’s perfect love to purify us of all fear and fill us with apostolic courage to give the world the Good News of Jesus. Like the martyrs, we must constantly reaffirm that nothing can separate us from the Love of God. Let us always march with the confidence that with God’s help, we shall overcome.
A set of DVDs of classes taught by Father Gallagher on Living the Discerning Life can be obtained from ewtn.com/religiouscatalogue
[Read more by Deacon Antonio here
Antonio is a retired deacon in the Archdiocese of Denver. Last September his wife, Maud, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer. They were told that she didn’t have long to live. Since she is 83 years old, they decided to refuse the chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Last October they were sent to Hospice. They have now been there for 8 months. Antonio’s wife is not experiencing the symptoms of multiple myeloma other than the fact that she cannot move and has to stay in bed all the time. She is also in the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease. You prayers will be appreciated. Antonio spends the entire day with his wife.
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