Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Part 2: Fear Is A Tool Of The Devil

In Part 1 of this blog post [HERE], I discussed Pope Francis' recently homily he gave regarding the dangers of living in fear. I showed that the motivation of true followers of Christ is love. God does not deal in fear. Fear comes from the devil. As II Timothy 1:7 says, "For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment."

I also said in this post that much of the Catholic Internet is motivated by fear: fear of the world, fear of changes in the church, fear of church authority, fear of one another. In my opinion the poster boy for all of this fear mongering is Michael Voris. His entire "apostolate" (which his bishop forbids him to label as "Catholic") is based upon instilling fear into his followers. A recent Vortex episode illustrates this in magnificent Voris form. This Vortex is entitled, "It's In the Eyes".

Part 1: Fear Is A Tool of the Devil

When the Church is fearful and when the Church does not receive the joy of the Holy Spirit, the Church is sick, the communities are sick, the faithful are sick.
Pope Francis
The ascension of Jesus, which we just celebrated, is a time to recognize the complete victory of Christ over sin and death, when He ascends to heaven to sit beside the Father and intercede for us.  I found an additional message in Pentecost this year.  I felt Jesus is also telling us, "Do not fear."  

From the gospel of the day, Mark 16:15-18,  the words spoken by Jesus Christ to His disciples before ascending:
Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.
Caption:  Snake handling at Pentecostal Church of God, Lejunior, Harlan County, Kentucky
September 15, 1946 (
National Archives and Records Administration).Photo by Russell Lee.
Some people have taken this scripture quite literally and have actually made a religion of handling deadly snakes believing that they cannot be physically harmed.   This, of course, is not the meaning behind this verse at all.  This verse tells us that as Christ's disciples living in a sinful world, we will be constantly surrounded and threatened by enemies threatening to destroy us.  But Christ is telling us that as long as we trust in Him, no spiritual harm can ever come to us.  Our Lord told us, His disciples. that we can face our enemies boldly and unafraid, knowing that we are already victors over all of our enemies through the Cross.  We don't even need to fear our ultimate enemy, death, because Christ has won the victory for us.
The world will persecute you, but have courage, I have overcome the world, alleluia.
Roman Breviary
Fear is never a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  On the contrary, fear is a powerful tool of the devil.

Pope Francis talked about the negative consequences of fear in a recent homily in St. Martha's House [HERE]:
“Fear,” Francis said, “is an attitude that harms us. It weakens us, it diminishes us. It even paralyzes us.” A person who is afraid “does nothing, doesn’t know what to do.” He is focused on himself, so that nothing bad will happen.” Fear “brings you to a self-centred selfishness and paralyzes you.”
Fear, as Pope Francis said, is primarily concerned with self, which is the opposite of love.  I John 4:18 says: "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."

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