When pondering how God repeats a certain theme or message in the Scriptures to stress its importance, I found an information gem from an online reference source. The King James version of the bible includes the phrase, “be not afraid,” 29 times. The New American Standard Bible includes, “do not fear,” 57 times and, “do not be afraid,” 46 times. Some assert that, “fear not,” and similar phrases are present in the bible 365 times.
Pope St. John Paul II began his papacy with the cry, “Be not afriad!” An often repeated segment from a talk given by then Cardinal Wojtyla when he was in the USA in 1976 heralded our current struggle.
“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence; it is a trial which the whole Church, and the Polish Church in particular, must take up.
It is a trial of not only our nation and the Church, but in a sense, a test of 2,000 years of culture and Christian civilization with all of its consequences for human dignity, individual rights, human rights and the rights of nations.”
Recent headlines and news excerpts provide more evidence of this “greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced,” this civil war being fought on societal and cultural norms.
Our country, our world and, as you all must see around you, individuals and families are going through severe trials. We must choose, in the face of pervasive evil, to fear not, to have faith and to embrace trust. I continue to hear accounts witnessing to the power of the Prayer of Miraculous Trust so I remind us all to reach for it and pray it with firm resolve to choose trust. As the ugliness vents, erupting and spewing all around us, remember the Surrender Novena and its fruit, bearing Christ’s Peace amidst great turmoil. Just yesterday, Pope Francis reminded us of another shield against evil which brings direction, consolation and strength: the Word of God. It has been said that reading the Sacred Scriptures is a powerful medicine. Anyone on maintenance meds knows the need for the daily dose(s). Our Holy Father suggests we treat the bible as we treat our cellphones: check our bibles as often as we check our cellphones.