Author Marianne Williamson in her book “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles” said: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.”
“Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. As we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
When Jesus was preparing his disciples to proclaim his message of love, he knew the fears that lurk in their minds and he tried to convince them of their worth in the eyes of God. They hear him say three times that they should not be afraid.
The prophet Jeremiah expressed his very real fears to the Lord. Jeremiah has tried to follow the Lord but he experiences sarcasm and ridicule from even his so-called friends. His prayer showed confidence that ultimately his life is safe in God’s hands. The prophets often felt afraid in the presence of mocking crowds, but they intuitively knew that their worth cannot be taken from them. True value lies in their relationship with the Lord who is always faithful.
In Matthew’s gospel, the author relates how Jesus comforts his small band of followers, assuring them that they are known by a Father who watches over them. He wants his disciples to preach the good news to all who will listen.
They are reminded that they can trust in the word of God. They can face opposition if they can believe in God’s inner presence. This is their way to rise above fear. Some disciples will be mocked and put to the test and even killed. Yet their witness will sustain the great project of faith that is the Church. It will prove that we cannot earn self-worth from human beings but is to be found in the love of God.
Everyone who is baptized is a child of God. We sustain each other in faith. As Marianne Williamson puts it, “We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us; it’s in everyone. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
We each have the potential to live in the love of God rather than out of our own fears. The fact that the prophets and closest followers of Jesus endured moments of doubt shows us that a certain amount of fear is to be expected when facing the world. Even if something bad happens to us, we still have the promise that Jesus is by our side.
Think of the last time that we let our fears dominate us. Were we concerned how others saw us? Fear creates distance between people and can even cause anger and hostility. Think of an angry or violent person. We are looking at a frightened individual living out of the darkness of fear. Do not be afraid. We are worth more than we could ever know.
Our mission is to proclaim the love of God to a broken and fearful world. Not everyone will listen. Yet we must have the confidence to witness to the truth, trusting always in the love of God made manifest in Jesus his Son. •