Do not fear what may happen tomorrow. The same loving Father who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow and everyday. Either he will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings. - St. Francis de Sales
(Scripture text: 1 Jn 4:11-18)
Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.
This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us,
that he has given us of his Spirit.
Moreover, we have seen and testify
that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world.
Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God remains in him and he in God.
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.
God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.
In this is love brought to perfection among us,
that we have confidence on the day of judgment
because as he is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love,
but perfect love drives out fear
because fear has to do with punishment,
and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.
Love and Fear – these two emotions seem to be the themes of today’s reading. While I could easily just talk about love, today I feel compelled to address the harder question, how is fear the opposite of love?
What I think St. Paul is getting at is that crippling fear, fear that leads us to inaction, is the opposite of love. Love is action. It physically connects us with both others and God. As St. Paul states, “love is brought to perfection in us… love is brought to perfection among us.” Love is not letting fears keep us stagnant and isolated. Love addresses the emotion of fear but does not give into it, even when our life is on the line. While Jesus did fear the crucifixion, he did not let it cripple him from performing the ultimate act of love.
So as we reflect on today’s scripture passage, let us take some time to address those main fears that hinder us from ACTING with love.
Maybe you’re afraid of being insulted. Maybe you’re afraid of offending someone. Maybe you’re afraid that you will be hurt – socially, emotionally, or maybe even physically. Maybe if we take today to address and pray about our fears, maybe we will be able to recognize and overcome them the next time they arise.
Christ really does live in you. You really are his representative in this world.
So be confident!
The love that you crave is already in your heart.