It is the suffocator of generosity and trust. Faith, hope and love are the only source of strength for the heart to genuinely dispel fear. Where do these come from? From the source of all goodness- God.
So what is faith? Why does faith matter? Even on a secular level ‘faith matters!’ Faith is a doorway to the other side of fear. I don’t know why a plane flies, but I have faith in the engineers that built it and the pilot who flies it. I don’t know for sure if following isolation guidelines will keep me safe but I have faith in the authorities and trust that they are giving me information’ in good faith.’ To live without faith or belief is to live in a maelstrom on uncertainty and a constant expectation of the worst. To live without faith is to live in exile from relationship with the world and creation. Faith in God is a sacred threshold. It is the threshold from fear to hope.
I read a statement recently: ‘Hope is not a strategy.’ I disagree with this. Hope is a strategy. It is not a strategy to do something, but it is a strategy of ‘being.’ To live in hope is to live from a position of faith- is to live with a view to the horizon, to hope that the best is yet to come. Without faith, without believing in something, the human person is left static in hopelessness, despair and a miasma of fatality. Hope does not come before faith. One can only have hope when you believe in something. If I believe every child can learn then I can hope to transform that child’s life. If I believe and have faith in a God who is steadfast in love, mercy, justice, forgiveness then I can hope for a world transformed by this rather than one torn apart by despair, desolation and the sinister destruction brought about by fear. Fear paralyses - hope frees. Hope releases the soul and signposts a light in the darkness.
Christ through his incarnation brings the confirmation of God’s love for us, that we are not forgotten, that like Jesus we are called into the substance of God’s being because he suffers with us as only one who loves can suffer in empathy and totality. That steadfast love, the mercy that soothes the wounded soul, allows the heart to fly beyond the things which bring us pain and anchor us in hell- the place without the promise of love. There is nothing more that the human spirit longs for than to belong in love. When you know you are loved - no matter what- you have nothing to fear.
This is why faith in God matters, because the material world by its nature will let us down- we will age, we will lose those we love, we will disappoint, disease does happen, friends abandon us- but God does not. God has counted every hair on our heads. When all our good works are forgotten, when the memories of who we are have faded in the frailty of the human mind, when the statues raised of us are torn down, if we die quietly and unnoticed by the world - Gods promise is clear- do not be afraid for I am with you. You are mine. You are not alone. I will never forget you, just as a mother cannot forget her child.
God waits, loves and welcomes always. So have faith in Gods proclamation- do not be afraid. Allow this to bring you hope in your saddest darkest moments, because love conquers all. It is the flower which shatters the stone of fear.
Matthew 10: 26-33
This reading is a proclamation : “Do not be afraid. “