There seems to be a pandemic of fear in the world today.
We live in unsettling times-a health pandemic, political unrest, social upheaval and disastrous circumstances in the church.
Unfortunately, in troubled times there are always some folks who latch on to the deep motivating power of fear.
Fear resides like a monster under the bed in all of our lives. This fear is inchoate and un-named. It simply IS. It is part of the foundations of our lives as humans. What is this fear? It is the shadow caused by our existence. Because we are alive we are aware of death. Because we ARE the possibility of not BEING lurks like a wolf at the door. The void is always there on the edge of consciousness. The chaos lurks and stirs just beyond our well ordered lives.
Because it is nameless, however, the Fear constantly seeks an object. We need the Fear to have a face, so we believe we are afraid of this or that or something else. The Fear sometimes surfaces as an objective mental disorder like paranoia, however, for most of us the fear does not dominate so much. Instead it motivates other behaviors. It motivates us to be constantly restless and complaining. It motivates us to always be finding something wrong with our lives. It motivates us to then blame others for what is wrong.
Somebody somewhere is always WRONG and we can’t beat that because we are afraid of being WRONG because we are afraid of not BEING at all. We associate our BEING with BEING good and part of being good is to be right about everything.
Because of this disordered emotional and mental state we can’t help blaming others for the problems we perceive. This manic dynamic within human nature is then plundered by preachers and politicians to spread their message. I am so weary of preachers who capitalize on the human tendency to wallow in fear and blame others.
Thy have their YouTube channel, their blog, their pulpit or their podcast and instead of promoting faith, hope and charity they promote doubt, despair and fear. They feed the fear and know that their audience, always lusting after bad news will tomorrow be hungry for more so tomorrow they find something else to worry over, some other bone to gnaw on like some scavenger beast hunched in his cave, having hauled home another carcass.
Why all the hype about the terrible times in which we live? We have always lived in terrible times. There never has been a golden age since the gates of Eden were guarded. I recorded a 23 part podcast series on the history of the church called Triumphs and Tragedies so folks could learn that in every age over the last 2000 years the church has lurched from one crisis to another. Always the agony. Always the ecstasy. Always the power. Always the glory. We should get used to it. Troubled times and troubled souls are the default setting. It’s how we’re wired.
One of the ways to deal with the un-named, faceless Fear is to put out trust not in popes or priests–certainly not in princes and politicians, but in the Prince of Peace. Remember the remedy for Fear. “Perfect Love Casts Out Fear” (I Jn 4:18) and where will you find perfect love?
In the sacred heart of the Crucified. This feast is celebrated on Friday. It is the Feastday of Perfect Love.