Let us stay alert (1 Thes 5, 6)
Jesus keeps urging us, “Do not be afraid.” He does not want our hearts to be troubled or frightened.
But without doubt we give away, not infrequently, our faintheartedness. It is as though we had received a spirit of slavery and cowardice.
My cowardice shows up in the way I cling to my so very insufficient securities and to my pettiness. To protect them, I locked myself in my little shell; I do not go out to open myself to so many opportunities to attain my full potential. No doubt, I am not altogether different from those characterized by St. Vincent de Paul as “the licentious who only seek to enjoy themselves and do not bother about anything else, so long as they have something to eat” (Coste XII: 92).
Fear often results from a servile attitude. If I mistake God for a harsh master who instills fear and only motivates through beatings, I will hardly have the initiative to be enterprising with the assets he has put me in charge of. And the longer his return is delayed, the less I will care.
But, then, my vision of an enslaving God could only be a projection of my own proclivity to be demanding, to harvest where I do not plant, to gather where I do not scatter. It is possible too that my self-confessed fear is merely a defense mechanism, unable that I am to admit my inadequacies, my negligence and my laziness.
On the other hand, those who cry out, “Abba, Father,” are grateful to him for his call, his attention and his trust. Their gratitude translates into constant efforts, so that their righteousness may surpass that of the self-righteous.
These good and faithful servants proclaim the word, are persistent whether convenient or inconvenient. They always rely on Providence, put up with hardship, are dedicated to evangelization, and fulfill their ministry. Their hearts are “on fire with love for this ministry of assisting poor people and for devoting” themselves “earnestly to it because their needs are dire and God expects it” of them (Coste XII:82). They know that if God increases their work, he will also increase their strength (XII:93).
And the more they participate in the Eucharist, the more these worthy women and vigilant men long for the coming of the Lord, who “will gird himself, have them recline at table and proceed to wait on them.”
Lord, grant us your Spirit that will give us power, love and prudence to bear our share of hardship for the Gospel.
Ross Reyes Dizon