The recent canonization of Saint John Paul II offers an impetus to reflect on both his life and his papacy. The Pope’s leadership of the Catholic Church was exemplified by his signature phrase “Be not afraid!” Yet, what exactly was he exhorting the faithful to face without fear?
Pope John Paul II first uttered this often repeated phrase on October 22, 1978, in St. Peter’s Square in his first address as Pontiff. In discussing this theme in the book Crossing the Threshold of Hope, Pope John Paul II recalls these words as inspired by the Holy Spirit. He goes on to say that they are addressed to all people in all parts of the world as an exhortation to conquer fear in whatever situation the temporal world presents. Such courage is possible where there is faith in God’s love and mercy, as demonstrated in the Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord.
“Be not afraid!” does not suggest that faith will prevent challenges and suffering. Rather, faith will sustain hope in the face of suffering and guard against despair. When looking at contemporary assaults on a Culture of Life it is clear that they are rooted in fear.
Read the full article and see how this exhortation can be applied to all the assaults on a Culture of Life.