Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
January 27, 2008
Uncovering the Fear Within Ourselves
The year 2008 will go down in our American history books as one truly exceptional with respect to our election process. There is a reason for this. People have finally come out of their apathy and have decided to come to the fore in an effort to bring about “change”. What this may mean on the political scene is one thing. What we should probably be more concerned with is what “change” needs to happen on an individual basis.
Jean Vanier, the founder of an international network of communities for the mentally disabled, has come to terms with many issues which affect the peace and happiness of individuals. He has written extensively on issues that pertain to social, emotional and spiritual health. It would probably be in our better interest to reflect on the following aspect of Vanier’s writings.
“One of the major problems in our lives,” Vanier writes, “is that we experience a deep feeling of violence within ourselves. If we fail to look at this problem we will never be able to live in peace with ourselves or with anyone else for that matter. It is no wonder that we seem to be constantly at war with other nations. One way to discover the feeling of violence within ourselves is to ask ourselves: What do we fear? “What are we most frightened of? Is it fear of not being loved? Is it fear of death? What is it that we are frightened of? The reason this is so important is because, from fear and anguish can rise hate and from hate can rise war.”
Of course, there are many types of fears. We must take some time to discover our personal fear. Are we afraid to lose control, to lose our independence, our self-respect, our financial standing? The other question that we can ask ourselves in relation to this problem is: Other than ourselves, who or what seems to be most responsible for making us vulnerable? These are all questions that we must come to terms with if we are to be at peace with ourselves.
Vanier continues by telling us that “we must learn how to look into our fears because we cannot let ourselves be controlled by fear. We have to look our fears right in the face and we can’t always do it by ourselves. We need to be helped, because if we can’t look death and failure in the face, well, then we can never live because to live means to risk, to do things, to have projects which might fail, which might go wrong. We cannot to totally secure for everything; we must discover inside ourselves this power that we have been given to receive the Holy Spirit.”
Perhaps the message we can get from the Vanier is that we cannot solely depend on one presidential hopeful or one perfect job or the perfect relationship in our life. Our peace and happiness comes from within not from without ourselves. If we can face our fears we can face all other problems. As Christians, we know that we have the power to face all things in faith. We may make mistakes, we may fail, we may have major disappointments but these things are not the end of the story, they will not bring about the end of the world. We have been gifted with a power much stronger than ourselves. We simply have to tap into it. The question is, do we understand the ramifications of refusing to do so?
Lorette P. Nault