Thought for the Week
A Guest Blog by Lavish Mercy
Sister Renee Yann (Religious Sisters of Mercy), D.Min, creator of the blog site Lavish Mercy, is a writer, speaker, teacher on the subjects of spirituality, social justice and ethical business practices. She’s also a passionate follower of the One whose ultimate act of lavish mercy we commemorate during this, the time called Holy Week.
Psalm 27 is a cry for help from one who is confident of God’s care. And yet, despite these words, the psalmist obviously is afraid, otherwise why pray? As we begin Holy Week, we might imagine Jesus voicing such a prayer. Confident of the Father’s participation in his life, Jesus nevertheless must face daunting realities with courage. But not without fear.
We can learn so much from Jesus in this.
It is a very unusual, and perhaps non-existent, person who has no fears. We all fear something…maybe many things. It’s human to fear that which we cannot see, control, or withstand. Even the one touting his great fearlessness is likely afraid of being seen as weak.
What Jesus teaches us is not to let our faith, love and hope be dominated by fear; rather, to engage our lives courageously with these three virtues despite our normal human fears. In so doing, we become the person God hopes for us to be, just as Jesus did.
Who would I be,
and what power would be expressed in my life,
if I were not dominated by fear?
The triumph is in resisting that domination, not in being fearless. Nelson Mandela has written, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
Jesus was afraid during these final days of his life, but he pushed through to the truth of God’s Will for his life. We can ask Jesus to help us in our fears.
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away–
Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen
Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;
Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing–
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
~T.S. Eliot (Four Quartet, East Coker)