Nothing to Fear


You know that feeling. The heartsick compassion when persons thousands of miles away, in another culture, another world, suffer from tragedy. Earthquakes, tsunamis, war—how horrific, the pain inflicted on others. Yet deep down, there is a sigh of relief:

It’s not happening here.

Twenty-one Coptic Christians brutally beheaded by terrorists in Libya. Other atrocities captured on video, including the execution of 300 Syrian soldiers, a man being burned alive, a child shooting an alleged Israeli spy. We watch with horrified eyes.

Thank God, it’s not happening here. 

In February, a friend who lives in the area asks for prayers because someone she knows has been kidnapped by the Islamic State (ISIS). That poor man, and his family, and my friend.

Still, it doesn’t happen here.

Until last week. It happens here, in my town, to a person I know. Another Catholic. While ministering at a local hospital, terrorists threaten this person and this person’s family if the person does not convert to Islam. The police are notified, this person’s house put under surveillance.

Its shadow has arrived.

A few days later, our church offers a Mass for the twenty-one Coptic martyrs. I lector and my family attends. And a shadow of dread flutters through my heart because we are the hated enemy, praying for victims who died for their faith. Casualties in the war against us. During the Mass, the apprehension slips from my mind. But it returns on the way home.

It’s only a matter of time…

I worry about my children and my home and my neighborhood. We pull into our driveway, and I’m confronted by the statue of the Holy Family in my front yard and the angel under a tree. Declarations of the people who live here. For a brief moment, I panic. I have to get those things out of sight. But courage overshadows the fear. No, I don’t have to hide anything. They’re just where they’re supposed to be, proclaiming who we are.

Have no fear. I am with you.
Isaiah 41:10

Rose in Snow


8 comments on “Nothing to Fear

  1. Great topic, great resolution. The short paragraphs bring lots of tension!


  2. Thanks for the critique, Carol!


  3. Thanks, Jim. Happy St. Patty’s Day


  4. Well done. It’s funny to watch a politician speak boldly on some topic – in front of their supporters – which takes no courage at all. This country is great because of the faith and courage of everyday people, which follows on the faith and courage of our immigrant ancestors and is the reason we’re here in the first place.


  5. So much angst in the name of religion–something that is supposed to bring us solace. This be ironic if it were not so tragic. I guess it can be both… Very effective essay.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think the solace is God’s part in religion. The angst is man-made in God’s name. Thanks for the comment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: