On the Inside; On the Outside


Fear or Faith?

Posted by | Emotions/Feelings | No Comments

More than 19 million Americans have this, and it causes difficulty in some area of their lives. What is it? It’s a phobia. A phobia is an excessive and irrational fear reaction. If you have a phobia, you may experience a deep sense of dread or panic when you encounter the source of your fear, whether it is of a certain place, situation, or object. Unlike general anxiety disorders, a phobia is usually connected to something specific. Here are a few of the most common phobias:

  • Altophobia: Fear of heights.
  • Arachnophobia: Fear of spiders.
  • Claustrophobia: Fear of confined spaces.
  • Arachibutyrophobia: Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.
  • Theophobia: fear of God.
  • Ecclesiophobia: Fear of church.
  • Homilophobia: Fear of homilies. (Maybe even Deacon Allen’s homilies!)
  • Testophobia: Fear of taking tests.
  • Phalacrophobia: Fear of becoming bald.
  • Chaetophobia: Fear of hair (other people’s hair).
  • Xenophobia: Fear of the unknown.
  • Ephebiphobia: Fear of youth (teenagers).

There is an old proverb that goes something like this:

Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things will be yours.

Notice, “Fear less” is at the top of that list of what needs to be done if all good things are to be ours. Moreover, “Fear less” was high on Jesus’ list of things you need to do in order to experience wholeness of life.

Jesus wants you to know beyond all doubt that you and I are important to God; that God wants to be in a relationship with us. You may turn on the busy signal if you wish, but God never will do that. We can always count on God’s constant care for us.

Each one of us is called to go out and serve those in need, the most vulnerable in our society – and that can be scary. We are often afraid to speak the truth, to stand up for what is right, or afraid of those who might try to hurt us. We might be afraid to try new things, or meet new people who are different than us. But Jesus promises us that God is in control: “Not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.” Jesus reassures us of the value that God places on us. You and I are worth more than many sparrows; and we are also precious in God’s sight. With God by our side, we have nothing to fear.

And Now, I Wait

Posted by | Emotions/Feelings | 2 Comments

I am one of the disciples of Jesus. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I am in hiding because of the events that have recently taken place. After what had happened to Jesus, I feared for the worst. All I could think about was could this possibly happen to me as well? I was terrified, and I fled for my life. Here I thought that my faith was strong enough to withstand anything; but man, was I wrong. I abandoned my Lord, and I feel awful. He told us to trust in him, but I didn’t. But can you blame me? I’ve never been so frightened in my entire life.

And now, I wait.

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God is with Us

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We are Emmanuelites…God is with us!

We used this call and response in Youth Ministry many years ago. And it had two purposes: first, to gain the attention of the teens so they could focus on what was about to happen. And second, to remind them to trust in the fact that God is with us at all times.

We are Emmanuelites…God is with us! Read More

Second Chances

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I was in 6th grade and about to take a big science test. But this test was not with just any teacher. It was with Sister Bernadette – the holy terror of my Catholic Elementary School. There was just something about her that gave me the creeps. I was a fairly average student back then, holding my own in all of my class subjects. But when it came to science, it just didn’t make sense to me. I couldn’t tell you the difference between a proton, a neutron, or a Klingon. I was terrified of this test! My Mom and Dad were always proud of my efforts to get good grades and I didn’t want to let them down. So just before the test, I wrote several of the answers on the top of my desk in barely legible pencil. I sat nervously as Sister started to hand out the tests. I didn’t want to get caught, but I didn’t want to fail either. Read More

Fear Not, I Will Help You

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fear_not_2013_11_14-23While in deacon formation, one of our final steps before ordination was to meet with the diaconate board for final approval. The board was made up of both clergy and lay people and their primary responsibility was to make sure that we were prepared for ordained service to God’s people. I guess you could compare this to a final job interview – that lasted for more than four years.

The pressure was on, and I was feeling it. As I had mentioned before, I am a worrier, so this was an extremely stressful event in my life. We had a specified time to be there, so while I was waiting with my classmates, I felt pretty good about it all. One of my classmates emerged from his interview and stated that it was not so bad. But then another came out and said that it was a brutal experience. (They had two different groups interviewing us.) My stress level shot through the roof! I was feeling sick to my stomach, and apparently I was looking quite pale. Read More

Fear Not, I Will Help You

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20130621_194225It’s been three weeks since my father passed away – and life hasn’t been the same. I’ve been riding an emotional roller coaster without a safety harness, and the journey has been very bumpy, to say the least.

Honestly, I am an emotional wreck! At one moment, I appear to be fine; but then suddenly, I am not. I cry quite frequently, and it often strikes without warning. It is very difficult to explain, and I cannot even tell you how, when, or why it happens. I can’t even define what triggers these emotional outbursts. It just happens at will.

And my mind is constantly moving in multiple directions at warp speed. I find it very difficult to sleep; and when sleep comes, it is a very light sleep at that. I worry. I’m trying to be there for my mother to help as much as I can. There are phone calls to make, financial decisions to be made, and on and on. There is just so much to do!

To be completely honest, I am filled with fear. I’m afraid of how my mother is taking all of this. I’m afraid of not being able to help her when she needs me the most. I’m afraid of letting her down in her time of sorrow and need. And, I’m afraid of living the rest of my life without my father near me. Read More

What Are You Doing on Earth?

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earth_clip_art_24300A young woman from another country was working, as many immigrant women do, caring for the children of an upper-middle class family. One day she heard the children yelling and screaming in another room. She spoke English well enough, but she hadn’t yet mastered some of our expressions. So as she entered the room intending to restore order, what she meant to say was, “What on earth are you doing?” but instead she said, “What are you doing on earth?”

That’s a great question especially after hearing today’s Gospel (Matthew 25:14-30), and it’s a question that we must ponder from time to time. What are we doing on earth? Read More

Lost and Found

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I can still remember that horrific day as if it were yesterday. When my boys were very young, we were at the shopping mall when I suddenly noticed that one of them had gone missing. And I was experiencing a number of feelings: fear, anxiety, worry, helplessness, and desperation. I began to search everywhere, even in the silliest places. I was not going to leave any spot unsearched. And I even remember crying out to God, “Do whatever you want with me, Lord, but let me find my son and let him be safe.” In a matter of moments, I found him – and I gave him a gigantic hug and let him know how much I loved him. Then, I thanked God for allowing him to be found safe and sound. Read More

Prayer for One Burdened with Worry

Posted by | Prayer | 4 Comments

Father, teach me that, as your child, worry has no place in my life. I know that it helps nothing. I know that worry overcomes no difficulty.

Often in the past, Lord, I have come to you with heavy heart and burdened life, and you have answered my prayers and graciously lifted the burden from me. Yet, I still refuse to leave my burdens with you. Always I gather them up, those heavy bundles of fears and anxieties, and shoulder them again.

Help me dear Lord to overcome these useless thoughts and lift from me once again all anxieties and apprehensions. Help me to live just one day at a time with a confident trust in your tender mercy and love. May my heart know your promise that I rest only as I rest in you. I thank you for your love for me and for your help.


Carrying Christ to Others

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Every time I hear the story in today’s Gospel (Luke 1:26-38), I can’t help but to be in awe of Mary and her acceptance of her call to be the Mother of God. I can’t help but to think about how Mary responded with complete, obedient faith.

I’m sure that Mary had a ton of questions that were bouncing around in her mind. And I’m sure that Mary, so innocent and young, struggled with her fear and not really knowing what was being asked of her – just as we too struggle with allowing God to accomplish all things through us. But it is in faith that we know that God will use us in spite of our weaknesses, our deficiencies, and even our own ignorance.

In these remaining weeks of Advent, let us take a deliberate step back from the rapid pace of our lives and take some time to simply breathe. Let us then focus on what God is asking of us; knowing that God has chosen each one of us, just like Mary, to carry Christ to others.

Let us pray for the strength to echo Mary’s words of prayer: “May it be done to me according to your word.”

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