Sunday, October 5, 2014

Christian Courage

Once again we are remind by today's second reading from Philippians 4 that when we speak of commandants we are not talking exclusively about the 10 of the Old Testament. We believe that the entire Bible is the inspired Word of God, and therefore even those  commandments that come from the pen of St. Paul are truly commandants of God. And what is the command today?

Do not be anxious at all (μηδὲν μεριμνᾶτε)

Is that really possible? The answer must be yes. 

If God is love, then God cannot command the impossible.  To command a creature to do the impossible would be a sadistic trick, not an act of love. Therefore, if God commands it, it must in some way be possible.

Here we arrive at the virtue of courage.  We Christians did not invent it. All cultures recognize it. It is a natural virtue.  Christian courage is, however, different.  It comes from a different source. It is not the product of merely human willpower. Christian courage is rooted in the theological virtues of faith and hope. 

We use the word faith to means several things and here I am not talking about faith in the sense of intellectual belief in certain ideas (e.g. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God). Faith that is the source of courage is faith in the sense of trust. Trust in the absolute and perfect love of God for each one of us. This unimaginable perfect personal love of God can will only good, even as it allows evil to exist. 

Because God allows evil but wills only good, he must have the ability to transform the evil.  The perfect example of this was the crucifixion of Jesus (evil) that became the source of eternal life (good).  It is this same faith that allows St. Paul to proclaim:

For those who love God, all things work together for good [the word order in Greek].

It was this absolute trust in the love of the Father that allowed the Son to say,

Into your hands I commend my spirit. 

Yes. It is absolutely possible for us to live a life free from anxiety. All we have to do is trust God. Even when the road ahead is absolutely black and we can see nothing.  We keep walking forward, guided by the Spirit. Believe in the omnipotence of God, believe in the perfect love of God. 

Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.