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Finding Faith: ‘I have overcome the world’

Rev. Joseph Orr

Today there is much fear in the world: fear of the coronavirus; fear of election outcomes; fear of storms; and fear of whatever it is that we don’t know about. We know that trials and tribulations will arise from time to time. This is the way it has always been, and this is the way that we can expect it to be in the future.

Fear is an emotion intended to prepare us for dealing with a serious situation. Such is the occasion when as we’re walking through the woods and we hear the rattle of a rattlesnake.

Our hearts pound and adrenaline courses through our system so that we can quickly jump back out of danger. The fear in itself is neither good nor bad. It’s simply the way we feel when there is danger. How we react is what is important.

If we let fear dominate us, it can give rise to acts of cowardice; like remaining silent while a child is being harmed. If we control our fear, it can give rise to acts of heroic courage; like a medic running through gunfire to aid a fallen soldier. But to do this we must have hope; the belief that goodness can prevail. “I can do it.” “I must try.”

The Christian tradition teaches us that the strength to courageously face the tribulations of this world can come to us through faith in God. Jesus in preparing his disciples for his passion and death, knowing that hope would elude them, spoke to them concluding with: “I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

This is what faith does for us. Our belief that Jesus victoriously rose from the dead gives us hope in the promises he made and enables us to meet the sometimes terrifying circumstances of this world with the conviction that we walk with Christ and that everything will work out for the good. Fear remains, but with it is the peace that comes from trust in our Lord and gives rise to the courage we need to face the world.

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Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Rev. Fr. Joseph Orr of Holy Spirit Catholic Parish, Lock Haven.

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