Courage is a Main Ingredient to Life
Personally, I am not good with courage. My anxieties have me afraid of pretty much everything:
Life requires courage. That is clear in the horrific events we witness daily in the news - just making the decision to leave our homes can be cause for pause. The anxiety is increased when the incidents are closer to home; such as the case when one of my dear friends from our parish, was stabbed in her own home by a random act by a distraught young man. After that, even home didn't feel safe any longer.
There is illness and accidents; and so much beyond our control that can lead our hearts to ache; and fall into despair and fear. As a person who has battled anxiety her entire life (diagnosed with a 'nervous stomach' at age 9); just watching the news or reading social media can send me spiraling into a panic attack. Just recently on retreat I woke in the middle of the night wondering is this a heart attack or a panic attack - after a few moments of recognizing the symptoms as panic prayed, "If I'm wrong Lord, I'll see you in a few moments. If I'm right, can we just table this conversation until the morning." Gratefully I was right- it was only a panic attack; and although it is part of a medical condition, it is important for me to remember the Lord desires to help me with it! Jesus came to bring us peace.
So what do we do? Where do we find the courage and strength to get out of bed each morning, to love life and those you are blessed to share it with, and to embrace the promise and hope of an unseen heavenly abode? We do so with great faith. Faith is the assurance and surety of what we can not see BUT know to be true (Hebrews 11:1). Courage is embarking on the journey or task IN THE FACE of fear, not in the absence of it! There can be no COURAGE without FEAR! They are beautifully and mystically co-dependent; as are we (and infinitely more so) with God! Christ came to give us life - not just get by until we die - but one of ABUNDANCE! This overflow of grace is not a material possession but a spiritual one. A gift that brings peace, joy and trust in a world that seems on a collision course of destruction or at the very least, determined to force us all to live forever on edge. It requires a surrender of self - and a turning to one greater than ourselves; which in turn requires humility.
For me, the anxiety always exists - but I combat it with great courage using the weapons of scripture, participation in the Sacraments of the Catholic Church; and with prayer (lots and lots). "Pray without ceasing" St Paul exhorts - and I do so by holding a continual conversation with the unseen world in my thoughts. Instead of talking to myself; which usually only causes a deeper spiral because I do not always remember the truth nor maintain the light in my heart. No, I need to reach to those who are basking in the light of Christ and gazing upon the face of God. My saint posse - St Therese; Padre Pio and Servant of God Patrick Peyton - are on speed dial; along with my guardian angel and the Blessed Mother. They keep me connected to the Triune God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and help me to remain focused on the prize of heaven, and to live simply and bravely.
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016
First appeared as part of the Recipe for Holiness series with Saints 365, 2016