Skip to content

Fear and Love: A Reflection

February 24, 2023
White Azaleas at our friend’s house in Mobile

As I continue my Lenten journey with Thomas Merton in the book Lent and Easter Wisdom From Thomas Merton: Daily Scripture and Prayers today’s reading brought to my mind this verse from 1 John. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear… 1 John 4:18 As we continue our journey with my dad, I am surprised by the number of times he talks about retribution and God’s vengeance. Each time Denise and I remind him that God is a God of love and not retribution. I am not sure where this comes from and to be honest, it is heartbreaking for both of us to hear him doubting his own worthiness when it comes to Love, Mercy, and Forgiveness.

Lent has often been and for many it continues to be a time of groveling in ashes and doubting one’s own worthiness when it comes to that Grace, Mercy, and Love. For me, when Jesus said that he came to fulfill the law and the prophets (Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.) in Matthew 5:17 he fulfilled the Law with his command to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 22:37-40

Dionne Warwick sang this beautiful song about what the world needs right now. What the World Needs Now Am I a sentimentalist? Am I a cockeyed optimist? Perhaps I am. I would rather be that than a fatalist who has given up on the world and humankind which is created in the image of God.

Merton had the following to say about this concern of mine: Now one of the things we must cast out first of all is fear. Fear narrows the little entrance of our heart. It shrinks up our capacity to love. It freezes up our power to give ourselves. If we were terrified of God as an inexorable judge, we would not confidently await His mercy, or approach Him trustfully in prayer. Our peace and our joy in Lent are a guarantee of grace. — Thomas Merton (Seasons of Celebration, p. 116–117)

May we, dear reader, find that Grace, Mercy, Love, and Peace each and every day. And may we share the same with everyone we come into contact with directly in our daily living or indirectly through our prayers.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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 )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: