Skip to comments.Be Not Afraid
Posted on 04/03/2005 6:39:58 AM PDT by billorites
I believe it was sometime in 1993 when I first read the great papal encyclical " Splendor of Truth " written by Pope John Paul II. The slender book was recommended by Fr. C.John McClosky during a conversation when he was counseling me about the worst personal crisis of my life.
Alcohol and drug abuse were dragging me down, and it was a problem that got much worse in the next two years before I finally surrendered to God, literally on my knees, and began a new life of faith-- and sobriety.
I managed to read "Splendor of Truth" that year. It had no direct advice about alcohol and drugs. But, then again, as I came to realize later, it had everything to with it.For the book is about the need for spiritual and moral courage in choosing good over evil in our daily lives. About assuming personal accountablity and responsibility for our actions and behaviors. Abiding by our conscience so we may hear the voice of God and follow His directions.
As a full-fledged member of a 12-step fellowship, I later learned that the biggest problem facing all those who suffer from chronic addictions is "sickness of the soul." Exactly what the Pope talks about in "Splendor of Truth." John Paul II tells us to "be not afraid" in pursuing the life of faith. Be not afraid to trust God. Be not afraid to stand for the right values. Be not afraid to be faithful to your spouse, or helpful and unselfish to friends, or diligent in work and other duties in everyday life.
On a much grander scale the Pope tells us to pursue right values concerning the sanctity of human life, human rights, freedom,and democracy. He preaches a moral theology that applies to everything. Be not afraid in this pursuit of God's will and the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is a life that requires courage, but it is precisely this moral courage that gives our lives meaning and purpose.
John Paul II lived and applied his own teachings. He had a toughness of character in pursuit of his beliefs. His ability to dodge the Nazis, and then the Communists when he grew up in Poland is the stuff of legend.Then his rapid rise through the Church hierarchy. Then his first visit to Poland as Pope, which was surely a turning point in the Polish liberation from the evils of Soviet totalitarianism.And his working with Pres. Reagan to bring down the Iron Curtain and send the Soviet to the dustbin of history.
His recovery from the bullet of a would-be assasin is still another example of his toughness. So was the visit to Rome's Jewish synogogue, his subsequent denouncement of the Holocaust and his establishing Vatican ties with Israel. John Paul II had physical and mental toughness; he was not merely an inward-looking intellectual. But he was also unrelenting in his moral toughness. His belief structure was unyielding.
And he loved to take his show on the road to spread his gospel. Fr. George Rutler believes that " The Pope has spoken to more people than anyone in human history." It may well be so. Fr. Rutler also thinks John Paul II was the first pope in modern history to perform weddings. That may also be true according to Catholic scholar Pia de Solenni, who attributes it to the Pope's reverence for the holy sacrament of marriage between a man and a woman as the sacred building block of family and society.
It may also reflect the Pope's love of young people, among whom he had a phenomenal following. Hundreds of thousands would attend his special youth masses, much to the amazement of many in the media who never understand the Pope's appeal. Or his message. John Paul II preached that the values of fidelity and responsibility enhanced, not detracted, from an exciting and fulfilling life. " He awakened a thirst for faith among the young," says Bishop William Lori of the Bridgeport, Connecticut diocese.
Indeed, for young and old, reaching across all religious lines, John Paul was the most evangelical pope in recent memory. He was tireless in spreading his message of traditional religious faith and values to anyone who might listen, be they believer or nonbeliever, Catholic, Muslim or Jew. Surely this will be one of his most enduring legacies: You did not have to be Catholic to appreciate or be grateful for the service John Paul II rendered to all mankind.
In late 1997, I completed my instruction and was received into the Catholic Church as a convert. Actually, my instruction is still unfinished, for I have so much more to learn and read. It is a life's endeavor.
But as the journey unfolds, my life keeps getting better and better. Materially, there are always ups and downs. But it is the spiritual life of faith that sustains me each day. I have learned to be not afraid to follow this new path, for I believe that is what God wants me to do. He sent Pope John Paul II to all of us to preach this timeless message of the ages. For that we will be eternally grateful.
Lawrence Kudlow is a former Reagan economic advisor, a syndicated columnist, and the co-host of CNBC's Kudlow & Company.
Excellent post. Thanks for adding it.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
pinging you to a wonderful article about Pope John Paul II by Lawrence Kudlow and an inspiring history of what John Paul has meant to him in his journey into wholeness.
I have great respect for people in the public eye who can be this open and honest about their own journey and their struggle to overcome their personal problems. What a wonderful, inspirational article by Lawrence Kudlow.
I'm not a Catholic, but I am a Christian. I think Pope John Paul II was an excellent leader for the desperate age we have been living. Instead of giving in to the cultural changes, as so many urged him to do, he held strong to his faith (and to our Lord), as it says in Ephesians Chapter 6, that when you have put on all your armour, then stand. He did it well, as an example to us all, as Christ was also an example to his disciples and followers.
He stood as a religious symbol to all Christian faiths...to persevere to the end. God rest his soul in peace.
Wonderful column. Thanks for posting it. Kudlow was alluding to his own conversion on his show the other day. This answers some of my questions.
Pope John Paul helped more people to appreciate what it is to be truly Christian, and Catholic. I believe that he did more to bring people of all faiths together than any Pope, at least in the last 400 years. He brought more people to appreciate religious faith itself than anyone in my lifetime, and many, such as Kudlow, have reexamined themselves and become converts.
Many "Evangelical" Christians who can set aside a prejudice against the Catholic faith have begun to realize that they have far more in common with the Catholic faith than they have with any other protestant faith.
Add my welcome to the many I'm sure you've already received in coming into the Glorious Catholic Church. Truely a grace to be appreciated on one's knees.
Have no Fear,
for you are all very dearly LOVED.
I love you entirely,
GOD loves you perfectly.
...things may not be what they appear to be in this life, for...
...there are things in life you see with your eyes and...
...in life there are things you see with your Heart
...LOVE is the Only Reality
...it is in your Loving and...
...being Loved in return,
...in your Heart,
...that you really do live on FOREVER...
...you cannot miss,
Thank You very much.
As a fellow non-Catholic, I agree 100%. He had tremendous moral authority and always stood true to principle.
Words to live by. Words to preserve the human race. With the so-called end of communism's grip on us, Pope John Paul knew that evil was far from vanquished. In fact the threat of mass depersonification of human life has only gotten worse, and the longterm impact of our headlong rush to modernity will only being more tears, more death, more loss of freedoms if we do not stop to ponder their implications.
Pope John Paul confronted the worst evils of the 20th century, and perhaps that mankind has ever known. But were we listening? In Frontline's Millennial Pope, New York University professor Tony Judt said with resignation that John Paul will leave"no legacy of success in defeating modernity, and there will certainly be no sense in which he will have occupied the ground between absolute faith and modern nonbelief." However, Judt goes on to concede that John Paul did manage to "shape the conversation at the end of the millennium in a way no one else has." But I would argue that the seeds John Paul planted are just beginning to grow. One need only watch Mamoru Oshii's Ghost in the Shell II: Innocence to see a deep philosophical discussion being brought to the world of entertainment by a passionate artist who asks the question: what does it mean to be human when scientists are talking about replacing us with genetic engineering techniques, cloning, and cybernetics?
Msgr. LORENZO ALBACETE, Prof. of Theology, Friend: To the Pope, science and the wonder it evokes in us is not an obstacle to belief but a privileged path to it. John Paul II urges us to look beyond our intellectual ideas because reason, which limits man to the visible world, will kill faith. -- John Paul II: The Millennial Pope
The threat to man does not come in the first instance from the potentially lethal machines and apparatus of technology. The actual threat has always afflicted man in his essence. The rule of enframing (Gestell) threatens man with the possibility that it could be denied to him to enter into a more original revealing and hence to experience the call of a more primal truth. --Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning TechnologyThe world has awoken to the dangers of stem cell research, abortion, and the view of life in terms that attempt to quantify the value of life.
We can thank John Paul for asking us all to reject the moral collapse that only continues at an even more rapid pace with unquestioned technological progress. But is the impending danger unnoticed? Not by any means. Artists and philosophers are demanding the same caution demanded by John Paul. They warn us that science when used to transform mankind into gods can bring us down and destroy us without mercy. John Paul not only shaped the dialog over what it means to be human in a postmodern world where engineering can practically blur the lines between life and death, but the debate he urged is far from over. It has just begun.
He would again tell us: be not afraid.
You shall cross the barren desert
But you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety
Though you do not know the way.
You shall speak your words to foreign men
And they will understand.
You shall see the face of God and live.
Be not afraid, I go before you always,
Come follow me, and I will give you rest.
If you pass thru' raging waters in the sea
You shall not drown.
If you walk amid the burning flames,
You shall not be harmed.
If you stand before the pow'r of hell
And death is at your side,
Know that I am with you - through it all.
Blesses are the poor
for the Kingdom shall be theirs.
Blest are you that weep and mourn,
For one day you shall laugh.
And if wicked men insult and hate you all because of me,
Blessed - blessed - are you!
Thanks for the link.
I love that picture of the Holy Father with the dove. May he rest in peace. What a great man.
The Frontline is frustrating because most of the assembled "luminaries" are with John Paul on the liberation of eastern europe, but they try to suggest that he "missed the mark" on liberation theology. The Washington Post's Roberto Suro is the smarmiest of the critics. It's the 100 year-old lie that Marxism is just a philosophy, and that Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot were just misusers of it. Evidently the Pope wanted to work to solve the problems of poverty in Latin America within the pro-western governments rather than abetting the spread of communism to solve those problems. Frontline paints him as insensitive and inflexible. It's a shame, since the Pope knew full well that the ideology responsible for 100 million deaths in the 20th century would fare no better in Latin America.
This is such a nice article about a personal conversion, and our Holy Father's role in it. (I'm a convert to Catholicism too). It reminds me that I want to read more of what Pope John Paul wrote about Faith, life. He will be missed.
Be Not Afraid!
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Excellent. Most excellent.
Did you catch Chrissy Matthew's weird show yesterday on MSNBC? Admittedly, he was just off an all day flight to Italy, with no sleep. He was halfway between crying and disbelief on the Pope's passing, but then recovered to confront a guest priest about why the American Catholic church needed married priests, birth control, gays, etc. Then he started talking about cafeteria-style Catholicism, etc.
The priest effectively shut him down point-by-point because Chrissy felt he couldn't talk over him, like his usual guests.
That man is truly conflicted.
He's a therapist's dream.
When I was a kid, a friend's mother once told me that Catholics were sinful because they worship a human woman. The prejudices run REALLY deep some times.
What an inspiration.
Still, he's trying to make good.
Thanks for this article.
Haven't seen much TV, no.
Thanks for the ping!
We need some pictures of him when he was young and healthy.
I have had a white candle burning before a crucifix since hearing the news of his Holiness' distress - and I will burn one until he is buried. I wish I could have met him, or could have even been in his presence - if I had been fortunate enough to have had him lay his hand on me I would have cried like a baby. What a great loss for the Church - I only hope that his successor is half the man he was.
What is now and ever shall be, world without end, amen.
Commiato il mio papa.
Thats a good one, Has the sun in his face.
I was thinking more along when he first became pope.
I'm so glad that the pope chose this as a theme of his papacy. It's timeless and timely. It's something I constantly try to remind myself of.
Barf. I was thumbing through Malachi Martin's "Jesuits" the other day. He related the story of one of the pope's visits to South or Central America in the early '80s. The pope was greeted by a priest who wasn't a Marxist and the pope said, "it's nice to know that not all of you are Marxists!"
Liberation theology is now discredited and waning thanks to the pope.
Then I guess you didn't read Christopher Hitchens' piece on slate.com. Hitchens gave it to him pretty good on the whole pedophile Priest scandal.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
I do hope that whoever ends up becoming the new Pontiff will take a much different tack towards handling corruption within the Church hierarchy though. I think that covering up for guys like Bernard Law and his underlings seriously weakens the Church's moral authority.
Things that make conservatives feel good.
The buzz for a very long time was that Larry Kudlow was influenced in his conversion to Catholicism by William F Buckley who took Larry under his wing during some very dark days when Larry was going through the aftermath of a devastating divorce.
What a great shot. Imagine what was being said between those two men.