Spiders. Snakes. Darkness. Heights. Clowns. People wearing a fanny pack . . . Different things elicit different fears in people.
Almost everyone has something that causes their heart to race or their nerves to sizzle with anxiety. It’s been said that the number one fear that most people have is, actually, public speaking — far outranking fear of death, which comes in at number two. This fact was not lost on Comedian Jerry Seinfeld who quipped, “Which means most people at a funeral would rather be in the casket than delivering the eulogy.” Fear is human and common, but according to the Bible, it’s just not necessary.
The command we hear resonate most frequently throughout the seventy-three books of Sacred Scripture is not “listen to me” or “follow me,” or even, “love one another.” The Biblical command of God that has been most frequently challenged, exhorted, and prayed throughout the ages has been “do not fear.”
While that invitation is certainly calming, some modern Christian hearts – including teens – might look around at the current culture and begin to wonder if God’s promise is still trustworthy. Even an uneducated political or economic observer could, no doubt, see the current turmoil on the world stage. Even those who are not authorities on moral theology notice the increasing divide over right and wrong, even among Christians. Human dignity is being abused and sacrificed, wars and acts of terror are being waged, and entire Churches are being told to violate their core belief systems and consciences. It does cause the modern disciple to wonder, “Should I expect you soon, Lord? Are you seeing all this?”
Yet, the timeless invitation — still echoing from the pages of every Bible — is to live in peace and in Christ’s enduring freedom; the challenge is not to fear.
Yes, the outlook is bleak many days. Yes, we’ve seen the statistics on young people and their choices and the numbers of people who want nothing to do with faith, objective truth, or “organized religion.” Yes, i￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼t would be easier just to fold up shop, sing one last song of praise, and ride off into the sunset—letting teens and their families navigate all this noise on their own.
But easy has never been Life Teen’s way of doing ministry.
As we all know, the teens are worth more and our Church deserves our best. Let the world paint its picture because God, “who makes all things new” (Revelation 21:5), is painting a portrait with His grace that no human institution can stop nor comprehend.
After great prayer and discernment, the Staff and Missionaries of the worldwide Life Teen movement were led to make a proclamation in the coming year not only to fear less, but to be fearless in the face of darkness as we stay focused on Christ’s light (John 8:12). The battle has been won; the enemy defeated (Hosea 13:14, 1 Corinthians 15:26)! We may wave our white flags in surrender to our Lord, but we shall never lay down our lives in defeat before the enemy or a world that is passing. As we build God’s Kingdom on earth, we must never forget this is a mere outpost compared to God’s enduring Kingdom in heaven. We’re not retreating in fear; we’re marching forward in victory!
Consider all of the fears that you hear voiced by teens in the course of the year: fear of the future, fear of rejection, fear of loneliness, fear of what living the Catholic life entails, the list goes on and on. Now, consider all of the fears you face as an adult, as a parent or leader, or a citizen during this crazy time in the history of civilization. What happens to those fears in the face of the Sacraments? What happens to them when laid before the Eucharist? What does God say about them?
In 2013, once again, we’re going to God to see what He has to say on the matter. The Life Teen movement is consecrated to the Blessed Virgin, a soul who didn’t just “understand” the need to be fearless, she embodied it. As we march forward into this “Year of Faith,” we march not under a banner with a Life Teen or Edge logo, but under the banner of the Cross of Jesus Christ. When we declare victory in the face of adversity, we do so in God’s Name — the family name into which we were all baptized (Matthew 28:19).
“Let nothing disturb thee” we are reminded by the great Saint Teresa of Avila because the God of the universe is in control and “His grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:9). So we invite you to join us, immersing yourselves into this call to be Fearless in 2013, as we move forward as one universal body, bringing light to a world steeped in darkness. Join us at some of our Edge and Life Teen events in the coming months!
Know that we are humbled to call you family and honored to serve you.
May our Lord bless our efforts, may Blessed John Paul the Great intercede on our behalf, and may we, like the saints, fear nothing but sin.