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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

827: This is liberation from fear in the midst of a fearful situation.

Day 827: Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Jesus is a model of how to say Yes in the midst of our deepest fear. This is liberation from fear in the midst of a fearful situation.

What Do We Do with Our Fear?

Our age has been called the age of anxiety, and I think that’s probably a good description for this time. We no longer know where our foundations are. When we’re not sure what is certain, when the world and our worldview keep being redefined every few months, we’re going to be anxious. We want to get rid of that anxiety as quickly as we can. I know I do.

Yet, to be a good leader of anything today—a good pastor, manager, parent, or teacher—we have to be able to contain and hold patiently a certain degree of anxiety. Probably the higher the level of leadership someone has, the more anxiety they must be capable of holding. Leaders who cannot hold anxiety will never lead us anyplace new.

That’s probably why the Bible says “Do not be afraid” almost 150 times! If we cannot calmly hold a certain degree of anxiety, we will always look for somewhere to expel it. Expelling what we can’t embrace gives us an identity, but it’s a negative identity.

It’s not life energy, it’s death energy. Formulating what we are against gives us a very quick and clear sense of ourselves. Thus, most people fall for it.

People more easily define themselves by what they are against, by whom they hate, by who else is wrong, instead of by what they believe in and whom they love.

I hope you recognize from this common pattern how different the alternative is. We might catch anew the radical and scary nature of faith, because faith only builds on that totally positive place within, however small. It needs an interior “Yes” to begin, just as the “Yes” of

Mary began the entire process of salvation. God needs just a mustard-seed-sized place that is in love—not fear—that is open to grace, that is thrilled, that has found something wonderful.

CAC teacher James Finley shares how Jesus is a model of how to say Yes in the midst of our deepest fear:

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus sweat blood because he was afraid [Luke 22:44]. It is possible that he was infinitely more afraid than we could ever be. But the difference is: Jesus was not afraid of being afraid, because he knew it was just fear. . . . We are afraid of fear because we believe that it has the power to name who we are, and it fills us with shame. . . .

Jesus invites us to discover that our fear is woven into God’s own life, whose life is mysteriously woven into all the scary things that can and do happen to us as human beings together on this earth. This is liberation from fear in the midst of a fearful situation.

Richard Rohr's Daily Meditations

From the Center for Action and Contemplation


Please put these discussions from John Dear on your calendars

Dear friends, blessings of peace and hope to you!

As the war, poverty, racism, violence, nuclear threat, and environmental destruction continue, I offer this wonderful summer series of programs to help us live out the spirit of the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount and to encourage us to continue to speak out for justice, disarmament, and creation. Here’s what’s coming up:

Sat., July 2nd. Archbishop John Wester of New Mexico “My Pastoral Letter Calling for Nuclear Disarmament” which you can read at, the first statement calling for nuclear abolition in the history of the US Church.

Sat., July 23rd. Robert Ellsberg “Dorothy Day’s CW Writings in the 1960s and 1970s,” based on his new two volume collection of her monthly columns now available from Orbis.

Sat., Aug. 6th. Roshi Joan Halifax “The Buddhist Path of Peace and Nonviolence” taught by one of the world’s greatest Buddhist teachers.

Sat., Aug. 13th. John Dear “A Theology of Peace and Nonviolence” where we will explore all the various areas of theology from the perspective of Gospel nonviolence, based on my book, “The God of Peace.”

Sat., Sept. 10th. Rev. James Lawson “Revolutionary Nonviolence” A Conversation with Civil Rights leader Rev. James Lawson about his new book (Univ. of Cal. Press). You can register for these zooms at

Note, registrations close the Monday before the event. You will receive the zoom link a few days beforehand, and a recording link a few days afterward. If you have any questions, email Kassandra at Please share this email with friends, colleagues, and on social media.

We go forward in hope and peace following in the footsteps of the nonviolent Jesus. See you then! -- Fr. John Dear

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