Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hans Urs Von Balthasar on Fear

"Fear mercilessly grips the human throat. It fills the psychiatrists' consulting rooms, populates the psychiatric hospitals, increases the suicidal figures, lays blast-bombs, sets off cold wars and hot wars. We try to root it out of our souls like weeds, anesthetizing ourselves with optimism, trying to persuade ourselves with a forced philosophy of hope; we make all possible stimulants available, domesticate the nomadic urge by means of the tourist industry; we invite people to engage in every form of self-alienation.

Others preach from outside, as it were, that we should "simply" trust in Jesus, but such consolation eludes us.

The Catholic reality does not eliminate fear, it transforms it. In the Eucharist and the forgiveness of sins the event of the cross becomes really present; but its fear also becomes present, its fear that gathered up and exceeded all the world's fear. This was a fear that had been offered to God, a fear on our behalf, designed to free the sinner from fear.

Jesus' prophetic words to the Church constantly alternate between terrible facts to which we can only respond in fear - "I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves" (Mt 10:16)- and words encouraging us to overcome fear because it is God-given: "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me" (Jn 14:1)" - Fr. Hans Urs Von Balthasar "In the fullness of faith" p. 20-21

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