Sunday, September 07, 2003

All things are yours!

I've written in the past about fear. Today I want to emphasize that as Catholics we should never fear. All fear is born through the anticipation or dread of the loss of some good that we possess or hope to possess. In other words, we fear loss. Will I lose my job? Will I lose my wife's love? If I live my faith, will I have to give up my favorite sin? Will the Church survive the scandals? But a true Christian cannot fear. Such fear shows a lack of faith.

In the Eastern Church, we understand salvation with a slightly different emphasis, an emphasis that helps us to understand why it is that we shouldn't fear. God saves us from our sins, indeed, but since the penalty of sin is death, God primarily saves us from death. In fact, after Easter we repeat the following song over and over: "Christ has risen from the dead, and by his death he has conquered death, and to those in the grave he has granted life." Death no longer has power over us. In baptism we die with Christ and also are born into everlasting life. But what does this get us? St. Paul puts it concisely in 1 Corinthians 3:21ff: For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; and you are Christ's; and Christ is God's.

"All are yours!" Think about that. All fear is fear of loss. The goods of this world pass away. No matter what goods or loves or pleasures that you seek in this world, you will ultimately lose them. All life ends in poverty and tragedy, since all of the goods of this life are transitory and cannot be held. If you want to guarantee that you despair, just put all your eggs in the world's basket. But all things exist only because God maintains them in existence. They are entirely, utterly dependent on God. In a way, all things are in God, since He is their creator and maintainer. If you can obtain God, you get all things, because you get Him through whom they are. Everything you fear losing is given back to you in God, with interest. All things are yours, indeed.

So don't worry about losing job, money, health, friends, family, or even your life. Through your baptism, all of things are yours forever, since you gain the Source and Summit of all goodness. Fear not!

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