Friday, March 20, 2015

Fourth Friday of Lent: With Greater Love Than Fear

“Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.” – Jn. 7:12

In today’s Gospel, Jesus was moved with greater love than fear. Despite threats to his life, he journeyed to Jerusalem for the feast of Tabernacles. He could have remained in the safe in Galilee out of fear. Yet, moved by a greater love for God and for people he was sent to serve and save, he accepted the risk of arrest and death. Trusting in God’s timing, he not only goes to the feast, but also reveals Himself and speaks courageously of God’s untiring and unstoppable mercy to all.

I recently learned that the human brain is made up of three parts. The “reptilian” brain is the first to form, followed by the “limbic”. These two parts of the brain register survival instincts and catalog fear.  The third and most developed part of the brain is the neo-cortex, where human intellect, consciousness, and the spirit reside. It enables us to choose love. Interestingly, when we choose to appreciate and to love, signals of fear and anxiety from the “limbic” are shut off from interrupting the neo-cortex, which physically prevents the states of love and fear from occurring simultaneously. It’s amazing how our multiple-layered brain develops and functions to enable us to receive and share God’s love.

Coincidentally, I recently came across these two quotes that echoes the invitation to choose love over fear. Dan Baker said that “human beings have only two essential, primal feelings: fear and love. Fear impels us to survive, and love enables us to thrive.” Similarly, Jim Carrey spoke: “You have two choices: love or fear. Choose love, and don’t let fear turn you against your playful heart.”

While we often give into fear, let us pray for the openness to receive God’s gift of love more fully each day. And allow this gift to diminish the grasp of fear on us and to create courage and wisdom from love.

Is there something you have been compelled or feel called to do, but have been uncomfortable, reluctant or afraid to do?  Talk to Jesus about it and ask him for help you to act with greater love than fear.

Adapted from HD Nguyen

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