Fear vs. Fog!

Malachi 4:2
But for you who fear My name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go forth leaping like calves from the stall.

We don’t normally associate “fear” with hopping hippity-skippity in glee.  But Malachi does.  How?  Because Malachi lives in the clear awareness that truth is not a threat, but a liberation, that clarity brings freedom, not constriction, and that God loves our glory and our joy, not our servility.  The fear of the Lord that the prophets speak of is the fear we have (and ought to have) when confronting plain, rock-bottom reality.  But, as the poet T.S. Eliot said, human beings cannot bear too much reality, so we tend to prefer fog and ambiguity as a protection for ourselves, much as squid like to squirt ink to escape.  But, of course, our ink only blinds us, not God.  And so we end up in a world were we are afraid to move lest we crack our heads against something.  In such circumstances, we wind up more fearful than we were in the presence of God, since abandonment of His big, clear laws leaves us, not with freedom nor even with anarchy, but with small laws: quibbles about language, fretting about various political correctnesses, worries about lawsuits, litigations, and endless little complaints from aggrieved “victims” on all sides.  From such a smothering world of puny lawyering there is only one escape: fear of the Lord and the plain daylight of His word.  In such plain light we can see again, and that is liberty indeed.  Today, pray that we may again be a culture of life and liberty in the healing light of God.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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