“‘Expect the Lord, do manfully and let your hear take courage’; do not despair, do not fall away, but offer both soul and body for the glory of God with constancy.” (IC 3,35,2) | “Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage.” (Ps 23:4)

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter XXXV: “There is No Security from Temptation in this Life” (second entry)

We are not to despair or wander (or sprint) away from the Lord’s path regardless of troubles, temptations, or desolations. Through it all we offer “both soul and body” through our constancy in abundance and deprivation. The next sentence, closing out this chapter, Christ promises that, with this attitude, “I will reward you most abundantly.”

|Today’s Responsorial Psalm: PS 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

This short and beautiful psalm is usually associated with funerals. It is a message of hope for those mourning the departed loved one. With God guiding us, what can we possibly lack? What should we fear? No matter how dark things get, we are to take courage, for the Lord has not, will not, abandon us, as he desires that “we will dwell in the house of the LORD for endless days.”

|Reflection

Fr. Hardon’s Catholic dictionary defines courage this way:

Virtue of bravery in facing difficulties, especially in overcoming the fear of consequences in doing good. As moral courage, it enables a person to pursue a course deemed right, through which one may incur contempt, disapproval, or opprobrium. As physical courage, it is simply bodily or emotional strength to withstand opposition.

Courage in the face of fear, contempt, and opposition. Usually, far easier in theory than in practice. I am reminded of the Scripture:

Fear is useless; what is needed is trust. (Luke 8:50; Mark 5:36)

What is needed is complete trust in God and His will for us. What then is there to fear with such a Good Shepherd pursuing His lost sheep as long as life lasts?

The Lord desires no one to be lost (see 1 Tim 2:4). Let’s not disappoint Him. Pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Cowardly Lion - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia

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