Perfect love casts out fear
Months of lawlessness have left people on edge and anxious, and their anxiety is unlikely to be much abated by the outcome of the election. For either the party of lawlessness will win, or it will lose and manifest its fury in further rioting, looting, burning, hounding of political enemies, and attempted subversion of lawful authorities. There remains much to be anxious about either way, and there likely will be for some time.
But there is nothing to fear. Fear results from the prospect of losing what we love. Now, love is more perfect the more perfect its object and the more perfect the will’s fixity on that object. But the most perfect object of love is God, and the most perfect love for God is that which wills him above all else, to the point of forsaking all else if need be. And if we have this perfect love, we love that which cannot be taken from us. Hence we can be free from fear. “Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).
But not only can we be free of it, we must strive to be free of it. For as St. Thomas Aquinas teaches:
Our Lord said (Matthew 10:28): “Fear ye not them that kill the body,” thus forbidding worldly fear… Worldly love is, properly speaking, the love whereby a man trusts in the world as his end, so that worldly love is always evil. Now fear is born of love, since man fears the loss of what he loves, as Augustine states. Now worldly fear is that which arises from worldly love as from an evil root, for which reason worldly fear is always evil. (Summa Theologiae II-II.19.3)
Yet the flesh is weak and our nerves are understandably frayed, so that cold logic and bracing reproof oughtn’t to have the last word. Let us give that to Him who is the object of our love:
So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you… I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:22, 33)
by Edward Feser