Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Power from above

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God. - 2 Timothy 1:7-8

In his second letter to St. Timothy, St. Paul is admonishing St. Timothy to nurture the charism which he received through the laying on of hands. God's gift of the Holy Spirit imparted to St. Timothy through ordination was not to be neglected but fueled and fanned into a flame through the aid of the Holy Spirit so that St. Timothy would be emboldened to face the hardships which most certainly would face him in the coming years.

This hearkens back to the birth of the Church at Pentecost. On that day, the Apostles had met together when suddenly there was the sound of a violent rushing wind and tongues as of fire came to rest on the head of each of them and they were emboldened to proclaim the Gospel to all people. Here was a group of men who just a few weeks before were frightened out of their minds for fear that they would end up on a cross like Jesus now standing up and openly proclaiming him as Messiah in the synagogues.

Cowardice is defined as ignoble fear in the face of danger or pain. Ignoble is the key; completely lacking nobility in character. It is through the Holy Spirit that human beings are filled with dignity, a nobility that comes as a gift from God. Cowardice is not the natural state of human beings filled with the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit bestows dignity and nobility to us. It is not that we will never be afraid, but through the Holy Spirit, that fear can be overcome. This will give us power over fear, power to love freely without fear of repercussion.

As St. Paul calls St. Timothy to proclaim the Gospel unashamedly, so he calls each of us to do the same. This does not mean to stand up arrogantly for the Gospel but humbly and lovingly letting the Spirit lead us. We also must be prepared for rejection or mistreatment, but by surrendering ourselves to God, we will be able to face any hardship which may come our way with courage and strength.

St. Timothy and St. Titus, pray for us.


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