In preparing to enter into the Year of Faith, which begins in four months, let’s confront the fear that dogs our steps in this world everyday by taking the Holy Father’s words here into our hearts:
“In Luke 1:29-33, the Angel tells Mary, ‘Do not fear.’ In fact, there was reason for her to fear, for it was a great burden to bear the weight of the world upon herself, to be the mother of the universal Kind, to be the mother of the Son of God: what a burden that was! It was too heavy a burden for human strength to bear! But the Angel said, ‘Do not fear! Yes, you are carrying God but God is carrying you. Do not fear!’
“These words, ‘Do not fear’, must have deeply penetrated Mary’s heart. We can imagine how in various situations the Virgin must have pondered those words; she must have heard them again and again. At the moment when Simeon said to her, ‘This child is destined to be the downfall and rise of many in Isreal, a sign that will be opposed. And you yourself will be pierced with a sword,’ at that very moment in which she might have succumbed to fear, Mary returned to the Angel’s words and felt their echo within her: ‘Do not fear, God is carrying you.’Then, when contradictions were unleashed against Jesus during his public ministry and many said, ‘He’s crazy,’ she thought once again of the Angel’s words in her heart and went ahead. Finally, in the encounter on the way to Calvary and then under the Cross, when all seemed destroyed, she again heard the Angel’s words in her heart, ‘Do not fear.’ Hence, she stood courageously beside her dying Son and, sustained by faith, moved toward the Resurrection, toward Pentecost, toward the foundation of the new family of the Church.
” ‘Do not fear’: Mary also addresses these words to us today. I have already pointed out that this world of ours is a world of fear: the fear of misery and poverty, the fear of illness and suffering, the fear of solitude and loneliness, the fear of death. We have in this world a widely developed insurance system and it is good that it exists. But we know that at the moment of deep suffering, at the moment of the ultimate loneliness of death, no insurance policy will be able to protect us. The only valid insurance in those moments is the one that comes to us from the Lord, who assures us also: ‘Do not be afraid, I am always with you.’ We can fall but, in the end, we fall into God’s hands and God’s hands are always good hands.”