“Fear of the Lord allows us to be aware that everything comes from grace and that our true strength lies solely in following the Lord Jesus and in allowing the Father to bestow upon us his goodness and his mercy.”

– Pope Francis

I have always had a strong ability to catastrophize. For better or worse, I can go to the worst-case scenario quickly. On the bright side, most of the time I can just as quickly think of a next step or an alternative to avoid whatever projected doom I’ve concocted in my own head. Lately however, I have felt calmer, more comfortable, and less doom. I decided to affirm myself for what clearly must be maturity.

While at dinner with some friends who have had extensive experience starting and growing their own companies, they began talking about the importance of maintaining a sense of urgency. In their experience, the greatest challenge wasn’t in the beginning when things were uncertain or tenuous, but rather, the greatest threat was when things got comfortable. One friend said he had recently sent out an email to his entire operation, challenging them that they’d gotten complacent and had “lost their fear.”

I tried to imagine receiving that email, or as a leader, sending it out. Over the last nearly 20 years at Catholic Leadership Institute, there’s been more than few moments of fear. While I certainly remember catastrophizing, I also remember putting it all on the line and knowing that I couldn’t have done anything more. God has always provided. I began to wonder if my recent lack of fear was a blessing or a curse. As a leader when I’m not worried, is it confidence or complacency? Am I doing enough to help those I serve and lead understand the urgency of our mission and the important contributions they make daily?

I turned to the Gospel of the day from Matthew where Jesus discussed the criteria for how the Son of Man will separate the sheep from the goats. Those who serve him in the least among us and in the day-to-day interactions will be with him. I wondered if my discipleship had enough urgency to it in the day-to-day to get me anywhere close to sheep territory.

At Mass, the priest asks the Lord “to protect us from all anxiety” and yet we are also called to fear the Lord. This Lent, do we have the right fear? Are we comfortable with the fact that He is the only way to true peace and are we anxious enough to keep moving toward Him? As we continue through this Lent, let’s never lose our fear of missing out on His promise of salvation.

by Daniel Cellucci

March 04, 2024

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