(Everyday Bravery, Day 2)
You know, I’m not sure I have ever quoted scripture on this blog. I spend a fair amount of time reading Catholic blogs, many of which consistently share beautiful, instructive, inspiring scripture passages. I guess I consider this blog to be Catholic too, yet I’ve written very little on the faith, let alone the sacred text that underpins it.
To be honest, the prospect of doing so kind of scares me. I feel ill-equipped to touch that most important of material. I’m afraid I’ll get something wrong.
But when I was considering this Everyday Bravery project, it occurred to me that perhaps I should try. (Perhaps I should be brave.) I didn’t quite know where to start, but I figured I might as well see what the Mass readings were for the four Sundays in October.
And what did I find on the very first Sunday of the month? “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice.”
Now as I said, I’m not equipped to tell you what this passage is meant to convey. But I can tell you what those words, and the other words in today’s second reading, stir in me. Here’s the reading:
2 TM 1:6-8, 13-14
I remind you, to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
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.
Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me,
in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit
that dwells within us.
In these words I find a call to action.
They remind me that we have each been given gifts by God and we are to use them. We are to be brave, to understand that God does not want us to hold back out of fear. We are to act, to move forward, to recognize our own power.
But not just any ol’ power – no, not one wound up in greed or the desire to dominate. Rather, the kind of power that comes from love and self-control. From service, from sacrifice. From pointing our talents and ambitions toward the end that we believe God has in mind for us.
We are not to be ashamed of undertaking this work. We are not to be deterred by hardships thrown in our way. We are to remember our course and the strength God gives us to complete it.
And in all of this – in the using of the gifts and the trying to be brave and the acting and the moving forward, in the loving and the serving and the persevering – in all of this, we are to rely on the Holy Spirit for help.
Like I said, I may not have this reading’s meaning quite right. I don’t know its context. But I know that to me it feels like a rallying cry – like a call to bravery.
This post is the second in a series called Everyday Bravery: A Write 31 Days Challenge. Every day this month I’m publishing a blog post on Everyday bravery – not the heroic kind, not the kind that involves running into a burning building or overcoming some incredible hardship. Rather, the kinds of bravery that you and I can undertake in our real, regular lives. To see the full list of posts in the series, please check out its introduction.
Interested in coming along with me as I share stories about my family and chew on the topics of motherhood, politics, and society? Like These Walls on Facebook or follow the blog via email. (Click the link on the sidebar to the right.) You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram and you can find me at my politics blog at the Catholic Review, called The Space Between.
2 thoughts on “For God Did Not Give Us a Spirit of Cowardice”
Wow…I love this, Julie. So powerful, and so perfect for your theme!
Thank you, Rita! I couldn’t believe how perfect it was.