FEAR – The Weapon of Terrorists

Jesus said to his apostles

“Do not be afraid of those who
kill the body but cannot kill
the soul; fear him rather who
can destroy both body and soul
in hell. Can you not buy two
sparrows for a penny? And yet
not one falls to the ground
without your Father’s knowing.
Why, every hair on your head has
been counted. So there is no
need to be afraid; you are
worth more than hundreds of
sparrows.”

(Matthew 10:28-31)

We find ourselves now engaged in a spiritual war, a war being waged on the battleground of our souls. This is not a religious war, as if one religion is doing battle with another. There are those, of course, who clothe themselves with “religiousâ€? warrants. They are, however, wolves in sheep’s’ clothing who thus divert our vision away from the real issue. Religion is merely an excuse. The real battle is at a deeper level.

It is our inner spirit that is the ultimate target of terrorists, those who know that we are controlled by fear more often than anything else. Fear is, after all, a spiritual weapon. The Romans understood that very well and so they employed crucifixion as a means of instilling terror among those whom they conquered. Crucifixion was a tool quite effectively used by those ancient terrorists. The ultimate purpose of terror and fear is to occupy and control our souls in that captivity.

The weapon of fear gives us insight into those who inflict Kamikaze attacks. In order to do so they must first, and perversely, believe that their Deity “blessesâ€? their suicidal determination. Somehow they think that their God will be pleased by their deployment of horror, fear and terror. Moreover they twist their thinking to believe that the targets of their suicidal attacks are agents of Satan, the pawns of Evil. In their eyes we are “The Great Satan.â€?

We must now courageously purposefully take and honest look at how, when and where it is that fear controls us. For isn’t it true that if something is wrong in your marriage, in your family or elsewhere in your life it is fear that is operative and controlling? How much does fear control your relationship with your spouse? Your children? Your very own self? How many decisions have you made that were fear-based?

I know in my own life how it is that fear has controlled me. I know with regret now how many times I made bad decisions and acted wrongly because I failed to trust in God’s loving care for me and entered into fear-based activities that were damaging, hurtful and even sinful. Conversely, I also know that many times I should have made decisions based on a proper fear, a fear that was reasonable and grounded in reality. There are fears that are quite legitimate.

The emotion of fear is our great controller. We should carefully observe that in the New Testament the opposite of faith is not doubt, or questioning. No, the opposite of faith is fear. After all, Peter was in fact walking on the storm tossed waters toward Jesus when he became afraid. It was because of his fear that he sank. But it was because of faith that he took hold of Christ’s hand and was saved from the storm.

But what, then, of retribution? How should we respond to terrorists?

The first thing to recognize is that you cannot appeal to their reason or their conscience. Those who employ terrorism are, so long as they persist in their actions, beyond the pale of reason. They have handed themselves over to powers other than God’s.

Next we should clearly understand that those who seek power over us can only respect a greater power. They must be “overâ€? powered. Then, perhaps, they can be pacified and we can appeal to their higher natures.

This requires us to honestly, courageously and in truthfulness put our own higher powers into play. We all quite naturally want to respond, forcefully respond, to the evil that has been wrought upon us. The issue is not whether – it is how. We must therefore turn to God and with informed consciences do what is necessary to reveal His kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. God, our Higher Power, saves us.

This requires us to renounce any sort of Teutonic bloodlust that appeals to blood, soil and race as the ground upon which we deploy our forces. Our God is not Mars. Our God is our Father, the Father Jesus gives to us and to whom we all belong. It is in His righteousness that we should wage war against those who would try to capture and hold our souls. For God is Justice. He is wholly Justice. He is holy and all-powerful in His Justice. It is into His puposes that we should join our forces in response to the horrific acts that have been inflicted on us in that infamous Tuesday, the 11th day of September in the year of our Lord 2001.

About Charles Irvin

Fr. Charlie was ordained a priest June 3, 1967 and has served as pastor of St. Mary Student Chapel in Ann Arbor, founded Holy Spirit parish in Hamburg, MI, served as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi parish in Ann Arbor and was pastor of St. Mary parish in Manchester, MI when he entered Senior Priest status in 2001. In 1999 he was appointed Founding Editor of FAITH Magazine which has grown into Faith Catholic Publishing located in Lansing, MI. He is now very active in his “retirement.”