“Do not be afraid.” —Acts 18:9

It’s likely God wouldn’t have told St. Paul to not be afraid unless Paul was actually afraid of something. The city of Corinth must have been a rough place, for by this time in Paul’s life, he had already been stoned, apparently to death, at Lystra (Acts 14:19ff), and then stood back up and returned to town. He’d been jailed and beaten at Philippi, but miraculously freed by an earthquake. You’d think Paul would not fear anything at this point. But fear is a strong temptation, even to veteran disciples.

The Pentecost Novena begins today. We beg the Lord for nine days to send us the Holy Spirit in a new way at Pentecost. One of the primary effects of the Holy Spirit biblically is bold speech and bold actions. The fear of the apostles locked in the upper room was driven out by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The perfect love of the Spirit casts out all fear (see 1 Jn 4:18). The Spirit-filled apostles burst out of the locked room and into the public squares. They boldly proclaimed Jesus and brought three thousand people to the Lord in one day.

Jesus tells St. Paul and us: “Do not be afraid” (Acts 18:9). The Outreach Leader for Presentation Ministries is fond of saying: “Fear is merely False Evidence Appearing Real.” Receive the Holy Spirit. Be delivered of fear.

PRAYER: Father, send the Holy Spirit to turn any cowardice we may have into boldness (2 Tm 1:7-8).
PROMISE: “Your grief will be turned to joy.” –Jn 16:20
PRAISE: St. Rita was a wife and mother. After she became a widow and her two sons died, Rita joined the Augustinian nuns in Cascia. Together with Saint Jude, she is a patron saint of impossible cases.

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