Monasteries of the Heart

Monks in Our Midst: Valerie Luckey on melting fear away

I think the phrase/line/what-have-you from the gospels that resonates most with me describes Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” after encountering Jesus at the empty tomb: “fearful, yet overjoyed.” Coming from Matthew’s gospel (28:8), I feel like I spend most of my life in space fitting of that description.

I don’t particularly care to operate from fear, and I hope my Benedictine vow of conversion, or conversatio morum, moves me (at whatever pace) toward love, love, love, but how often I catch myself in the act of being motivated by something less.

It seems the answer in this gospel story is to encounter Christ and announce the good news. At Easter time my eyes should be even more open to those announceable moments of Holy Mystery and more ready to proclaim them, for when the two Mary's encounter Jesus, he reminds the women, “Do not be afraid” (28:10).

When I see the daffodils break free from their protective skin and blossom into pure yellow delight, fear melts away.

When I see the fawns scurry alongside their mothers, learning to leap, fear melts away.

When I see the children, oh so curious about the world, totally willing to risk a fall and resilient upon rising, fear melts away.

When I see the goodness of others each and everyday, fear melts away.


Let us live the words of Matthew’s gospel. Let us live the words of James Broughton in his poem, Easter Exultet:

Shake out your qualms.
Shake up your dreams.
Deepen your roots.
Extend your branches.
Trust deep water
and head for the open,
even if your vision
shipwrecks you.
Quit your addiction
to sneer and complain.
Open a lookout.
Dance on a brink.
Run with your wildfire.
You are closer to glory
leaping an abyss
than upholstering a rut.
Not dawdling.
Not doubting.
Intrepid all the way
Walk toward clarity.
At every crossroad
Be prepared
to bump into wonder.
Only love prevails.
En route to disaster
insist on canticles.
Lift your ineffable
out of the mundane.
Nothing perishes;
nothing survives;
everything transforms!
Honeymoon with Big Joy!

Alleluia! Amen!


What, in your life, allows "fear to melt away?" Explain.

Please share your reflections with us here...and Happy Easter!

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