The phrase possibly uttered the most often in Scripture—by Yahweh, Jesus, angels, the Psalmist—is “Do not be afraid.” Today we hear the angel exhort Joseph—and us—not to be afraid.  Indeed trust and not fear is the lifeblood of our relationship with God.

Erik Erickson, notable psychologist, describes the first task of our own human development as the stage of trust vs mistrust.  Likewise, as an adult before God, we are asked to develop and reach a stage of trust as well. And that stage—always a high hill to climb—invites us to greater levels of surrender.

We are asked, in trust, to say an “Amen” to our life. As Jesus said, “Into your hands I commend my spirit,” we try to say: into your hands I commend my past and future, my family and friends, my loves and losses, my good efforts and failures, my holy desires and my feeble virtues.

Let an all-encompassing Advent “AMEN” be on our lips today—increasing our trust and decreasing our fear.

 —Fr. Richard Baumann, SJ serves as Tertian Director for the East Africa Jesuit province.  He is a native of Cincinnati OH and a past provincial of the Chicago Province..