There is No Fear in Love, For Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

In his groundbreaking book, Original Blessing, Matthew writes about the need to let be, and let go, and we need to do this in a number of areas of our lives.

“Om Namah Shivay.” A regular mantra practice helps in allaying fear. Video by Agam Aggarwal.

From letting go of a painful relationship or a frustrating job, to letting be something that already is, but you have not been able to accept it as it is. And especially today we are talking about letting go of fear.

The word “fear” is used 365 times in the Christian scriptures—a reminder every day of the year to move beyond fear.

A lesson to learn from the Jesus story, is that suffering is indeed inevitable …

One rose with many thorns. Photo by Peter Goldberg, National Museum of American History. Wikimedia Commons.

Pain is our enemy, but that is no excuse to run from embracing it, kissing it long enough so that we might truly let go of it. There is no way to let go of pain without first embracing it and loving it—not as pain but as a sister and brother in our dialectical living of both pleasure and pain. Eros does not come without a price. Every rose has its thorns. 

… this life as we know it, is for many their purgatory. 

Not only is there a dark night of the soul, but also a dark night of society, and a dark night of our species.

See Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth, pp. 99-100.

See also Fox, One River, Many Wells, pp. 288 and 372.

And Fox, Original Blessing, p. 142.

And Fox, A New Reformation, p. 102. 

Banner Image: “The Feeling of Dreams.” Is the girl falling, or floating? Is she holding onto the string, or letting go? Painting by Ariel Whitmore. Wikimedia Commons. 

Queries for Contemplation

1 John 4:18 says, “Perfect love casts out fear.” Isn’t this a little like saying, “We need to let go of fear?” How do you let go of fear when it comes?

Recommended Reading

Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths

Matthew Fox calls on all the world traditions for their wisdom and their inspiration in a work that is far more than a list of theological position papers but a new way to pray—to meditate in a global spiritual context on the wisdom all our traditions share. Fox chooses 18 themes that are foundational to any spirituality and demonstrates how all the world spiritual traditions offer wisdom about each.“Reading One River, Many Wells is like entering the rich silence of a masterfully directed retreat. As you read this text, you reflect, you pray, you embrace Divinity. Truly no words can fully express my respect and awe for this magnificent contribution to contemporary spirituality.” –Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology): the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
Original Blessing makes available to the Christian world and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated.” –Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story

A New Reformation: Creation Spirituality & The Transformation of Christianity

A modern-day theologian’s call for the radical transformation of Christianity that will allow us to move once again from the hollow trappings of organized religion to genuine spirituality. A New Reformation echoes the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther in 1517 and offers a new vision of Christianity that values the Earth, honors the feminine, and respects science and deep ecumenism.
“This is a deep and forceful book….With prophetic insight, Matthew Fox reveals what has corrupted religion in the West and the therapy for its healing.” ~Bruce Chilton, author of Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography

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10 thoughts on “There is No Fear in Love, For Perfect Love Casts Out Fear”

  1. Avatar

    Fear is of the unknown and is cast out once we know who we really are. Fear only exists when we give it a home and feed it. The size of our fear is controlled by our actions.

    For each action creates a counterpart, either an opposing and constricting counterpart or an affirming and expanding counterpart, so we must choose our actions wisely.

    For each time we act in love, love continues to expand outwardly and grow inwardly.

    For each act of peace and time spent in peaceful existence, will expand outwardly and grow inwardly.

    For each act of gratitude and thanksgiving we perform and acknowledge, the joy of God, the joy of existence will expand outwardly and grow inwardly and radiate in our being.

    For each act of faith we perform and trial we willingly endure, the power of God become our new eyes and ears to see and hear as we walk through the darkness.

    For each time we trust in the moment, we let God be God and the provider of all and in doing so, we too do the work of God in all its glorious imitation.

    God gives us all and invites us to come forward, face-to-face with the Truth that we fear and find love, not judgement. That which we fear daily is to dissipate in the home of the Mystery, the home of God. Come home to where peace reigns and love and joy abound, in the here and now in our hearts and souls, and forever more. Let us step across time to the here and now where love reigns and rules over us. — BB.

    1. Avatar
      Brigid Cannon, OP

      Dear Bill,
      Thank you for your reflection as I resonated with all you shared. You also gave helpful ways to cast out fear and to live in love. We all experience fear at times in our lives and sometimes more frequently than others. Yet, we can learn to let go and let our trust in God to free us to move into a more loving stance. Prayer and asking God’s help in these moments have always assisted me and others to move on in love and acceptance. It is not always easy yet we remember and repossess the word “love casts out all fear”.

  2. Avatar

    Today’s banner image is not only creepy but suggestively misogynistic whether as a political statement or representative of cultural normative.
    The sexualized woman is being dangled over chaos tethered to a cord neither of which (chaos or cord) can she control. She is without agency—a captive victim. Shame on you! Surely a better image is available for today’s post.

    1. Richard E Reich-Kuykendall

      When any of us look at a piece of art, it has a different impact on the viewer depended on their personal backgrounds. When I saw the image (which I did not pick out) I looked at it from the perspective art, and I liked it because I too am a artist. Perhaps it wouldn’t have been so offensive to you if only it was a man “dangling over chaos.” The truth of the matter is both men and women experience these feeling, though I admit, women have been put in a more vulnerable role in our society–and most societies. But Matthew is a feminist and I am too, and so was the woman who posted the picture.

  3. Avatar

    Being open and aware in our hearts to the ETERNAL PRESENCE of DIVINE LOVE in our daily lives is very important in experiencing our ongoing Compassionate “True Heart Self~Eternal Sacred Soul~Cosmic Christ Consciousness~human&Divine Natures… “ within OUR BELOVED co-CREATOR~SOURCE’S Living Divine Evolving Beautiful Diverse COSMIC LOVING ONENESS….

  4. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    Perfect Love, befriends… no thing and no one is approached as enemy… all is accepted in the essence and presence of unconditional love… in compassionate understanding. Fear, pain or any other emotion… is embraced with the arms of mercy… in which this energy is alleviated. Through grace, we see something else beginning to shine in the sea of our fears, our pain.

    As we descend… befriending… we find ourselves ascending… drawn into a deeper truth that unfolds, evolves and emerges as we surrender in trust… converging in relationship with… without judgement or criticism. Befriending… our fear, our pain… held in the wisdom way of perfect love… then becomes the grit of sand… transformed into a pearl of great price. The shell of amouring is gently broken open into givenness, letting go and letting be… as one becomes more than the pain or the fear.

    In fear and trust, in pain and pleasure… we are tethered to the eternal chord of Divine Perfect Love… held in the embryonic salty sea of compassion, mercy and grace… the womb of She Who Is our Mother.

    This is what I intuitively, imaginatively and creatively become consciously aware of; as I engage in the spiritual practice of reflection, meditation and contemplation… in response to the banner image of today’s DM.

  5. Avatar

    I no longer believe(most of the time) that pain is my enemy. Throughout my life I have suffered physical, mental, emotional and spiritual pain enough for ten lifetimes. And, yes, when they were at their worst, I considered them my enemy and sometimes put God in with them. Yet, on looking back on the pattern of my life, I can see that during these painful times I learned my greatest lessons. Pain helped me to let go, to accept situations I could not change, to change, sometimes in the tiniest ways, the things I could. I allowed God to be with me and I learned to trust him. I learned to pray for a god’s guidance rather than that he fix things. I learned to listen to his voice within me that is ever in me and ever ready to guide me. More and more, I can enjoy the beauty of my life, knowing that it, like the beautiful rose, has sharp, prickly parts that get my attention and make me more careful how I live my life.

  6. Avatar

    We can’t afford to “let go of fear.” It’s a natural warning of danger.
    It’s the ambiguous, daily, subtle fears which seep into awareness, without a clear conscious source, that we need to make ourselves more aware of, rather than just mindlessly reacting from within them.

    They may be triggered by subconscious cues, so we need to question: where did they come from? Why are they here, now? Is there a “gut feeling” of genuine danger? Or do they point to shadow issues, unresolved ego-challenges? Were they triggered by memories of trauma? (Terror-memories are viscerally stored in bodily memory, often take years to heal from, and may need professional support). Are the fears a signal of an unspecified feeling of anxiety? Men often act out their anxiety in aggression rather than sensing fear, so they may not realize they share the same deep anxieties as women. But brains can pump out floods of anxiety chemicals that cause confusion, so the brain often “makes up” a “maybe-it’s-this” fear to explain it to itself. Knowing that your brain may be generating a fear to explain and express its anxiety can help, both in coping and in diagnosing an underlying problem.
    Fear is a vitally important messenger, but it doesn’t always mean what it says. Pay attention, but analyze carefully and compassionately.

  7. Avatar

    As Matthew and other wise teachers say, we must feel the fear and not just try to deny it or try to go around it, before trying to let it go. I agree with Melinda that it is necessary also to understand it. It is important to feel where it is manifesting in the body and to consider professional help when fear becomes constant/overwhelming. For myself, practices such as centering prayer and the Welcoming Prayer help to expand awareness and receptivity to the love and peace of God, no matter what may be going on in my stressful life.

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