If you’re stressed or anxious, you can find great comfort in the famous phrase from Saint Pope John Paul II: “Be not afraid … Open wide the doors to Christ!” In this episode of All Things Catholic, Dr. Sri explains the meaning behind Saint Pope John Paull II’s words and shares a simple way you can begin bringing your fears and anxieties to Christ in prayer. Once you surrender those fears to Christ, you might be surprised at the amazing plan that unfolds.
Snippet from the Show
Whatever is burdening you right now, talk to Jesus, name your fear, and beg Jesus to give you the grace to open the doors of your heart to him.
Our Modern Condition: Perpetual Anxiety
How many of us live with perpetual fear and anxiety? We’re anxious about work, success, our relationships, our dreams for our family
Saint Pope John Paul II recognized this reality and thought it was so important that he spoke to it in his inaugural address:
“So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this earth. He is assailed by doubt, a doubt which turns into despair. We ask you therefore, we beg you with humility and trust, let Christ speak to man. He alone has words of life, yes, of eternal life.”
So what did Pope John Paul II urge us to do? He prescribes a life-changing remedy for our anxiety:
“Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power…. Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ.”
What Christ Says about Anxiety
In Matthew 6:25-34, Christ tells us:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”
Questions to Ask Yourself when You’re Anxious or Afraid
- What is God trying to tell me?
- Is this a sign that something is off spiritually?
- Am I too attached to something—someone’s esteem of me, my position at work, a plan for my children or family?
- Do I want too much control in my life?
The First Step to Opening Your Heart to Christ
- In prayer, name your fear to Jesus. Tell him everything about it. Don’t ask him to resolve it; just be honest with him.
- Admit your weakness and ask for his grace.
- Ask Jesus if there’s something he wants to do in your heart surrounding the issue of your anxiety.
- Pray a prayer of surrender. Tell Jesus you want to let go of your attachments and open the doors of your heart to him
- Tell him you trust in his plan for your life! Repeat St. Faustina’s prayer of trust: “Jesus I trust in you.”
Saint Pope John Paul II: An Example of a Man Whose Heart Was Wide Open to Christ
- Think about Pope John Paul II risking his life to meet in clandestine Catholic small groups during the Nazi occupation. It was by taking that risk and opening his heart that his vocation took root. See the great fruit that has come from his surrender!
- God will do incredible things with you as you surrender your life more completely to him. When you ask him to open your heart and help you overcome your fears, you’re going to be able to bless others in an incredibly powerful way.