In an age of anxiety, Be Not Afraid


One of my favorite passages in scripture comes from the Gospel of Matthew when Christ calms the sea. The scene depicts the disciples following Jesus into the boat. While at sea, a storm suddenly appears. Strong winds and waves crash into the sides of the boat; Matthew writes that Christ was asleep as this unfolded, so that the disciples, in fear and frenzy, woke Christ and exclaimed that they were going to die. Christ looked at them and said, “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” He rebuked the waves and winds, and Matthew writes there was a “great calm.” The disciples marveled at Christ who could make even the sea and wind obey him.

A challenge faced by an overwhelming number of young adults is anxiety. A survey released by the American Psychological Association revealed that 41 percent of college students surveyed suffered from anxiety and 36 percent from depression.

This year, the Rev. Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, asked the university family to incorporate the theme Be Not Afraid into its daily practice. The mission calls upon faculty, staff and students to embrace the good news of the Gospel and to take to heart to Christ’s words, “Be not afraid.”

So, I pose this question to you, my fellow students: How can we implement the words “be not afraid” into our own lives? Is it making our prayer lives our own, enrolling in a ministry, placing a greater emphasis on our studies, booking that plane ticket to Austria or intenting to a household?

Or maybe you are part of the 41 percent of students that have an anxiety disorder, and the way you live out those words is by humbly seeking help. Christ may be calling you to wake him up, to calm those storms, to rebuke the winds and the waves of the devil that try to rock your faith.

Anxiety and depression are complicated and deeply personal issues, unique to each individual. However, no one should feel the obligation to carry these crosses on their own. Even Christ allowed for Simon of Cyrene to help him carry his cross up Mount Calvary.

If you or someone you know suffers from anxiety or depression, remember that you’re not alone. Know that there are people at this university who care about you and your eternal soul as well. I may not know your story but know that you are loved and cared for.

I care deeply about this university, especially those that I have the privilege of serving and representing as president of Student Government. If you have a suggestion, idea or concern please feel free to reach out, and know that you will be listened to.

St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home.” So, let us love our fellow students, because Franciscan is our home, and we are all family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *