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Apr 28, 2023 527 Father Joseph Gill, USA
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Q&A: How Do I Overcome Anxiety?

Q – I am always overwhelmed with anxiety—about my family, my health, my financial situation, my job. I even feel anxious about whether or not I am saved. How can I find peace of heart among so many fears?

A – It is significant that the phrase “Be not afraid” occurs 365 times in the Bible—one for each day of the year! God knew that we would need daily reminders that He is in charge and that we can lay our fears upon Him!

It can be hard to believe that every circumstance of our lives is already in the hands of an all-loving God. But when we look at God’s faithfulness and not our problems, suddenly, we realize how he can bring good out of everything.

For example, read the Scriptures and see how God was faithful to the great heroes of the Bible! In the Old Testament, Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt and then thrown into prison. But God turned this tragedy into an opportunity first for Joseph to rise in the government of Egypt and then for him to save his family when famine struck the land. Or, in the New Testament, Paul was imprisoned, and his life was threatened several times, but each time, God rescued him from his enemies.

Look at the lives of the saints – did God ever abandon them? Think of St. John Bosco – many people sought the life of this holy priest, but each time God miraculously provided a special guardian—a big gray dog that would appear on the scene to protect him! Think of St. Francis, who was captured in battle and imprisoned for a year – and that year became his conversion experience. Think of Bl. Carlo Acutis, the young teen who died of leukemia in 2006 at age 15 and how God has brought great good from that early death, as millions have been inspired to holiness by his story and example.

I can tell you that my most difficult moment – when I was kicked out of school and told to abandon my plans for the priesthood – ended up being one of the most graced and blessed experiences of my life, as it opened the door to priesthood in another, better diocese where I can use my gifts and talents for His glory. It was only with hindsight that I recognized God’s intervention in my life. But the ways God has kept me safe and brought me closer to him in the past gives me confidence that he who was faithful then will be faithful in the future. And now, turn to your own life. How have you seen God come through for you?

Focus on the promises God made in Scripture. He never promised us an easy life – he promised he would never abandon us. He promised that “no eye can see and no ear can hear what God has prepared for those who love Him.” He never promised that life would always go smoothly, but he promised that “all things work for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28) These are promises we can build our lives upon!

Finally, pray the Litany of Trust. The Sisters of Life in New York wrote this beautiful litany which invites us to surrender our anxieties to God. It says, in part:

From anxiety about the future, deliver me, Jesus.

From the restless self-seeking in the present moment, deliver me, Jesus.

From disbelief in Your love and Your presence, deliver me, Jesus.

Pray continually the brief prayer: Jesus, I trust in You! And He can fill your heart with a peace that surpasses all understanding.

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Father Joseph Gill

Father Joseph Gill is a high school chaplain and serves in parish ministry. He is a graduate from Franciscan University of Steubenville and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. Father Gill has published several albums of Christian rock music (available on iTunes). His debut novel, “Days of Grace” is available on amazon.com.

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