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‘Courage’ is an invitation to trust the Lord fully, says Washington, DC-based friar

“At once [Jesus] spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27). 

This verse comes from the Gospel of Matthew, which is one of the three synoptic Gospels in the New Testament of the Bible.

Not much is known about St. Matthew, who is credited with writing the Gospel of Matthew, says Christian website Overviewbible.com. 

When Matthew was called by Jesus to be one of his disciples, he was employed as a publican, or tax collector — a “reviled profession” at the time.

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And though he’s one of the authors of the Gospels, “there are just seven mentions of him in the entire Bible,” said the same source. 

Throughout the Bible, Jesus repeatedly reassures his disciples to not be afraid, said Fr. Patrick Mary Briscoe, O.P., a Washington, D.C.-based Dominican friar.

Courage must be practiced and is an invitation to fully submit to the will of God, said Fr. Patrick Mary Briscoe, O.P., based in Washington, D.C. (iStock/Fr. Patrick Mary Briscoe, O.P.)

“It’s a common enough temptation for Christians to console ourselves, facing the depravity of our age,” he told Fox News Digital. 

“Surely it would have been easier to be a disciple if we had seen Christ, heard his voice, and walked along the sea with him,” said Briscoe. 

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“And yet, throughout the New Testament, the inspired word of God implores believers again and again to not be afraid.”

This is evidence that, in actuality, he said, “It was not easy then to be a disciple, and it’s not easy now.”

By telling his disciples to “take courage,” Jesus was offering “an invitation to trust him fully,” said Briscoe.

Engraving of Jesus teaching

Throughout the Bible, Jesus can be seen telling his followers, “Do not be afraid.”  (iStock)

“In the face of adversity, our natural inclination might be to rely on our own strength and understanding. And we have to cast that aside as well,” he said.

It should be noted that “the evils the first disciples of Jesus faced were very great,” he said — and they faced brutal deaths. 

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“All of the apostles died as martyrs, except for John,” said Briscoe, citing “venerable traditions.” 

Briscoe is a Dominican friar. The Dominican Order was started in the 13th century by St. Dominic, and it is also referred to as the “Order of Preachers.” 

a painting depicting the upside-down crucifixion of St. Peter

Tradition holds that St. Peter was crucified upside-down. All of the apostles, except for John, were martyred, noted Fr. Briscoe. (iStock)

In addition to St. Dominic, notable Dominicans include St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Albertus Magnus and St. Rose of Lima. 

“For Thomas Aquinas, the renowned medieval Dominican theologian, courage is the virtue that allows us to stand firm in the case of great evil,” said Briscoe. 

“We need courage, to take heart, in order to stand firm.”

“Christ’s presence and power are sufficient to bring calm to the world’s chaos and courage to our hearts.”

As with other Christian virtues, “courage is practiced and grows first in small ways,” said Briscoe.

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“Aquinas says, ‘He that stands firm against great things, will in consequence stand firm against less things, but not conversely.’” 

stained glass window of St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas (left) is considered a Doctor of the Church and one of the most brilliant theological minds of all time. (iStock)

Practicing courage, especially in “small things,” will do much good, Briscoe said. 

This “will train our hearts, fortifying them against the temptations and sorrows of our day,” he added.

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“As we navigate the tempests of life, may we find solace in the words of Jesus: ‘Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid,'” said Briscoe. 

“This verse encapsulates the heart of the Gospel message — that Christ’s presence and power are sufficient to bring calm to the world’s chaos and courage to our hearts,” he said.

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