Stay up to date

Follow Karen

  • Amayzing Graces on Facebook
  • Amayzing Graces on Instagram
  • Amayzing Graces on YouTube
  • Amayzing Graces on SoundCloud

© 2019 Amayzing Graces

Karen May

Inspirational Catholic Writer and Speaker

based in Austin, Texas

Be Not Afraid

As you go through Be Not Afraid, check out the prayers, videos, and reflections that complement each chapter. I hope they make your study even more fruitful.

Be Not Afraid Study Materials

As you go through Be Not Afraid, check out the prayers, videos, and reflections that complement each chapter. I hope they make your study even more fruitful.
Chapters
Have you read Be Not Afraid? I'd love to hear from you!
 

Chapter 1 : Delays

Be Still and Know that I am God

When I need to sit and rest in the moment, this prayer helps me center. It's so simple, yet so profound.

Take this verse from Psalm 46:10 and meditate on it for a while. Sit with the meaning, and what it says to you right now. Then, we'll take a word or two off and do it again. Take one minute or one hour. I promise it will change your day.

Be Still and Know that I am God

Be Still and Know that I am

Be Still and Know

Be Still

Be

Just Be Held by Casting Crowns

This song helps me to remember that sometimes all I can do is allow the Lord to hold me in my moments of delay. May it help you remember that God is near, no matter what.

Breathe by Jonny Diaz

We work and we work. We try and we try. And then we are reminded that, for now, none of that is necessary.

Chapter 2 : Obstacles

 ​This song could be used in any of these lessons. 
 May we always remember who is in control. 

 A Little Far Side 

 Ever wonder if an obstacle is just in the way you are approaching it? 
 

Chapter 3 : Suffering

 
Blessings by Laura Story
This is the song I refer to on page 51 of
Be Not AfraidIt's beautiful.
 

Chapter 4 : Forgiveness

 Father Mike Schmitz discusses Forgiveness 
This poem speaks to the power of the forgiveness that we are offered in Jesus. 
There is no one who is excluded from the invitation.

The Mystery of Judas

 

Something unsettling rests

inside my mind and heart.

He chose him as His own,

and then suddenly, he was torn apart.

 

He chose him with greed his weakness;

no conscience restricted hi gain.

He died in desperation;

despair became his chain.

 

Yet, through the resurrection of Lazarus,

we know that death does not bind.

And through the death of Jesus,

no one is left behind.

 

He descended into hell

and on the third day rose again

To preach the good news

to all despairing men.

 

Judas was among them;

death, betrayal’s cost.

But, through Jesus’ mercy,

no man would be lost.

 

The ground quaked and shuttered

as ancients, released, arose.

With a second chance before him,

was it Jesus’ mercy he chose?

 

Judas Iscariot, we love you

for prophecy you did fulfill.

We do not want your body

left hanging on the hill.

 

The coins you did take.

His death – powerless to stop it.

Yet reparation did you make;

no blood money would you profit.

 

You threw back the silver,

tainted with His blood,

Shamed and filled with horror

with what your greed had done.

 

The coins were taken with disgust

to buy the potter’s field,

For no good could come of them; 

no goodness would they yield.

 

And Jesus descended into the deep

to open the gates of hell;

To witness His redeeming grace

to saints and sinners as well.

 

And because you preceded Him in death,

His face you did see.

When He broke through the gates of hell,

you had a chance to be free.

And you were given a second chance

for one caught up in greed,

but having regretted what you did

in thought and word and deed.

 

No act of mercy is too great 

for God Who is all good.

He gives us all a second chance 

to do as we know we should.

 

And so I wonder if through grace

when His face you did see,

You raised your eyes to meet His gaze

and chose eternity.

No longer did you despair

on seeing His glow of Love.

You lived the darkness of below,

now chose life with Him above.

 

The Father sent you to this place;

a job you had to do.

You left this life in complete disgrace,

and yet, we owe a debt to you.

 

We pray that with a second chance

when Jesus did descend,

You accepted His mercy and His grace,

your agony to end.

 

And when the earthquake shook the earth, 

and bodies did arise,

We hope that your debt was paid,

and you saw our Father’s eyes.

 

Father, we thank you for this place

where in our weakness we live,

And hope that we learn to accept your grace,

which, with love and mercy, you give.

 

And, Judas, if in heaven you be,

released from sin and despair,

We will gaze upon His face, and

with you, experience His mercy there.

 

No sin or shame is too great

for Love beyond belief,

When we breathe our last breath

and experience sweet relief.

 

We long to be in a state of grace,

but if sin in darkness hold us bound, 

We pray that Jesus reveal His light

and turn our world around.

 

We thank you, Judas, for carrying the shame

that your betrayal did give,

Because, through His passion and death

came Eternal Life to live.

 

- Cam O’Keefe

Poems, Pictures, Prayers and Ponderings, © 2012

www.poemsandmore.com

 

Chapter 5 : Fear

Eleanor has an interesting take on the voices of schizophrenia and fear.
It's an incredible reminder that the things that frighten us could be the very things that help us heal.

The Voices in my Head with Eleanor Longden

 This prayer is a beautiful way to invite Jesus into the things that we may fear. Pray this slowly and thoughtfully. It can change your life.
Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me. 


From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus
From the desire of being loved, 

Deliver me, Jesus 
From the desire of being extolled, 

Deliver me, Jesus 

From the desire of being honored, 

Deliver me, Jesus 
From the desire of being praised, 

Deliver me, Jesus 
From the desire of being preferred to others, 

Deliver me, Jesus 

From the desire of being consulted, 

Deliver me, Jesus 
From the desire of being approved, 

Deliver me, Jesus 
From the fear of being humiliated, 

Deliver me, Jesus 
 

From the fear of being despised,

Deliver me, Jesus 
From the fear of suffering rebukes,

 Deliver me, Jesus 
From the fear of being calumniated, 

Deliver me, Jesus 

From the fear of being forgotten,

 Deliver me, Jesus 
From the fear of being ridiculed, 

Deliver me, Jesus 
From the fear of being wronged, 

Deliver me, Jesus 
From the fear of being suspected, 

Deliver me, Jesus 

That others may be loved more than I,  

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.


That others may be esteemed more than I, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.


That, in the opinion of the world, 
others may increase and I may decrease, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.


That others may be chosen and I set aside, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.


That others may be praised and I unnoticed, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.


That others may be preferred to me in everything, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.


That others may become holier than I,

provided that I may become as holy as I should, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Amen.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Inauguration Speech

               I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

               In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunken to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.

               More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.

               Yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.

               True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

               The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit

.

               Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.

             Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit; and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing. Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live.

               Restoration calls, however, not for changes in ethics alone. This Nation asks for action, and action now.

Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. It can be accomplished in part by direct recruiting by the Government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency of a war, but at the same time, through this employment, accomplishing greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our natural resources.

               Hand in hand with this we must frankly recognize the overbalance of population in our industrial centers and, by engaging on a national scale in a redistribution, endeavor to provide a better use of the land for those best fitted for the land. The task can be helped by definite efforts to raise the values of agricultural products and with this the power to purchase the output of our cities. It can be helped by preventing realistically the tragedy of the growing loss through foreclosure of our small homes and our farms. It can be helped by insistence that the Federal, State, and local governments act forthwith on the demand that their cost be drastically reduced. It can be helped by the unifying of relief activities which today are often scattered, uneconomical, and unequal. It can be helped by national planning for and supervision of all forms of transportation and of communications and other utilities which have a definitely public character. There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped merely by talking about it. We must act and act quickly.

              Finally, in our progress toward a resumption of work we require two safeguards against a return of the evils of the old order; there must be a strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments; there must be an end to speculation with other people’s money, and there must be provision for an adequate but sound currency.

               There are the lines of attack. I shall presently urge upon a new Congress in special session detailed measures for their fulfillment, and I shall seek the immediate assistance of the several States.

Through this program of action we address ourselves to putting our own national house in order and making income balance outgo. Our international trade relations, though vastly important, are in point of time and necessity secondary to the establishment of a sound national economy. I favor as a practical policy the putting of first things first. I shall spare no effort to restore world trade by international economic readjustment, but the emergency at home cannot wait on that accomplishment.

              The basic thought that guides these specific means of national recovery is not narrowly nationalistic. It is the insistence, as a first consideration, upon the interdependence of the various elements in all parts of the United States—a recognition of the old and permanently important manifestation of the American spirit of the pioneer. It is the way to recovery. It is the immediate way. It is the strongest assurance that the recovery will endure.

               In the field of world policy I would dedicate this Nation to the policy of the good neighbor—the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others—the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of his agreements in and with a world of neighbors.

If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other; that we can not merely take but we must give as well; that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress is made, no leadership becomes effective. We are, I know, ready and willing to submit our lives and property to such discipline, because it makes possible a leadership which aims at a larger good. This I propose to offer, pledging that the larger purposes will bind upon us all as a sacred obligation with a unity of duty hitherto evoked only in time of armed strife.

               With this pledge taken, I assume unhesitatingly the leadership of this great army of our people dedicated to a disciplined attack upon our common problems.

               Action in this image and to this end is feasible under the form of government which we have inherited from our ancestors. Our Constitution is so simple and practical that it is possible always to meet extraordinary needs by changes in emphasis and arrangement without loss of essential form. That is why our constitutional system has proved itself the most superbly enduring political mechanism the modern world has produced. It has met every stress of vast expansion of territory, of foreign wars, of bitter internal strife, of world relations.

It is to be hoped that the normal balance of executive and legislative authority may be wholly adequate to meet the unprecedented task before us. But it may be that an unprecedented demand and need for undelayed action may call for temporary departure from that normal balance of public procedure.

              I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. These measures, or such other measures as the Congress may build out of its experience and wisdom, I shall seek, within my constitutional authority, to bring to speedy adoption.

But in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, and in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis—broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe. 

For the trust reposed in me I will return the courage and the devotion that befit the time. I can do no less.

We face the arduous days that lie before us in the warm courage of the national unity; with the clear consciousness of seeking old and precious moral values; with the clean satisfaction that comes from the stern performance of duty by old and young alike. We aim at the assurance of a rounded and permanent national life.

We do not distrust the future of essential democracy. The people of the United States have not failed. In their need they have registered a mandate that they want direct, vigorous action. They have asked for discipline and direction under leadership. They have made me the present instrument of their wishes. In the spirit of the gift I take it.

               In this dedication of a Nation we humbly ask the blessing of God. May He protect each and every one of us. May He guide me in the days to come.

 

Source:

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933, as published in Samuel Rosenman, ed., The Public Papers of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Volume Two: The Year of Crisis, 1933 (New York: Random House, 1938), 11–16.     

Chapter 6 : Leadership

 

 “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." 
-- Marianne Williamson

 

Be Not Afraid Conclusion

This song is something of a Be Not Afraid anthem. (Be sure to notice the physical prayer of Melissa Helser.) May you all feel the truth of this song as much as they do as they sing it. 
No Longer Slaves
by Jonathan David & Melissa Helser

Thank you for joining me in this study. God bless!

- Karen May