Do not be afraid!

"His heart is steady; he will not be afraid."
(Psalm 112:8)

Notice that God does not promise that the righteous will not receive bad news. They will. That is life in this valley of tears. But the righteous will not be afraid. This reminds me of Pope St. John Paul the Great’s first words and constant summons to us in the Church: “Do not be afraid!” He said this because he heard these words repeated by the Lord God throughout Scripture. There is hardly a time in the history of God’s people when that divine challenge is not made. But will we heed it?

Why aren’t the righteous afraid? It’s not that the bad news isn’t so bad. The answer is in the heart: because “his heart is firm.” To ensure that we get the point, the psalmist repeats this point in the next verse: “His heart is steady; he will not be afraid” (Psalm 112:8). Bad news tests the heart. We all know this: with bad news we feel the beating of our hearts as our heart rates steadily increase. But what makes the heart firm and steady? Faith in God. It is “trusting in the Lord” that anchors our hearts, keeping them from being carried away by the waves and wind of fear and anxiety. We need a strong faith to have a strong heart. And we need that strength now more than ever.

Without faith in God, without trust in his ultimate love and victory in the world, we can easily lose our hope. This summer my son became a police officer. I told him that he chose a heck of a time to enter that line of work. In his first day of training, the sergeant told them that one of the primary challenges they would see is the epidemic of youth drug overdose and suicide. The sergeant then recounted that his first call the previous night was for a thirteen-year-old boy who had committed suicide. What might the suicide rate look like if our young people were grounded in the purpose of their lives, the “good news” of the New Testament?

We all know that Jesus promised to be with us whenever “two or three are gathered in my name” (Mt 18:20). And we know that God has visited his people one-by-one: coming to Samuel while he slept, to Elijah on Mount Carmel, and to St. Paul on the road to Damascus. We are consoled by God’s closeness to us when we are alone or in smaller groups, like our families.  

Yet we also know that Jesus came to bring the good news of God’s love to “the whole creation” (Mk 16:15), and that the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles and the other close followers of Jesus when they were “all together in one place” (Acts 2:1).

And we appreciate why, when it was time to praise the Lord for the beauty of his heavenly court, the Psalmist used the best image we have of joyous togetherness: a large and orderly city.

en Español - for Free!

en Español - for Free!

This month we celebrate the sixth year of FORMED! It is in over 6,000+ parishes and is reaching over 1.3 million active users. Thanks be to God! But we want to reach more. We have many great programs on FORMED translated into Spanish, but have been wanting to meet the requests from Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, and many countries throughout Central and South America to launch a specifically Spanish FORMED platform. We want to make this platform free for all of Central and South America, so that we can reach over 1 million souls in the first year! Because of our ability to leverage our current infrastructure, we can keep our costs low and expand our mission to share the Gospel. Can you help us share the good news to all in Central and South America? We are losing so many Catholics in these countries to secularism and proselyting from other faiths that we must change the tide. Will you help us?

A New Free Prayer App!

We are excited to announce we just launched a new app for prayer: AMEN. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoting St. Alphonsus Liguori, makes the remarkable and sober observation that:

Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned.
(CCC, 2744)

A New Free Prayer App!

We are about to launch a new app for prayer: AMEN. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoting St. Alphonsus Liguori, makes the remarkable and sober observation that:

Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned.
(CCC, 2744)

Given that prayer is as necessary as breathing for a Christian, we wanted to come up with a platform that will help get out the rich content we have on prayer to make it easy for people to pray. Here at the Augustine Institute, we have a passionate love for Scripture and teaching people how to pray in the ancient method of lectio divina. The app we are releasing will employ Scripture and the richness of our two-thousand-year-old Catholic tradition of prayer. With the AMEN app release, we are excited about its layout and ease of use, as well as the audio quality of the daily meditations. This new project is so important that we have decided we need to take the bold step of offering it for free. Everyone should have AMEN. We are going to trust Providence that generous hearts will come forward to donate to support this new venture.

In order not to drown in the deluge of bad news and problems, we need to have steady hearts that are anchored in deep trust of our Lord. But to have firm hearts, we need to have a well-formed faith. That is why we are appealing for your partnership to help us in these vital initiatives of faith formation: (1) expanding the reach of our FORMED platform into the Spanish-speaking world, and (2) funding our new AMEN app. People need to pray, or they will spiritually perish. Using new technology, we can provide an easy means to help people begin and continue down the daily road of prayer. We are stepping out in faith, launching the AMEN app that we have worked so hard on this past year for free. Help us help people learn to pray and thus experience the good news of God's love.

The times are dire, but God's grace and power are not constrained. Help us sow God's Word widely with these two initiatives. As Jesus taught in the Parable of the Sower,

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.
(Matthew 13:19)

Help us plant the Word of God with understanding, so that it is embedded deeply in the hearts of all who hear it through these initiatives, ensuring that the devil and all the bad news of the world cannot snatch it away. May you say with David, to whom God himself described as a man after God's own heart!

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!
(Psalm 57:7)

Please support us and help provide for many others to join that song for all eternity. God bless and keep your hearts firm!
Shalom,
Tim Gray
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Some updates for you!

Thank you to all who donated last year to support our upcoming Death and Dying program. We plan to release in early 2022.
This fall we celebrated record enrollment for our graduate school!
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