Be Not Afraid, But Be Confident in Christ

“We are in a war with Satan and his evil forces,” says Deacon Steve Greco. “Because of this war the sacraments are critical for our spiritual survival.”

Deacon  Steve Greco, founder of Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry, has written new book, Be Not Afraid, which encourages Catholics to turn to faith in the midst of the pandemic and other current challenges. In conjunction with the book, his ministry will present a Be Not Afraid conference in early 2021.

He is a retired pharmaceutical industry executive who was ordained to the permanent diaconate for the Diocese of Orange in Southern California in 2007. He founded Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry in 2014. Its purpose is to engage in evangelism and assist missionary efforts in Indonesia and the Philippines.

 

Why did you decide to write Be Not Afraid? 

As the pandemic really got going in March, I and several friends began an intense period of prayer. As a result, I felt called to write a book about the importance of faith in overcoming fear. This pandemic is an opportunity for each of us to trust more in Jesus and his Mercy. 

I’ve received a positive response, with people telling me that it really gives them hope and encouragement, strengthens their faith and helps calm them about troubles in society. We’ve had people buy the book individually on our ministry website, and we’ve also had parishes buy boxes of the book and distribute them to their parishioners.  

 

What advice from the book would you like to offer? 

Take this time as an opportunity to improve your relationship with Jesus and strive for constant communication with Christ.  Every moment of the day is critical. I’m praying now more than ever, up to four hours a day, including three Rosaries, 7 to 10 Divine Mercy chaplets, as well as prayer with Scripture. We know that “we plan and God laughs.” 

We must also remember that Jesus is Lord, and the King of Kings. That includes over the virus and everything else going on in the universe and our lives. Nothing happens that is independent of Jesus. He is there for us and giving us comfort if we let him. I am reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 11 [28-30]: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me: for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 

What is the goal of the book and its companion conference?

I hope it gives readers and participants hope and encouragement. Nothing will happen that God will not allow to happen according to his glory and will. We’re told in Romans 8:28, “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”

What is critical is for us to conquer fear which is the enemy of faith and love. We need to ask for faith and expect miracles. It is so important that we trust in Jesus and allow his Divine Mercy to absorb and empower us. There is no way we can conquer our anxiety unless we learn how to pray with power. We are in a war with Satan and his evil forces. Because of this war the sacraments are critical for our spiritual survival. This means receiving the Body and Blood of Christ whenever possible and having fervent Reconciliation, although I realize this has been a challenge this year as our churches have undergone periods of lockdown this year. In fact, I have heard that some dioceses are returning to lockdowns. Regardless, each night we need to examine our conscience and mind to ascertain what we did to draw closer to Christ, consolation in Ignatius spirituality, and our actions which drew us further away from Christ, which is desolation.

What is truth to you? How much is Jesus “the way, the truth, and the life” in your life? If you believe, then you must tell others of the truth. The reality is so few people truly understand that Jesus is the answer to all of life’s issues.

 

We are all called to holiness, particularly at this time.

Yes. It is not an option. If we are paralyzed by what is happening in the world, sickness or disease, violence and strife, or anything else, then we fall short of the mark of being used by Jesus to “move mountains.” Our very purpose on earth is to unite with Jesus and carry out His will in our actions. The war we are in is deciding do we live out our purpose or let the enemy defeat us with doubt, fear, sin, and being paralyzed by not knowing the future?

I believe strongly that when we are afraid, we let the enemy into our spiritual lives. The more fear, the more immobilized we are in achieving God’s will in our lives. We must truly understand how to live out our Baptism to be “Priest, Prophet and King.” It is the reality of who we are in Christ that will defeat the enemy.

As I talk to audiences … and it’s great to be seeing people in-person again … I ask them to ask themselves, “Do I want to win the war against evil and achieve my purpose in life?” If the answer is yes, then pray with faith and expect God’s miracles to enter your life in a powerful way. 

 

How was Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry affected by the pandemic?

Going into March 2020, the ministry had never been busier.  But by the end of the month, we had been forced to cancel 50 in-person conferences, talks and seminars.  As unfortunate as this was, however, it has prompted our ministry to change its strategy and focus, and begin to offer online Facebook seminars, teachings and bible studies. We’ve resumed in-person events, but people still have the opportunity to participate virtually.

We anticipate our most impressive conference ever to be the Be Not Afraid conference in early 2021; we’ll be releasing more details through our website and social media shortly. But, essentially, it will feature prominent Catholic speakers addressing topics themed to our time and circumstances.

 

As if you’re not busy enough, being quarantined at home gave you time to write a new book on prayer, Miracles through Prayer.

Yes, it is an introduction to and aid for Catholics wishing to grow in their spiritual lives. Our diocesan bishop, Kevin Vann, who has been an enthusiastic supporter of and participant in our ministry, wrote the foreword for the book. 

In 2019, Bishop Vann told us that the upcoming year would be a Year of Prayer.  Referencing Luke 12:49, the bishop told me personally that he wants to set our parishes on fire with the love of Christ. So, in response, I wrote Miracles through Prayer as a comprehensive guide to various forms of prayer available to us which will aid us in growing closer to Christ. It actually is a good companion book to Be Not Afraid, and is written in simple language so that Catholics can read it quickly and get much benefit from it.

This has been a difficult period in our country’s history, but I believe that with our intensified prayers and positive efforts whatever our vocation in life, we can come out stronger than ever.