Pope Francis: ‘Trust Frees; Fear Paralyzes’

“Can I say every day in prayer, ‘Lord, I trust in You!’?” the Holy Father asked the faithful Nov. 19. The Pope also renewed his call for peace in the Israel-Hamas war and in Myanmar.

Pope Francis gives his Angelus address on Sunday, Nov. 19.
Pope Francis gives his Angelus address on Sunday, Nov. 19. (photo: National Catholic Register / Vatican Media)

Pope Francis during his weekly Angelus on Sunday spoke to the faithful gathered, reflecting on the Parable of the Talents from the Gospel of Matthew to highlight the two different ways of approaching God, with one based on fear and the other on trust. 

This binary choice presents for the faithful a “crossroads,” the Pope argued. But in the characterization of unwavering trust in the Lord, the Pope noted that while there are risks, and trepidation about the uncertainty of what may come, trust gives freedom to act. 

“But much of how we invest them depends on our trust in the Lord, which frees our hearts, makes us active and creative in goodness. Trust frees; fear paralyzes. Fear blocks; trust unblocks our abilities. And it gladdens the heart of the Father, who rejoices at seeing his children who do not fear him, but who love him,” said the Pope.

“They trust, and they risk: They count on the understanding of the master who chose them, on the goodness of the gift entrusted to them, on the skills they have received. Thus, they have the courage to act freely, creatively, generating new wealth.”

In the parable from Matthew's Gospel, the master gives his servants different talents (which in the parable refers to monetary units), reflecting the individuality of each servant. The master, upon his return from a journey, notes that two of the servants increased the talents, while the other, acting out of fear, merely preserved it by burying it. 

In this way, the Holy Father said that it is not enough to act out of fear, but to trust in the Lord and in the gifts he has given us. 

Trust is a reciprocal process. Since the Lord trusts us by giving us certain aptitude and talents, there is a moment where we have to ask, “Do I trust in him to the point of putting myself on the line, without being discouraged, even when the results are neither certain nor to be taken for granted? Can I say every day in prayer, ‘Lord, I trust in You!’?”

“As a Church: do we cultivate a climate of trust and mutual esteem in our environments, which unlocks people and stimulates the creativity of love in everyone?” continued the Pope. 

At the end of the Angelus, the Holy Father made an appeal for those suffering in Myanmar. In 2021, the military in Myanmar staged a coup d'état and vested power in a junta, which has led to a crackdown on dissenters, leading to mass arrests, tortures and killings. 

“I renew my closeness to the dear people of Myanmar, who unfortunately continue to suffer due to violence and abuse.”

The Pope then renewed his call for peace in the Israel-Hamas war, noting that “peace is possible.” 

“It takes goodwill. Peace is possible. Let's not resign ourselves to war! And let us not forget that war is always, always, always a defeat. Only the weapons manufacturers earn.”

Earlier in the morning, the Pope presided over the Mass for the 7th World Day of the Poor, which this year took the theme: “Do not take your eyes off the poor." 

“I thank those in the dioceses and parishes who have promoted solidarity initiatives with people and families who are struggling to move forward,” said the Pope. 

“And on this day we also remember all the road victims: we pray for them, for the families and commit ourselves to preventing accidents,” he continued. 

The Pope also called attention to the beatification in Seville, Spain, yesterday of Manuel Gonzales-Serna, a diocesan priest who, along with 19 other priests and laypeople, was killed in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War, during a “climate of religious persecution.” 

“These martyrs bore witness to Christ until the end. May their example comfort the many Christians who in our time are discriminated against for their faith. A round of applause for the new Blessed!”