This story was intended for those followers of Jesus who were worried about the possibility of government persecutions, opposition from other religious groups, and the very slow (as it seemed) progress of Christianity.
The story says that, as President Roosevelt said when he was inaugurated on 1933, the only thing to fear is fear itself, blind unreasoning terror that paralyzes our every action.
While the story was told to reassure the very early Christians, it applies to us as much as it did to them.
Fr. Greeley's Last Book:
Once upon a time a group of young hikers were wandering through dense woods. They were singing and having a grand time. As the sun begin to go down, some of them got worried. How are we going to get out of here, they wondered. Their leader, a young woman who was more familiar with the woods better than the others, said confidently don't worry, I'll get you out. I know my way around out here. Well, then it got very cloudy, and there was lightening and thunder and the rain poured down. They ran for cover to an old broken down lean to. It rained for two hours.
By the time it stopped, it was very dark. The sky was hidden behind clouds and there was no moon to peak out. Blair witch project, someone muttered. One of the girls screamed. One of the boys said there is an animal out there., a big animal and I can hear him. Another girl began to sob and cried out. I'll never see my family again. Take my hands said the girl who knew her way around. I know the path even in the dark.
Well, they stumbled and bumbled through the forest, tripping on tree roots and bumping up against trees, and hearing all kinds of witch like noises. They all blamed their leader for getting them lost. Some said she was going in the wrong direction and threatened to start out on their own, but they were afraid to do that. Then they got very mean and nasty. Are we there yet they moaned like little kids in a car. They were about to break away from the leader. She said just a couple of more minutes. You know what happened? They stumbled out on the road and their SUV was right there. None of them apologized to the girl who had led them out of the forest.
1 O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts
for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where no water
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