“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor - the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant "To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart." Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. (Brené Brown)
"Courage is a heart word", and as Brown states above, it was previously defined as speaking "ones mind by telling all of one's heart". Courage in this manner can be easily viewed as a noble and honest deed. However, this is dependent upon the purity of our intention and the truth within the deepest realities of our heart. As Christians the light by which we should judge our own intentions and inmost realities is through the lens of virtue and the Gospel teachings. By the fruits of our courageous action the condition of our heart is communicated. Do we seek purity of heart? Do we seek union with the heart of Christ?
To be called to courage as Christ's faithful is firstly to imitate the early disciples. We are not only to imitate their outward courageous action, but to venture inward as did these first followers of Christ; seeking purity of heart, repentance, and union of heart with Christ Himself. We are to spend time with our Lord and learn from Him.
"Courage and determination" were words shared today by Pope Francis as he addressed members of the newly-formed Council for the Economy. I was inspired by these familiar words of the Holy Father. Courage is found many times in Scripture and in the teachings of our beloved saints. It often seems today that the idea of courage and zeal for the faith is promoted far before any spiritual fruit is cultivated and a deep awareness of God's presence through prayer encountered. Evangelizing with courage for the faith is a result of love and honest devotion. It is born from the heart of one in love with our Lord and faithful to His decrees. The boldness of being courageous is born from the fragility of ones own vulnerability and self-awareness before God. It is born from a humble walk with the Lord and being aware of weaknesses and assured of God's almighty strength. We respond best to the call to courage when we surrender our hearts fully to the One who has called us.
As Saint John Paul II stated in Redemptoris Missio "The new evangelism is not a matter of merely passing on doctrine, but rather a personal and profound meeting with the Savior." To be sent forth prematurely with a misguided understanding of the heart of Christ and without a deep experience of encounter, then our mission becomes one rooted in ones mind telling all that one knows. To enter into our heart first, and to seek an encounter with the heart of Christ, this is where courage is found. Boldness for the faith is manifested in the quiet tranquility of prayer. This is where purity of heart and intent can be sought. It means not only living the Gospel, but to spend time, frequenting the Sacraments continually seeking the heart of the risen Lord. (C.C.)