Range Anxiety: Roadblock to Devotion?

This week's reflection is written by
V. Rev. Michael S. Murray, OSFS

While reading an article in the Wall Street Journal highlighting the challenges facing Elon Musk’s Tesla electric cars, I came across a term that I had never before encountered: “Range anxiety”.

“‘Range anxiety’ is the fear that a vehicle has insufficient range to reach its destination and would thus strand the vehicle's driver/occupants. Primarily used in reference to battery electric vehicles (BEVs), ‘range anxiety’ is considered to be one of the major barriers to large scale adoption of all-electric cars by consumers.” [Wikipedia]

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If would-be drivers believe that an electric car won’t go the distance, they will forego the technology. Hey, can you blame them?

When it comes to the spiritual life, we probably all experience from time to time a variation on “range anxiety”, that is, the fear that somehow, we won’t make it to heaven. The danger is that if we begin to believe that we don’t have what is takes to live a life of devotion – if we become convinced that we can’t go the distance in our attempt to grow in holiness – we might succumb to the temptation to stop trying to be the kind of people God calls us - and enables us - to become.

One of Francis de Sales’ most quoted observations serves as a powerful remedy for any of us who might be experiencing “range anxiety” for any number of reasons in our spiritual lives:

“Do not forestall the accidents of this life by worrying about them beforehand but forestall them by perfect hope that as and when they are actually upon you, God – to whom you belong – will save you. He has watched over you until now; all you have to do is to keep a tight hold on the hand of Providence and God will help you in all that happens, and where you cannot walk, God will carry you in his arms. What need you fear…since you belong to God who has told us so firmly that ‘to them that love God all things work together unto good’. Do not think about what is going to happen tomorrow, for the same eternal Father who is watching over you today will watch over you tomorrow and every day. Either God will not send you misfortune or, if he does, God will give you unfailing courage to bear it.” (Stopp, LSD, p. 262.)

When it comes to growing in holiness, don’t succumb to “range anxiety”. Strengthened by the grace of God – and the companionship of fellow travelers – you won’t get stranded along the road to devotion!