Throughout his 26-year pontificate, one of St. John Paul II’s most used phrases was, “Do not be afraid” (also phrased “Be not afraid”).
Was that planned? How did it come about?
John Paul II reflected on that phrase in the book Crossing the Threshold of Hope, and explained that it was the Holy Spirit who inspired him to say those words.
When, on October 22, 1978, I said the words “Be not afraid!” in St. Peter’s Square, I could not fully know how far they would take me and the entire Church. Their meaning came more from the Holy Spirit, the Consoler promised by the Lord Jesus to His disciples, than from the man who spoke them.
He then continues the reflection and explains why he would often return to the phrase during his many years as pope.