In the first reading today from Hosea 10, we read, "Since they do not fear the LORD, what can the king do for them?" It's a rhetorical question, of course. Without fear of the Lord, no man can do anything for us. When we put our trust in politicians and kings, we're spinning our wheels. But it begs the question, what is Fear of the Lord? To help, I'm including the chapter from A Minute in the Church: Back to the Basics on Fear of the Lord, which is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Fear of the Lord
The seventh gift of the Holy Spirit, fear of the Lord, may be the most misunderstood of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This is because most people associate the word “fear” with being frightened or afraid. Thus, they think we’re supposed to be afraid of or frightened by God. That’s not what the gift of the Holy Spirit is about.
Fear of the Lord is a sense of awe and wonder in regard to God. It gives us a greater realization that God is all-powerful. This gift gives a desire to not offend God, not because of our fear of punishment, but because of our great love for him. Just as with Piety, fear of the Lord springs from love.
Unfortunately, this gift seems to be sorely lacking in the world today. With advances in science and technology, many people are no longer awed by the mighty hand of God. And it sometimes seems as though reverence has all but disappeared. As Catholics, we must always pray for the gift of fear of the Lord, especially in regard to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. We should be dumbstruck with awe and wonder every time we go to Mass.
Finally, the Book of Proverbs has lots of passages about fear of the Lord. Here are a couple to meditate on.
“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that a man may avoid the snares of death.” (Proverbs 14:27)
“The fear of the Lord is an aid to life; one eats and sleeps without being visited by misfortune.” (Proverbs 19:23)
For further study:
Read through the Book of Proverbs
Father, give us Fear of the Lord, a holy and healthy reverence and awe of your might and love. Amen.
Get all five books in the A Minute in the Church series today at www.GusLloyd.com.
I saw this in one of my readings this morning and thought it was a nice fit to what you shared:
“Many men keep the commandments in the way sick men take medicine: more from fear of dying in damnation than for joy of living according to our Savior’s will. Just as some persons dislike taking medicine, no matter how pleasant it is, simply because it is called medicine, so there are some souls who hold in horror things commanded simply because they are commanded . . . On the contrary, a loving heart loves the commandments. The more difficult they are, the sweeter and more agreeable it finds them, since this more perfectly pleases the Beloved and gives Him greater honor.”
—St. Francis de Sales