THE GIFT OF FEAR OF THE LORD. Consideration and prayer.
“The gift of Fear, like the gift of Piety, according to St Thomas, results from the gift of Wisdom and is, as it were, its external manifestation (S.T. 2-2, q. 45. a. 1 ad 3).
It is a supernatural disposition of the soul which makes us experience, as it were instinctively, under the motion of the Holy Spirit, an immense respect for the Divine Majesty and boundless complacence in his goodness, together with a lively horror for everything which might in the least offend so good a Father, who is so merciful and so worthy of being loved.
St Teresa of Avila tells us that what is predominant in a soul that is animated by that gift—and Teresa learned this by experience—”is the fear to offend God our Lord, and an ardent desire to accomplish his will in all things; and this is a grace such a soul constantly asks for.” That is why such a soul is ready to suffer a thousand deaths rather than displease the Heavenly Father by committing the smallest venial sin deliberately, or even the least voluntary imperfection.
This shows us clearly that the kind of filial fear, which is aroused by the gift of Fear, is in no way contrary to perfect love as in the case of servile fear. On the contrary, the Fear mentioned here as a gift is an effect of a most tender love.”(A. Riaud, The Holy Spirit Acting in Our Souls)
The true Christian acts through love and is created to love.
- The holy fear of God, gift of the Holy Spirit, is that which dwelt, with the other gifts, in the most holy Soul of Christ and which also filled the Most Blessed Virgin.
- It is the gift of holy souls, which persists eternally in heaven and leads the blessed, together with the angels, to give continual praise to the Most Blessed Trinity.
- St Thomas teaches that this gift is a consequence of the gift of wisdom and is, as it were, its outward sign (St Thomas, Summa Theologiae, II-II, 45, 1 and 3).
This filial fear is proper to children who feel themselves protected by their Father, whom they do not wish to offend. Its results are twofold.
- An immense respect for God’s majesty, a deep discernment of what is sacred and a limitless rejoicing in his goodness as a Father, is the more important of the two, since it was the only one present in Christ and in our Lady.
- This gift enables holy souls to acknowledge their nothingness before God.
- We may also repeat frequently, recognising our nothingness, perhaps as an aspiration, those words so often repeated by St. Josemaría Escrivá: I am worth nothing I have nothing; I can do nothing I know nothing I am nothing, nothing at all! (Quoted by A. Vazquez de Prada, The Founder of Opus Dei, Madrid) at the same time as he realized the incalculable grandeur of knowing oneself and of being a child of God.
During our life on earth there is another effect that derives from this gift: a great horror of sin, and the liveliest contrition if one has had the misfortune to commit it.
- By the light of faith, illumined by the splendour of the other gifts, the soul grasps something of the transcendence of God and of the infinite distance and the abyss which sin opens between man and God.
- The gift of fear enlightens us to understand that sin is at the root of the moral evils which divide and ravage society (John Paul II, Letter presenting the ‘Instrumentum laboris’ of the VI Synod of Bishops, 25 January 1983).
- And the gift of fear leads us also to a hatred for deliberate venial sin and to an energetic reaction against the first symptoms of lukewarmness, carelessness or mediocrity.
- At particular moments of our life we may feel the need to repeat insistently, as an urgent petition: I don’t want to be lukewarm. ‘confige timore tuo carnes meas’. Grant me, my God, a filial fear that will make me react! (cf J. Escrivá, The Way, 326).
SOURCE: ICWG, vol. 2, n. 93.
“Blessed is the man who fears the Lord!” Holy Spirit, Divine Spirit of Light and Love, I consecrate to you my intellect, my will, my heart, my whole being, for time and for eternity.
May my intellect be always docile to all your inspirations and to the teaching of the Holy Catholic Church, whose infallible Guide you are. May my will be always in unison with the divine Will. May my heart be always inflamed by the love of God and of the neighbor. May my whole life be a faithful imitation of the life and the virtues of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to whom, with the Father and you, Holy Spirit, be given forever all honor and glory. (A. Riaud, The Holy Spirit Acting in Our Souls).”
SEE AS WELL
- THE GIFT OF WISDOM (click HERE);
- THE GIFT OF UNDERSTANDING (click HERE);
- THE GIFT OF COUNSEL (click HERE);
- THE GIFT OF FORTITUDE (click HERE);
- THE GIFT OF KNOWLEDGE (click HERE);
- THE GIFT OF FEAR OF THE LORD
PHOTO CREDIT: Raúl Berzosa (painter) in www.raulberzosa.com