As we continue meditating on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we turn our attention to a gift that is often misunderstood — Fear of the Lord. When we think of the word “fear” we often think of it as something negative. But in the context of the Holy Spirit’s gifts, we can replace the word “fear” with “awe” or “wonder.”
Fear of the Lord is the feeling of amazement before God, who is all-present, and whose friendship we do not want to lose. There are two kinds of fear: the fear of a servant and the fear of a child. Of the two, childlike fear of God is the more noble and beautiful. It urges the soul to avoid even the least sin in order not to displease God, our loving and caring Father. Fear of the Lord is that childlike fear which causes us to dread no misfortune so much as that of a displeasing God, making us flee from sin as the greatest evil. The Saints were animated by childlike fear and love for the Heavenly Father and were ready to die rather than break His holy law by willful sin.https://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/the-gifts-of-the-holy-spirit-and-how-to-use-them.aspx
A Motivation to Evangelize
Fear of the Lord inspires us to hunger for souls the same way Jesus does. We see how many people aren’t aware of the preciousness of our relationship with God. That makes us sad, and it motivates us to help them see the great gift. We are motivated to evangelize.https://www.fromtheabbey.com/keys-chapel-christian-prayer/gifts-of-the-holy-spirit-empower-our-adventure-gift-of-fear-of-the-lord/
This is a great manifestation of this gift. However, while many of us want to help others, often we don’t know how. But this is where another gift from the Holy Spirit comes in, the gift of knowledge which we discussed previously. It’s that gift that tells us how to help others to appreciate God’s greatness. Understanding helps us show, either through words or example, why prayer and celebrating Mass is so important. We want others to fear NOT having that close relationship with God as much as they would fear not having their spouse or loved one.
It is easy in this time of pandemic to cast aside our need for God and lose that sense of childlike awe. After months of illness, restrictions, and lack of community, many of us might want to say, “forget it, I’m just going to party with reckless abandon since I’m doomed anyway.” But this is the time when we need this gift of awe the most. We need to fear that our current situation might allow Satan to pull us away from God. It’s not that we explicitly tell God to go away. It’s that in our fear and depression, we just lose that sense of awe, stop seeing God’s importance, and then stop fostering our relationship with Him. We need this gift, this motivation, to fear the Lord and fear His absence in our lives now more than ever.
Fearing the Lord in the Rosary
Think about the Fourth Luminous Mystery of the Rosary — The Transfiguration. Imagine the awe Saint Peter, James, and John must have felt when they saw Jesus transfigure into pure holiness before their eyes. This must have solidified their understanding that as apostles they were in God’s company when they were with Jesus. And yet, that sense of awe still faded, at least temporarily, during Jesus’ Passion when they abandoned Him. It shows why this sense of awe is a gift as it’s something we as humans can have a hard time maintaining on our own.
Now think about the Fifth Luminous Mystery — The Institution of the Eucharist. I wonder how many of the apostles truly understood the incredible miracle that was occurring before them at the Last Supper. Or did many of them eat and drink the Eucharist without a true sense of awe of what Jesus offered them? How many times have you received the Body and Blood of Jesus at Mass with a sense of awe over the miracle taking place? Or are you more on autopilot because Jesus isn’t bodily present getting your attention like the Transfiguration?
We really have two awe-inspiring events between the Transfiguration and the Last Supper. It’s easy to stand in awe at a miraculous event like the Transfiguration but harder to see the awe in the Eucharist. For many of us, the Eucharist is something we experience every week so that fear of the Lord’s awesomeness is lost. When you pray the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, remind yourself of the great gift God gives us through the Eucharist. Ask the Holy Spirit to increase your fear in God so that you can see God in all the big and small He manifests Himself in your life.