The Loving reverence towards God is a gift of the Holy Spirit, also known as the fear of the Lord. This gift of the holy fear of God fills us with loving obedience and surrender to God. Blessed Josemaria Esciva sees it as a holy fear that makes us acknowledge our nothingness before God and helps us to want to please God always. Put differently, we get so wrapped up in thought of the immensity of God that we take care not to offend Him and dread the loss of heaven. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight”, Prov. 9.10.

The fear of the Lord is our affectionate relationship with the Father and not just the efforts made to comply with the Lord’s injunctions. This is also different from the fear that comes over us when we are faced with uncertainty or danger or when at a disadvantage. The fear of the Lord however, is being filled with a sense of awe. “It is the confirmation of the theological virtue of hope” – J.A. Hardon. We come to this experience by developing quality time for the Listening prayer, being docile and opened to growth in the reverential Love of God.

The Holy Spirit comes when we receive the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, and we are to grow from thence in the gifts of the Holy Spirit as we grow in physical maturity. These gifts fill us with the thoughts of God and eternity, and the dread of sins. And the last of these seven gifts of the Holy Spirit is the Fear of the Lord – filling us with a loving reverence towards God, and assisting us not to displease Him.

Let us pray – Come, O Blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set thee, my Lord and God, before my face forever; help me to shun all things that can offend Thee, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Thy Divine Majesty in heaven where Thou livest and reignest in the unity of the Blessed Trinity, God, world without end. Amen.

Fr. John