God Is The Lord
The fear of the Lord is honor, and glory, and gladness, and a crown of joy. The fear of the Lord shall delight the heart, and shall give joy, and gladness, and length of days. With him that feareth the Lord, it shall go well in the latter end, and in the day of his death he shall be blessed. The love of God is honorable wisdom. And they to whom she shall show herself love her by the sight, and by the knowledge of her great works. ~Sirach 1:11~15
My morning prayer and meditation today was focused on Fear of the Lord, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I began meditating and reflecting on this gift after reading what Fr.Alfred Delp had to say about it. The heart of what he had to say on this gift was this: "Much in our lives would be different if more people knew the easy, simple sentence~ and vividly understood~ that God is the Lord." I stayed with that sentence for awhile to let it really begin to seep into my thoughts and prayers. I will try to stay with this bit of wisdom throughout this day as well.
From there I went back into Scripture to the passage I quoted at the start of this post. It clearly states what real, biblical fear of the Lord is. It is a gift that brings hope and leads to love. It is not a slavish, cowering fear; it is not being afraid. It is knowing God's holiness and majesty and my nothingness. It is knowing that God is the Lord of all, that ultimately He is the Lord of my life and I am not.
I know from first hand experience what happens when I forget that God is the Lord. When I think that I can handle, on my own, even the smallest of situations in my life disaster and destruction are sure to follow. I have always been a very independent person. I would rather do things myself not asking for help when I need it. Part of my conversion, a very big part in fact, has been in receiving this gift of the Spirit. If I am to live in loving relationship with God, I have to recognize my need for Him and my dependence on Him in everything. I have to constantly be aware that He is Lord.
The world will tell us otherwise. It does not see this fear of God as a gift, but rather a prison. This world would have us believe that we are in charge and that we have no need of God. The world does not see or believe that God is the Lord.
The saints too had much to say on this gift of the Holy Spirit. St Bernard of Clairvaux speaks of it from the standpoint of Wisdom. He explains in the following quote that we do not learn wisdom in a lecture hall, but in an encounter with the Lord which leads to this holy and biblical fear of the Lord.
"For there we listen to Wisdom as a teacher in a lecture hall, delivering an all embracing discourse, here we receive it within us; there our minds are enlightened, here our wills are moved to decision. Instruction makes us learned, experience makes us wise...and so with God: to know Him is one thing, to fear Him is another, not does knowledge make a man wise but the fear that motivates him... How truly is fear of the Lord the beginning of Wisdom, because the soul begins to experience God for the first time when fear of Him takes hold of it, not when knowledge enlightens it...Fear of Him is an experience; it is a barrier to foolishness." (Bernard of Clairvaux: sermon 23)
God knows we need Him. When we allow Him into our lives, giving Him free reign, our lives and the lives of those around us are better. To paraphrase Fr. Alfred Delp once again: When we truly understand fear of the Lord, our slavish fear of God dies, and so does our fear of other people.
So go ahead, fear God~know that He is Lord, and live.