THE GIFT OF FEAR OF THE LORD (7 OF 7)
Holy fear of the Lord consists in fearing to offend God by our indifference and sinfulness.
If we look at the Holy Scriptures, we will see that the Holy Name of God inspired so much awe and respect that the Israelites did not pronounce it completely for fear of offending Him.
We must not fear God because He is going to punish us. This, indeed, would be to think that God is only a punitive God, waiting for a chance to teach us a lesson when we deviate from His Perfect Plan. This is not the case. We must fear God because our lives depend on Him and, when we sin, we separate ourselves from Him and risk to be on our own. As we fear disappointing our parents/elders here on Earth, we are called to a healthy fear of our Lord.
So we must trust and remain in our faithful God, who is our strength, the light of our lives. We must remain faithful to Him and avoid the risk of losing Him for lacking Fear of God.
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Proverbs 8:13 "[The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil;] Pride, arrogance, the evil way, and the perverse mouth I hate.
John 15:1-6, Jesus tells us Himself that a branch cut off the vine withers and dies; if we turn away from God who is Light, we are then serving the prince of darkness- the evil one:
"1 2 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes 3 so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. 4 Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned."
If we have our teachable spirit intact, this alone would be enough reason to have fear of offending God.
The Book of Sirach, chapter 1 references Fear of the Lord 10 times in 29 verses:
"3 4 Fear of the LORD is glory and splendor, gladness and a festive crown. Fear of the LORD warms the heart, giving gladness and joy and length of days. He who fears the LORD will have a happy end; even on the day of his death he will be blessed. The beginning of wisdom is fear of the LORD, which is formed with the faithful in the womb. With devoted men was she created from of old, and with their children her beneficence abides.
Fullness of wisdom is fear of the LORD; she inebriates men with her fruits. Her entire house she fills with choice foods, her granaries with her harvest. Wisdom's garland is fear of the LORD, with blossoms of peace and perfect health. Knowledge and full understanding she showers down; she heightens the glory of those who possess her. The root of wisdom is fear of the LORD; her branches are length of days.
5 One cannot justify unjust anger; anger plunges a man to his downfall. A patient man need stand firm but for a time, and then contentment comes back to him. For a while he holds back his words, then the lips of many herald his wisdom. Among wisdom's treasures is the paragon of prudence; but fear of the LORD is an abomination to the sinner.
If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments, and the LORD will bestow her upon you; For fear of the LORD is wisdom and culture; loyal humility is his delight. 6 Be not faithless to the fear of the LORD, nor approach it with duplicity of heart. Play not the hypocrite before men; over your lips keep watch. Exalt not yourself lest you fall and bring upon you dishonor; For then the LORD will reveal your secrets and publicly cast you down, because you approached the fear of the LORD with your heart full of guile."
"He who finds wisdom is great indeed, but not greater than he who fears the LORD. Fear of the LORD surpasses all else. its possessor is beyond compare."
The Book of Sirach, chapter 25 offers multiple references to FEAR OF THE LORD:
Sirach 25:6 "The crown of the elderly, wide experience; their glory, the fear of the Lord."
Sirach 50:28-29 "Happy those who meditate upon these things; wise those who take them to heart! If they put them into practice, they can cope with anything, for the fear of the LORD is their lamp."
Romans 3:10-18 gives us a glimpse of the lawlessness that occurs when man turns from the Fear of the Lord: as it is written:g “There is no one just, not one, there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have gone astray; all alike are worthless; there is not one who does good, [there is not] even one. Their throats are open graves; they deceive with their tongues; the venom of asps is on their lips;h their mouths are full of bitter cursing.i Their feet are quick to shed blood;j ruin and misery are in their ways, and the way of peace they know not. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”k
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
There are 13 references to Fear of the Lord in the CCC- 712, 1041, 1167, 1303, 1432, 1808, 1831, 1845, 2084, 2145, 2149, 2150, 2217.
Those listed below are taken from the Index:
among the principal passions, 1772; of eternal damnation, 1453; of evil, 1765; evoked by God's presence, 2144; of God as the foundation of respect for one's parents, 2217; of God as a gift of the Spirit, 1303, 1831; of God inspired by the message of the Last Judgment, 1041.