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Fear of the Lord
“One of the greatest favors God can bestow on a soul in this life is to give it to understand clearly and to sense manifestly that He cannot be entirely known or sensed.” —Saint John of the Cross
In other words, one of the greatest graces is knowing that God cannot be entirely known.
God is infinitely perfect. He is infinitely good, true, and beautiful. When we fight and work against God, or when we pit our wills against His, we must understand what we are trying to do. There isn’t a metaphor out there that accurately captures the limitations of our humanity in contrast to the infiniteness of God. The difference is exactly that...infinite.
But, where does that leave us? What do we do with the knowledge that we are practically nothing and God is infinitely immense?
It leaves us with one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Fear of the Lord. And, when we hear this, we shouldn’t think of cowering in fear and hiding from God. Fear of the Lord is knowing our rightful place in relation to God. It’s a gift to know that we are nothing, thus acknowledging that we have to turn to Him in praise, adoration, thanksgiving, and atonement.
“The fear of the Lord is glory and exultation, gladness and a festive crown. The fear of the Lord rejoices the heart, giving gladness, joy, and long life. Those who fear the Lord will be happy at the end, even on the day of death they will be blessed.” (Sirach 1:11-13)