This blog will be divided in four sections as follows:
I. Introduction: how I came to this topic but preceded by a few notes for your health!
II. Definition of Fear of God by Archbishop Luis Maria Martinez, who in the first half of the XX C was the head of the Archdiocese of Mexico City and spiritual director to Mexican Servant of God, Conchita Cabrera de Armida, whom I have written much about. In a previous blog, I did also quote from this holy Archbishop many parts of his book, “The Sanctifier”. This time, I will only quote about what he says on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in general, and specifically about the “Fear of God.”
III. Biblical quotes regarding the “Fear of the Lord.”
IV. The full story of what I learned about this gift of the Holy Ghost and how I am applying it to my own life…!
Naturopathic medicine: since last month, I had planned to explain much on cancer and cures for it. I believe that the effect of stress in our bodies should be thoroughly discussed with the latest scientific evidence in order to avoid it when possible. But again, the Lord wanted this topic of fear of God to be developed in great detail, and it does not allow any space for the other. So, at least I will mention two things that you probably know, but which are so important for your health.
1. Vitamin D3 is a vitamin that we do not seem to make it important enough. For example, arthritis pain is helped with it in amounts that are much, much higher than the recommended, and yet not toxic. Parkinson’s is another illness that seems to get better with vitamin D3. So, this weekend, I will put all the information in the section of “pages” on the right side of this site and when you have the time and desire, please read it… The best would be to ask your personal physician at a general check up, to check you levels of this vitamin. I have done it several times, although now I take enough and must have good amounts. I buy the Carlson Vitamin D3 gels of 4,000 units each. Carlson is a very reputable Illinois vitamin company. Gels are preferred so that they dissolve easily. Since the latest literature recommends 4,000 U daily as a minimum, why then to buy in smaller amounts per gel? I take 16,000 units per day with food. Of course, needless to say, Vitamin D3 is essential to allow calcium to be absorbed… A general vitamin only has 400 U… since this is the recommended amount by the “government.” Let me emphasize that there are cases of rickets where 50,000 U were used without any toxicity.
2. SOME plastic containers can have very dangerous substances that can pass into the food we eat. They are categorized by degree of possible toxicity. The safest are No. 1 and 2. No. 4 and 5 are O.K. 3, 6 and 7 are dangerous. And I found out ONLY 2 years ago about my mistake of using Styrofoam cups for coffee in the work place … Wrong… Styrofoam is a number 6…. which is a very dangerous product especially with hot fluids in it. Just check the bottom of all plastic containers or Styrofoam cups for these numbers that appear within a triangle.
This is another month when I learned things I never understood at all! Or let’s put this way: I never heard a homily on “fear of the Lord” ever!!! I did understand well that this kind of “fear” did not mean to be afraid of God in the sense of true fear… Later, this message grew and grew since August 1 when I received four different pages in the Bible as I was lamenting about what I was seeing in our Christian public worship and asked my Lord what I could do more, besides praying. Lo and behold, the four different readings came one after the other, and all had “fear of God” in it. Hmm.
1. He who hates correction walks the sinner’s path, but he who fears the Lord repents in his heart.” Sirach 21:6.
2. He who is perfect in fear of the Lord has wisdom.” Sirach 21: 11b.
3. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.” Proverbs 9:10a
4. The fear of the Lord prolongs life, but the years of the wicked are brief.” Prov. 10:27.
From then on, I received an extensive instruction on this subject and more about fear in general. It is interesting that God does not leave us wanting to understand certain important points in our journey to Him.
1) In the one hand, He tells us in the Bible some 365 times that we should not fear…
2) Yet, in another scripture He says in Mat 10:28 – “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell." In St. Luke’s version, His words appear with more detail: Luke 12:4-5 "To you my friends I say: ‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. I will tell you whom to fear; fear him who, after he has killed, has the power to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.’" So, here He is allowing us to fear the devil…Hmm.
3) Finally, you will see the huge amounts of times He has called Israel and us in the present time to “fear Him.” Yet, this last kind of fear is totally different, as you will read Archbishop Martinez explaining it clearly and all based on St. Thomas Aquinas writings. However, I found another form of how to fear God that truly sent me to a form of contemplative life all day long! And by the way, it is connected with Yosemite Park… He never loses a chance to impress in us His love and mercy with great imagery for our right brain never to forget it… What a God… He is so active, so alive even in 2011…
Then I started learning why Satan is to be feared… But why? Because Satan is the one being that works on making us fearful… Satan has made an industry out generating bogus fear. His weapons are horror movies, anxieties, worries, nightmares, phobias, panic attacks, demons, monies lost in the stock market…!!!, etc. I was pondering all these past weeks that while the Dow index plummeted, I only felt sorry for the nation as a whole and those who may lose jobs, etc… As for myself, I gave my monies away and so far God has provided an excellent retirement plan … Obviously, this is not for everyone. Saving money is very important for our old year’s… Yet, some of us are instructed to walk without a second tunic, with no money bag and not second pair of sandals… and that He will provide… O yes, our trust in His love and mercy does produce incalculable gifts of all sorts… If I had kept my 401K, it might be mostly gone by now, and I would be sooo distracted with the matter of the Dow dancing up and down, that God would be subservient to my fears, and I would become blind to His power in my life…
I also ended up remembering that fear depends on how little we love since in 1John 4:18 we read that in love there can be no fear, but fear is driven out by perfect love, because to fear is to expect punishment, and anyone who is afraid is still imperfect in love. — Or said differently, when we fear, we do because we have not truly loved God and neighbor as we should have… If only we all had understood why the Bible says some 365 times not to fear…! It is a call to reflect in the Truth about the love of God for us and the love we must give Him and His creatures. Jesus said it and said it and said it… “Why were you afraid?” He said that to His disciples when He was sound asleep in the boat in the middle of the storm in the lake…These disciples should have been aware that His love for them would intervene, even that He was asleep. Shouldn’t I always do the same? But they needed the Holy Spirit’s unction to be able to receive His Gifts and be sustained by them: fear of Him, wisdom, understanding, etc… Here is where I began being introduced by the same Holy Ghost into this extraordinary topic of fear of the Lord.
Just to let you know: the little angel figurine, the one I received on the day of the posting of last month’s blog, the one which appeared in the mail box without wrappings or the name of the giver, has brought to me much hope because it came to calm my fears of my inadequacy in writing these messages. I asked my next door neighbor, a lovely woman with a husband and three sons, if she had anything to do with this angel, and “Yes,” she said, “I saw it in a store and thought of you and had to buy it and give it to you.” I related to her how she was also an angel because the figurine with the Biblical quote, “FAITH: I can do all things though Christ Who strengthens me”. Philippians 4:13, came at a moment of doubt as to why I write these blogs with my little knowledge of theology. Then, she came over and gave me a big hug. I could sense that the Holy Spirit was active in this exchange of love between two neighbors plus she had been sent with a huge sign (the angel figurine with Scripture message) that I keep next to my computer. Again, God is into everything…. Later, I related this moment with her and her gift as another chance of being in awe of how He is a God of details and always providing support and love!
Other Scriptures came to life on Aug. 2, the feast of Our Lady Queen of the Angels, who actually was the one who guided me to the first 4 quotes on the previous day. I received Ps 118:4 – Let those who fear the LORD say: "God’s love endures forever." And – Isa 8:11-13 – For thus said the Lord to me, taking hold of me and warning me not to walk in the way of this people: “Call not alliance what this people calls alliance, and fear not, nor stand in awe of what they fear. But with the Lord of hosts make your alliance — for Him be your fear and your awe…” Hmm… Later you will find out that this was crucial for my understanding of what fear of the Lord also is, besides what theologians say about it…
The topic “fear of God” needed a definition in my head… I looked it up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and found little. By the time that I am writing this blog, I can tell you that I regret not having learned about it in much depth when I was a teen… Even when I was “Baptized” in the Holy Spirit in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, I learned much about the Holy Spirit and His Gifts, but never did I hear any one take the information and translate it to me. Of course, there are many Bible verses on this very gift, but not the way I understand this Gift now…
Days later, I entered into another mystery of the concept of fear of the Lord… or at least in my personal experience… I realized how terrifying can be the love of God… And the word terrifying meaning something good for my soul: His love can truly make me experience a sense of embarrassment for the little I have loved Him; for the little that I have paid attention to follow Him with total denial of myself, of my fears and weaknesses, embracing my sufferings as graces to stay in the WAY and the TRUTH, in order to live a LIFE with Him, and following Him day and night, as His terrifying love keeps me awake to the immensity of His mercy… while making the gifts of His Spirit shine in my soul (wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, etc.) Later on, when I reviewed the book of Archbishop Martinez, I found that this kind of fear constitutes one of the “degrees” of the gift of fear of the Lord… Hmm! You will read about it later.
His terrifying love also carries a healthy dose of His intense determination to make us holy (so that we can be with Him forever) and this can be the cause for the right kind of godly fear, which He will NOT quit sanctifying us with, and when in our opinion, we already are good enough! God is the ultimate perfectionist, and He will get what He wants. And if that is us, it is fearful to realize just how far He will go. He is the potter, and He intends vessels of holiness. No, we need not fear that God will fail us or give up on us, but rather firmly believe that He is indeed faithful to finish what He has started. The tragedy of modern faith is that we no longer are capable of being terrified.
Personally, the truth is that most of my life I have not been terrified … As a child, I found Him to be really present in the Host, but His love never terrified me, or said differently, I was not in awe of His immense love for me, or I did not fear Him enough. Worse, I was never presented with the mystery of this gift in a way to help me grow. I wonder how many Holy Hours I did not do and how may Masses I may have missed just because I took His love as a given! I also wonder how many times I did not love my brothers and sisters where they were at, not changed, because I did not comprehend the terrifying fact of His immense love for them and for me! Ouch!
Mike Yaconelli, a Protestant brother wrote: “Our world is… longing to see people whose God is big and holy and frightening and gentle and tender… and ours; a God whose love frightens us into His strong and powerful arms where He longs to whisper those terrifying words, ‘I love you.’” (So well said!)
II. From the book “The Sanctifier” by Archbishop Luis Maria Martinez. I must clarify that AGAIN I am going to quote extensively from this book, as led by the Holy Spirit. I reviewed it mid month on August, and much after I had received other important consoling understanding on this gift of fear of the Lord. However, the interest here of quoting so much is for my own good first and foremost, in order to be more attuned to the mystery of the Holy Spirit in my soul. I have read this book several times and yet, I keep forgetting the core of the matter…For the reader of this message, if you are not a theologian, you may find this very important to rehash from time to time, since the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are treasures for our spiritual lives. For anyone with theology in their brains, sorry; this may turn out to be too repetitious and of course, you may bypass it.
“Union with the Loving Will of the Father
“For worldly people, the will of God is often a tragic hardship; for souls beginning their spiritual journey, it is a motive of resignation, a mixture of joy and sorrow because the Spirit has not attained complete possession of them, since all their inclinations have not yet been coordinated in the unity of love; for saints, it is heaven because all is harmony, peace and unity, for all is love. The Holy Spirit has penetrated, possessed and transformed them. With divine light they see in the divine will the good of God, which is their own good.. With all the impetuosity of love, with all the vehemence of the Spirit’s motion, they give themselves up to that will.
“Why so many effects from one thing? Simply because each soul receives the will of God according to its relation with the Holy Spirit. (I say: Wow!) Only the Holy Spirit can infuse in our hearts such passion for the divine will, for only He can bring us to know the Father and teach us to love Him, by transforming us into Jesus. (Wow again!)
“The Spirit is not an accidental and secondary aid to perfection; He is the Sanctifier of souls, the fount of all graces, the center of the spiritual life. Therefore, devotion to the Spirit is something essential and profound that souls who are seeking perfection must comprehend and practice. Therefore,
1) The Holy Spirit is the sweetest Guest of the soul.
2) He is its personal and true Director
3) He is the first Gift of God,.
4) The source of all the other gifts
5) He is the first link in the royal chain that terminates in perfection.
6) His sanctifying work is to form Jesus in the souls, thus producing in them the ideal of the Father.
(However), “the action of the Holy Spirit always requires the cooperation of the soul. And the more intense its cooperation and the greater its fidelity, the more perfect are the divine operations. This constant and loving cooperation to His love and His gifts is the basis of devotion to Him.
(Notice here that this is another call for all of us to establish a “personal relationship” with His Spirit…Devotion is not just prayers and calling Him to mesmerize us with signs and wonders, although He does do that and I have lived them in the past in huge Charismatic gatherings. Instead, it is a form of life, of presence, or reverence, of walking under His guidance. And I am taking time to write about the Holy Spirit because in the present times we talk about a New Pentecost for the new evangelization… But a new Pentecost needs much of our cooperation as well)
(Here is exactly what I wanted to express in the above phrase but according to Archbishop Martinez) “As the Holy Spirit gives Himself to us forever and desires that His action, as far as possible, be constant in our souls, our correspondence, our devotion must be a total, definitive and perpetual surrender, a true consecration.
“This docility demands deep silence so that the voice of the Spirit may be heard; exquisite purity so that the profound meaning of the His words may be probed; abandonment so that we may be carried along by the divine breath in a perfect sprit of sacrifice, for in his flight the heavenly Dove tends toward the cross… The Holy Spirit is always forming Jesus in each soul: each holy soul is a reflection of Jesus… Each one goes to the Father and glorifies Him through Jesus, with Jesus and in Jesus. Consequently, devotion to the Holy Spirit is closely and logically joined with devotion to the Word and to the Father. … Therefore, devotion to the Holy Spirit has for natural complement a more intimate devotion to the Word of God.
THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
“The Holy Spirit brings about our sanctification in two ways:
1) “The first is by helping us, moving us, directing us, but in such a way that we are actually doing our own work… God has given us the wonderful and terrible gift of freedom, by which we ourselves are the artisans of our own happiness or our own ruin…
2) “The second way is His personal direction of our deeds, when he no longer merely illuminates us with his light or warms us with His fire to show us the road that we must follow. In this second way, He Himself deigns to move our faculties and to urge us so that we may perform His work.
“A comparison will help us to understand these two ways. Let us imagine a great artist creating a masterpiece. He arranges for the preparation of the canvas and the way in which the colors are to be combined. He then calls on his best pupils to share the work. He permits them to do the least important or least perfect part of it. But when it comes to the delicate, finest part, where he will reveal his genius, where the inspiration will be crystallized, then the pupils put down their brushes and the master takes over. .. So it is with the Holy Spirit. There will be a time when the Spirit no longer wills us to perform the work at our own discretion. He takes charge personally and directly, and with very fine instruments He puts in the delicate characters, the faithful marks of the divine image. (I say: how exciting indeed!)
“We have our instruments also. They are the virtues that come with grace and with them, little by little, we destroy the old man with all his concupiscence and trace the image of Jesus in our hearts, thus forming the new man, created according to the will of God in justice and the holiness of truth. But a time comes when the virtues are no longer sufficient for the accomplishment of the divine work and our own direction is not enough. Then the Holy Spirit intervenes and he carries on the work, using the instruments that theologians call the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
“The gifts of the Holy Spirit act as divine receivers for picking up His inspirations. Just as one who does not possess a radio cannot hear sounds from the other side of the earth, so one who is without the gifts of the Holy Spirit will not be able to pick up divine inspirations. THE GIFTS ARE SUPERNATURAL REALITIES THAT GOD HAS WILLED TO PUT IN OUR SOULS SO THAT WE MAY BE ABLE ‘TO MAKE’ CONTACT WITH THE PARACLETE.
“By these divine receptors we receive not only the light and teaching of the Holy Spirit, but also His movements in such a way that under their influence we accomplish – in the spiritual order – the best and most perfect acts. … When we work under the influence of the virtues, we have a supernatural norm, certainly, but an imperfect one. It is the norm of man illuminated by God. But, when we work under the influence of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the norm is the norm of God communicated to man. St. Thomas uses what seems to be a very exact comparison. He says that a great doctor by himself can cure a seriously ill person or handle an extraordinary case. But when a difficult case comes to an inexperienced doctor, an intern – even though he has many remedies and knows much about medicine in ordinary cases – needs the direction of a skilled physician who knows medicine perfectly and therefore understands the sick person’s requirements.
“We are like the inexperienced intern. We can attend to our own salvation in ordinary cases, but it would be impossible for us to accomplish completely the work of our sanctification without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Who alone knows perfectly what we are and what we should be and the paths by which we can reach the perfection to which God calls us. All of us carry the same gifts within us. At times we do not realize the riches that God has given us. We bear within us the theological virtues which puts us in contact with divinity; the moral virtues, which order and dispose everything in our lives; and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which keeps us in communication with Him and enable us to receive His holy movements.
“It is obvious, however, that the gifts do not develop to the same degree and with the same perfection in all souls, any more than do the virtues. Like the virtues the gifts are vital seeds that need to be cultivated. Our work as Christians consists in nurturing with exquisite care these precious seeds that God has placed in our soul. And just as the plants have their seasons for blooming – so each one of the gifts has its special, propitious moment in the spiritual life when it finds its full development.
“How do the gifts of the Holy Spirit develop in us?
1) “By the increase of charity in our hearts since charity is the root of the gifts. Whenever we love, we are able to receive the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. Even in human love there is a spark of that prodigious privilege that divine love confers. Whenever we love, even with an earthly love, we have intuitions of the thoughts and desires of the beloved that no science can supply. In proportion as charity increases, the gifts also increase and develop.
2) “By developing the virtues that we receive along with the grace of God. And by means of these infused virtues we can go on perfecting one by one all our faculties and setting right everything in our souls. And as the virtues increase, the ground is prepared, so to speak, for the Holy Spirit to come and, with fine and exquisite art, to finish our work.
3)“By our loving and constant attention, by the docility of our heart, we can more clearly hear the mysterious voice of the Spirit of God, and we can more perfectly receive his holy inspirations. And the more perfectly we receive them, the more completely will the gifts perfect themselves in us.
“The Gift of Fear of the Lord…..!!!
“Isaiah 11:1-3 – But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding; a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.
““What Isaiah calls ‘spirit’, the technical language of theology calls it ‘gifts’…
1. “At their summit, like a flash of the very light of God, is the intellect. It makes us resemble the angels and puts a trace of God’s image upon our souls. Because of its excellence, the Holy Spirit has placed in it four gifts – wisdom (judges divine things), understanding (makes us penetrate divine truths), knowledge (judges creatures), and counsel (directs our acts.
2. “In the will, the faculty next to the intellect in nobility, is found the gift of piety, which guides and directs our relations with God and men.
3. “In the inferior activities of our being, we have two gifts: fortitude to take away the dread of danger, and fear of the lord to establish the proper relationship between Creator and creature, and to moderate the disordered impulses of our concupiscence.
“In order of importance, the first is wisdom. Understanding follows, then come knowledge, counsel, piety and fortitude. The lowest is the gift of fear of the Lord. Let us now examine them one by one, beginning with the lowest. How can there be a gift of fear? Is not charity at the root of all the gifts? And do not the Scriptures say that perfect love excludes fear? 1Jn 4:18. In order to understand this we must do a little analyzing. There are various kinds of fear:
1) “Fear of pain and fear of blame.
2) “There is also a mundane fear that makes us forget the holy commandments of God and commit sin –
3) “There is another fear that keeps us from sin and bring us close to God, but which is imperfect – servile fear, fear of punishment.
4) “There is another fear – filial. It consists in the repugnance that the soul feels at the thought of being separated from God. This fear comes from love. Love cannot be conceived of without this fear. One who loves deeply has a fear that is above all other fears – fear of separation from the beloved. This is the gift of fear which is directed by the Holy Spirit.
“Sacred Scripture assures us in many passages that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Ps 111:10). The fear of God is not the beginning of wisdom in the sense that the essence of wisdom emanates from it. Rather, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom in the sense that this gift produces the first effect in the divine work of wisdom. In a more perfect sense, filial fear is the beginning of wisdom because, in order to possess divine wisdom, we need to unite ourselves so closely to God that nothing can separate us from Him.
“The gift of fear corresponds in a wonderful way to various virtues. To humility because that virtue puts us in our proper place, makes us know our true value, and prevents rebellion against God and that presumption by which we believe ourselves to be better than we are. It makes us feel deeply our own deficiency.
“There are degrees in the gifts, as there are degrees in the virtues. The gift of fear of the Lord has three degrees
1) “In the first degree, it produces horror for sin and strength to overcome temptations, but with many struggles, many failures.
2) “In the second degree of this gift, the soul not only stays away from sin, but clings to God with profound reverence avoiding even insignificant acts that are signs of imperfection. The profound respect of the saints for everything sacred –the Church, the Gospel, the priesthood – is the effect of the gift of fear. Everything divine is reverenced.
3) “A marvelous effect is produced in the third degree of this gift: total detachment from the things of this earth. That is why theologians say that this gift produces the first of the beatitudes, that of poverty of spirit. The disinterestedness of St. Francis of Assisi, who considered the things of earth as nothing; the disinterestedness to which Christ counseled the young man of the Gospel – ‘If you will to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give it to the poor… and come, follow Me.’ Mt. 19:21. Such disinterestedness as these is the fruit of the divine gift of fear. (End of quotes from Archbishop Martinez’ book)
III. Biblical quotes. Let me warn you that there are many… I have been very tempted to choose just a few of them, but at the same time, I felt “strongly”called to make a point… Evidence, evidence, evidence works best in our brains. If God said not to fear some 365 times, He meant it; but I never fathomed that He also took the time to mention to us at least 110 times, that we have to fear Him… When Scripture repeats something, we all must pay attention! This in itself brought me to learn how to be opened to this gift in my life, and the catechesis of Archbishop Martinez truly helped me to realize how to do it… Yet, I have received another way to be cognizant of this gift and to help me enter into it during the day, and sure enough, in the last 3 weeks I have been able to enter a very healthy attention to be fearful of Him but in a beautiful way, and even found Biblical verses that hint to it…. These personal stories will come at the end in part IV.
Important explanation: I will quote mostly from the St. Joseph New American Bible. However, a few times the quote will come from the Jerusalem Bible, and I will mention it. In the first one, at times the translation uses the word “dread” instead of “fear,” and the Jerusalem Bible does the contrary. Since both are Catholic Bibles, I want to quote directly and not change words on my own, plus I wanted to preserve the word fear instead of dread. Also, I will add comments in brackets to start making a case about how I now understand the Fear of the Lord. If you want to bypass reading all these verses, remember that there are 109 (later No.110 is quoted), so you can scroll down to the next section.
1. 22:12 – “Do not raise your hand against the boy,” the Angel said (to Abraham). “Do not harm him, for now I know you fear God. You have not refused Me your son, your only son. (Jerusalem Bible)
2. 14:30b-31 – When Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the seashore and beheld the great power that the Lord had shown against the Egyptians, they feared the Lord and believed in Him and in His servant Moses. (Here one could say that their fear was actually an experience of awe for what God had done).
3. 20:18-20. When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet blast and the mountain smoking, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but let God not speak to us or we shall die. Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid for God has come to test you and put His fear upon you, lest you should sin.”
4. 19:14 – You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but you shall fear your God. I am the Lord.
5. 19:32 – Stand up in the presence of the aged and show respect for the old; thus shall you fear your God. I am the Lord.
19: 33-34. (These 2 verses have nothing to do with fear of the Lord, but contain a great teaching for 2011 in the U.S.) When an alien resides with you in your land, do not molest him. You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently that the natives born among you; have the same love for him as for yourself, for you were once aliens in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord.
6. 25:17 Do no deal unfairly, then; but stand in fear of your God. I, the Lord, am your God.
7. 25:36 – Do not exact interest from your country man either in money or in kind, but out of fear of God let him live with you.
8. 25: 39-43 – When, thus, your country man becomes so impoverished beside you that he sells you his services, do not make him work as a slave… Do not lord it over them harshly, but stand in fear of your God.
9. 5:28-29 – (Moses speaking) The Lord heard your words as you were speaking to me and said to me, “I have heard the words these people have spoken to you which are all well said. Would that they might always be of such mind, to fear Me and to keep the commandments.”
10. 6:1, 2 – These then are the commandments, statues and decrees, which the Lord, your God, has ordered that you be taught to observe in this land into which you are crossing for conquest, so that you and your son and your grandson may fear the Lord, your God, and keep, throughout the days of your lives His statues and commandments, which I enjoin on you, then have a long life.
11. 6:13 The Lord, your God, shall you fear; ….
12. 6:24 Therefore, the Lord commanded us to observe all these statues in fear of the Lord, our God, that we may always have a prosperous and happy life.
13. 8: 6 Therefore, keep the commandments of the Lord, your God, by walking in His ways and fearing Him.
14. 10:12-13 And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees which I enjoin on you today for your own good.
My note: The Israelites are presented with 5 requirements
1). Fear the Lord
2) To walk in all His ways
3) To love Him
4) To serve the Lord… with all your heart and soul
5) To keep the commandments
I want to make this point because we have read the catechesis from Archbishop. Martinez and fear of the Lord is essential to enter into the wisdom and understanding on how to walk in all His ways, which translate into loving and serving Him. Keeping the commandments is essential but truly part of the concoction of things to do…
15. 10:20a – The Lord, your God, shall you fear, and Him shall you serve.
16. 13:5 – The Lord, your God, shall you follow, and Him shall you fear; His commandments shall you observe, and His voice shall you heed, serving Him and holding fast to Him alone.
17. 31:12-13 – Assemble the people–men, women and children, as well as the aliens living in your communities – that they may hear it and learn it, and so fear the Lord, your God, and carefully observe all the words of the law. Their children also, who do not know it yet, must hear it and learn it, that they too may fear the Lord, your God, as long as you live on the land which you will cross the Jordan to occupy.
18. 4:23-24 – For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan in front of you until you crossed over, just as the Lord, your God, had done at the Red Sea, which he dried up in front of us until we crossed over, in order that all the peoples of the earth may learn that the hand of the Lord is mighty, and that you may fear the Lord, your God. (Here we also have a description that points at the importance of remembering in awe what God had done for them, and this would bring to the Israelites, fear of God.)
19. 24:14 "Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.
20. 12:14-15 – If you fear the Lord and worship Him, if you were obedient to Him and do not rebel against the Lord’s commands, and if both you and the king who rules over you follow the Lord your God—well – good! But if you do not obey the Lord, and if you rebel against his commands, the Lord will deal severely with you and your king and destroy you.
21. 12:24 – But you must fear the Lord and worship Him faithfully with all your heart; keep in mind the great things he has done among you. (Very important words for “my” new understanding of what is to fear God…!)
22. 23:3-4. The God of Israel spoke; of me, the Rock of Israel said” He that rules over men: in justice, that ruler in the fear of God, is like the morning light at sunrise on a cloudless morning making the greensward sparkle after rain.
23. 8:43. (Solomon’s prayer). …Do all that the foreigner asks of You, that all the peoples of the earth may know Your name, may fear You as do your people Israel, and may acknowledge that this temple which I have built is dedicated to Your honor.
24 – 17:9, 10 – They taught throughout Judah, taking with them the Book of the Law of the Lord; they traveled to all the cities of Judah and taught the people. Now, the fear of the Lord (His awesomeness, might, glory) fell on all the kingdoms of the countries surrounding Judah so that they did not war with Jehoshaphat
25. 19:6-7a. (Jehoshaphat appointed judges in all the cities of Judah and said to them) Take care what you do, for you are judging not on behalf of men, but on behalf of the Lord; He judges with you. And now, let the fear of the Lord be upon you (or think of His awesomeness, justice and mercy while passing judgment). Act carefully, for with the Lord, our God, there is not injustice, no partiality, no bribe-taking!
26. 20:29. And the fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the surrounding lands when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. (They were in awe of God’s power)
27. 5: 9 – So I continued, “What you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our God and put an end to the derision of our Gentile enemies?”
28. 1:1. In the land of Uz, there was a blameless and upright man named Job, who feared God and avoided evil.
29. 2: 8-9. And the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job and that there is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil.” But Satan answered the Lord and said, “It is for nothing that Job is God-fearing? Have You not surrounded him and his family and all that he has with Your protection?”
30. 23:13-15 – (Job speaking) But He has decided, and who can say Him nay? What He desires, that He does. For He will carry out what is appointed for me; and any such things may yet be in His mind. Therefore am I dismayed before Him; when I take thought, I fear Him.”
(Notice here how Job shows great faith and recognizes God’s awesome might and this is his fear of the Lord, which gave him the wisdom not to lose his arguments with his 3 so called friends, and more importantly, the wisdom and understanding and knowledge of God not to lose his faith and hope and love for Him, in the midst of the storm.)
31. 28:28 (Job speaking to his friends) – And to man He said, “Behold , the fear of the Lord is wisdom; and avoiding evil is understanding.”
32. 2:11 Serve the Lord with fear; with trembling bow down in homage..
33. 15:1, 4 – Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may live on Your holy mountain? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous… who disdains the wicked but honors those who fear the Lord.
34. 19:10a – The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.
35. 22:24a – You who fear the Lord, give praise!
36. 25:12-14– Everyone who fears Yahweh will be taught the course a man should choose; his soul will live in prosperity, his children have the land for their own. The close secret of Yahweh belongs to them who fear Him, His covenant also, to bring them knowledge. (Jerusalem Bible)
37. 31:20a. How great is Your goodness, stored up for those who fear You.
38. 33:8-9 Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all who dwell in the world show reverence. For He spoke, and it came to be (the creation of the universe, galaxies, etc), commanded, and it stood firm.
39. 33:18 – But see how the eye of Yahweh is on those who fear Him, on those who rely on His love.
40. 34: 8, 10, 12 – The angel of the Lord who encamps with them, delivers all who fear God. Fear the Lord, you holy ones; nothing is lacking to those who fear Him. Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
41. 36:2 – Sin directs the heart of the wicked; their eyes are closed to the fear of God.
42. 55:19-20 – God will give me freedom and peace from those who war against me, though there are many who oppose me. God Who sits enthroned forever, will hear me and humble them. For they will not mend their ways; they have no fear of God.
43. 60:4 – Hoist the standard to rally those who fear You, to put them out of range of bow and arrow.
44. 61:5 – You God, accept my vows, You grant me the heritage of those who fear Your name.
45. 85:9 – For those who fear Him, His saving help is near, and the glory will then live in our country. (Jerusalem Bible)
46. 86:11 – Yahweh, teach me your way, how to walk beside You faithfully; make me single hearted in fearing Your name. (Jerusalem Bible)
47. 96:4-5 – For great is the Lord and highly to be praised, to be feared above all gods. For the gods of the nations all do nothing, but the Lord made the heavens.
48. 103:11 – For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him.
49.103:13 – As tenderly as a father treats his children, so Yahweh treats those who fear Him. (Jerusalem Bible)
50. 103:15-17. Man lasts no longer than grass, no longer than a wild flower he lives; one gust of wind, and he is gone, never to be seen there again; yet Yahweh’s love for those who fear Him lasts from all eternity and forever. (Jerusalem Bible)
51. 111:5 – You gave food to those who fear You, mindful of Your covenant forever.
52. 111:10 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; prudent are all who live by it. Your praise endures forever.
53. 112:1-2 – Happy are those who fear the Lord, who greatly delight in God’s commands. Their descendants shall be mighty in the land, a generation upright and blessed.
54. 115:11 – Those who fear the Lord trust in the Lord who is their help and shield.
55. 115:13 – He will bless those who fear the Lord– small and great alike.
56. 128:1-2 – Happy are all who fear the Lord, who walk in the ways of God. What your hands provide you will enjoy; you will be happy and prosper.
57. 145:19 – You satisfy the desire of those who fear You; You hear them cry and save them.
58. 147:11 – Yahweh is interested in those who fear Him, in those who rely on His love.
59. 1:7 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; wisdom and instruction fools despise.
60. 1:28-29 – Then they call Me, but I answer not; they seek Me, but find Me not; because they hated knowledge, and chose not to fear the Lord.
61. 2:1-5 – My son, if you receive My words and treasure My commands, turning your ear to wisdom, inclining your heart for understanding; yes, if you call to intelligence, and to understanding raise your voice; if you seek her like silver, and like hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord; the knowledge of God you will find.
62. 3:7-8 – Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. This will mean health for your flesh and vigor to your bones.
63. 8:13a – The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.
64. 9:10 – The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
65. 10:27 – The fear of the Lord prolongs life, but the years of the wicked are brief.
66. 14:2 – He who walks uprightly fears the Lord, but he whose ways are devious despises Him.
67. 14:16 – A wise man fears the Lord, but he who is devious in his ways spurns Him.
68. 14:26-27 – The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that a man may avoid the snares of death.
69. 15:16 – Better a little with the fear of the Lord than a great fortune with anxiety.
70. 15:33 – The fear of the Lord is training for wisdom, and humility comes before honor.
71. 16:6 – By kindness and piety guild is expiated, and by the fear of the Lord man avoids evil.
72. 19:23 – The fear of the Lord is an aid to life; one eats and sleeps without being visited by misfortune.
73. 22:4 – The reward of humility is the fear of Yahweh, riches, honor and life.
74. 23:17-18 – Let not your heart emulate sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the Lord always; for you will surely have a future, and your hope will not be cut off.
75. 24:21– My son, fear the Lord and the King; have nothing to do with those who rebel against them.
76. 31:30 – Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
77. 3:14. I know that what God does, He does consistently. To this nothing can be added, and nothing taken away; yet, God sees to it that men fear Him.
78. 7:17-18 – Be not wicked to excess, and be not foolish. Why should you die before your time? It is good to hold to this rule, and not to let that one go, but he who fears God will win through at all events.
79. 8:12-13 – The sinner who does wrong a hundred times survives even so. I know very well that happiness is reserved for those who fear God, because they fear Him, that there will be no happiness for the wicked man and that he will only eke out his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God.
80. 12:13 – The last word, when all is heard: fear God and keep the commandments, for this are man’s all.
81. 1: 10-12 – 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.
82. 1-14 – Fullness of wisdom is fear of the Lord; she inebriates me with her fruits.
83. 1-16 – Wisdom’s garland is fear of the Lord, with blossoms of peace and perfect health.
84. 1-18 – The root of wisdom is fear of the Lord; her branches are length of days.
85. 1: 24-29 – For fear of the Lord is wisdom and culture; loyal humility is his delight. 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 publically cast you down, because you approached the fear of the Lord with your hear full of guile.
86. 2: 7-10 – You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy, turn not away lest you fall. You who fear the Lord, trust Him, and your reward will not be lost. You who fear the Lord, hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy. Study the generations long past and understand; has anyone hoped in the Lord and been disappointed? Has anyone persevered in His fear and been forsaken? Has anyone called upon Him and been rebuffed?
87. 2:15-17 – Those who fear the Lord disobey not His words; those who love Him keep His ways. Those who fear the Lord seek to please Him. Those who love Him are filled with His law. Those who fear the Lord prepare their hearts and humble themselves before Him.
88. 19:17 – All wisdom is fear of the Lord; perfect wisdom is the fulfillment of the law.
89. 21:6 – He who hates correction walks the sinner’s path, but he who fears the Lord repents in his heart.
90. 21:11 – He who keeps the law controls his impulses; he who is perfect in fear of the Lord has wisdom.
91. 25:10-11 – 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.
92. 8:12-13 – Call no alliance what this people call alliance, and fear not, nor stand in awe of what they fear. But with the Lord of hosts make your alliance – for Him be your fear and your awe.
93. 11: 2-3 – The Spirit of the Lord shall rest on him – a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a Spirit of counsel and of strength; a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord – and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.
94. 33:5-6 – The Lord is exalted, enthroned on high; He fills Zion with right and justice. That which makes her seasons lasting, the riches to save her, are wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is her treasure.
95. 5:22-24 – “Should you not fear Me,” says the Lord; “Should you not tremble before Me? I made the sandy shore the sea’s limit, which by eternal decree it may not overstep. Toss though it may, it is to no avail; though its billows roar, they cannot pass. But this people’s heart is stubborn and rebellious; they turn and go away. And say not in their hearts.” Let us fear the Lord, our God, Who gives us rain early and late in its time; Who watches for us over the appointed weeks of harvest.”
96. 26:19 – Did Hezekiah, King of Judah and all Judah (referring to prophet Micah) condemn them to death? Did they not rather fear the Lord and entreat the favor of the Lord, so that he repented of the evil with which he had threatened them? (This was said trying to defend Jeremiah from being put to death).
97. 32:38-39. They shall be my people, and I will be their God. One heart and one way I will give them, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and that of their children after them. I will make with them an eternal covenant, never to cease doing good to them; into their hearts I will put the fear of Me, that they may never depart from Me.
98. 6:26-27. (After Daniel was removed from the den of lions, unhurt) Then King Darius (a pagan) wrote to the nations and peoples of every language, wherever they dwell on the earth: “All peace to you. I decree that throughout my royal domain the God of Daniel is to be reverenced and feared.”
99. 1:14b – “For I am a great king," says the Lord of hosts "and My Name will be feared among the nations.”
100. 3:5 – “I will draw near to you for judgment and I will be swift to bear witness against the sorcerers, adulterers, and perjurers, those who defraud the hired man of his wages; against those who defraud widows and orphans; those who turn aside the stranger, and those who do not fear Me,” says the Lord of hosts.
101. 3:16-17; 19-20 – Then they who fear the Lord spoke with one another, and the Lord listened attentively; and a record book was written before Him of those who fear the Lord and trust in His name and “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts. “My own special possession, on the day I take action. For the day is coming blazing like an oven when all the proud and evil doers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire…. But for you who fear My name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.”
Acts of the Apostles
102. 9:31 – Then the church throughout all Judea, Galilee and Samaria was at peace. It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers.
103. 10:34-35 Then Peter proceeded to speak: “In truth I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears Him and acts uprightly is acceptable to Him.”
104. 7:1 – Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit, making holiness perfect in the fear of God.
105. 3:22 – Slaves, obey your human masters in everything, not only when being watched, as currying favor, but in simplicity of heart, fearing the Lord.
106. 11:7 – It was through his faith that Noah, when he had been warned by God of something that had never been seen before, felt a holy fear and built an ark to save his family. (Fear of the Lord led him to understand the warning)
107. 2:17 – Give honor to all, love the community, fear God, honor the king.
108. 14: 6-7. – Then I saw another angel flying high overhead, with everlasting good news to announce to those who dwell on earth, to every nation, tribe, tongue and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give Him glory, for His time has come to sit in judgment. Worship Him who made heaven and earth and sea and springs of water. (A clear declaration of the holy awe we must have for God who has created everything).
109. 15:2-4a – “Then I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire. On the sea of glass were standing those who had won the victory over the beast and its image and the number that signified its name They were holding God’s harps, and they sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: ‘Great and wonderful are your works Lord God almighty. Just and true are Your ways, O King of the nations. Who will not fear You, Lord, or glorify your name?’”
IV. What I have learned on the Fear of the Lord.
As I mentioned, between August 1 (the anniversary of my Confirmation!) and August 2, the Feast of Our Queen of Angels, my patroness, I was taken by surprise with the topic of fear of God… This is what I wrote in my journal:
Monday, August 1. I went to 6:30 AM Mass. After coming home, I had breakfast and my Mother started to teach me about "fear of the Lord."…. She sent me to 4 different pages all over the Bible where fear of the Lord was mentioned… By the time I read the last one, I knew she was trying to impress me with the subject matter. Then, I did receive the most fantastic definition of fear of the Lord and right from the Bible… Before that moment, I knew very well that it was not real fear at all, but no one had explained it to me as I know it now…" In different foot notes in this Saint Joseph Edition of the New American Bible, they defined fear of the Lord in 3 different ways.
1. Fear of the Lord is reverence of God. It is a reverential fear and respect for God on account of His sovereignty, goodness, justice toward men. This is the foundation of religion.
2. It is a feeling experienced before any kind of divine manifestation of dread, fear or dismay.
3. IT IS HOLY AWE..
Then, the Lord tied it up with the concept of mountain tops… Yes, back to Yosemite. These mountains make you burn with human awe… Yet, fear of the Lord, which is the source of wisdom as I have quoted several times, should take us to the mountain of holy spiritual awe, and from this awesomeness, this gift of the Holy Spirit will open us to wisdom and knowledge of the things of God, which in turn will give us more "holy awe", more fear of the Lord… I have read the works of St. John of the Cross and of course, one of his books is "Ascent to Mount Carmel…, ascending the mountain of the love of God…” Huh! There was the link… between Yosemite and this blog’s title… "Fear of the Lord."
But of the three possible definitions, I like “holy awe.” But why? Because I still have one more Biblical quote to mention, and in it, it is not about reverence, or a reverential fear. It is an expression of truly “AWE” of what God can do…
110. Luke 1: 46-54. And Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For He has looked upon His handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear Him. He has shown might with His arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry He has filled with good things; the rich He has sent away empty.”
This is the most magnificent expression of the awe she had in her heart for the greatness, love and mercy of God for all His creatures. In other words, it is clear that she was manifesting “fear of the Lord” by showing the awe due to Him… I finally got it… The Magnificat is the one of most beautiful renditions of fear of the Lord… And thinking about it, she did not have to say anything like that to Elizabeth!… But she simply acted out her awe for God’s magnificence. Again, being in awe of God can takes us beyond a simple reverence of Him It has to do with exulting Him! It places us with the Angels and Saints in heaven, who constantly exalt the Lamb of God.
By the time my Mother was done with this extraordinary teaching, I was so full of "holy awe" that I decided to use the afternoon of this August 1, again, the anniversary of my Confirmation, in the shopping I needed to do for the visit of one of my sons and a beautiful lady PhD who wanted to meet me. They are now engaged to be married. I tried to divide all that I had to do to avoid stress (with the warm weather and much activity) and to not allow my blood pressure to rise because of my eye, which is still 25% better but nothing else… I have no idea if the intra ocular pressure is high, and high blood pressure can make it worse… I had three places to visit and I was totally in holy awe and ready to tackle them, but while accomplishing the task, my plans for the supermarket shopping were dashed because I had lost the list of items needed while at a Target store… So, I had to come home and reconstruct the list for the following day…! Just remember, I was living on this earth in holy awe of the mystery and magnificence of God through this gift of the Holy Spirit, and my plans were changed… Please read why next… But just before, on this day, the news brought alarming information:
1) Birth control pills will be supplied to women free of charge… Ouch…
2) Flash mob attacks: thieves as a group are entering retail stores and taking things. Because they are many, establishments are not doing much in order to protect the regular customers… This is happening in 1of each 10 retail stores in the U.S.A.
This news brought me to meditate about our need to live in the “fear of the Lord” and stop so much evil in our land.
August 2. Feast of Our Lady Queen of the AngelsThe Knights of Columbus 129th Supreme Convention was going on in Denver, CO… Archbishop Charles Chaput celebrated the opening Mass. He spoke of St. Peter Julian Eymard, the saint for today, and of course, I know St. Peter Julian like the palm of my hand because of the 7 years I attended St. Paschal Baylon’s parish in Cleveland, run by the Blessed Sacrament Fathers founded by St. Peter Julian. I even have his picture in my room. I also have a set of little books he wrote, but of course, they are buried in boxes in the storage place. Rev. Chaput mentioned that St. Peter Julian, while in Grenoble, France, had decided to move to a religious order and cease to be a diocesan priest. His sister asked him to think it over for at least one more day. He answered, “No, because tomorrow will be too late…” So, the Archbishop asked all of us to start today and change our lives! What he did not know is that I was in route to sign a covenant with my Lord… and exactly today to give it as a gift to my Mother in her day…
I did my consecration to my Mother before the 12 noon Mass. The previous evening, upwards to 100,000 people were walking all night from all corners of Costa Rica, to Cartago where her Basilica is. This day is always a day off for all Costa Ricans… . During the Mass I entered into a covenant to truly be open to whatever He wants for me related to His Kingdom and in thanksgiving for all He has allowed in my life, and still savoring this new understanding of fear of the Lord. It looked like she had mediated all this understanding in just 2 days…
After Mass, I made it to this Lucky supermarket and then, things got weirder. I did get everything I wanted and when I stood in line, a younger mother of 3 small girls came to stand behind me. She started by saying, "I guess you are going to cook a lot." I gave her a little story as to the why. She was taken by the fact that this young doctor was bringing the girlfriend just to meet me… From there, I jumped to the "But God did it!" thing. She came back with the words, "But all things are possible… etc." and I said, “Romans 8:28”… She then came again with another verse and I quoted the correspondent Bible verse number. She said she was a Christian. I said, “I am also a Christian, and Roman Catholic and all the way to Rome." This is always my answer in public with strangers. She said, "So, you are very religious and Catholic?." I said, "O yes, and obviously Catholic because at age 6 (and pointed to one of her girls of about that age) I was made aware that in the piece of bread, what we call the host, He is present and alive as 2,000 years ago." She said, "Really, at 6 years old?” – I was evangelizing on ecumenical grounds, but did not know it until later.
As I was talking, the cashier, a young male… was taking care of my order and smiling from ear to ear… The Holy Ghost was right and there. I told her that I had been baptized in the Holy Spirit, and she said, "Me too….!!! Then, she asked her four year old and youngest child to recite for me a Bible verse… She did… I congratulated this beautiful blonde girl and she smiled. The mother then said, "Thank you sooo much for your witness… You are full of the Holy Spirit. I guess there are not coincidences; only divine appointments." I then said, "Good bye."
I took off in my car and as I turned around to find an exit, I found the same woman and her 3 girls approaching their car… She made me stop and said, "Thank you so much for your witness. You made my day." As I drove home, I knew that God was showing me how we can become like spiritual furnaces to total strangers and even Protestants… just because the Holy Spirit does it for us. St. Peter Julian’s words came to hunt me (“tomorrow will be too late”)… The day before as I said before, I HAD LOST MY LIST FOR THE LUCKY Supermarket WHILE AT TARGET, but it disappeared because I had an appointment for evangelization but for this date. I love always Ecclesiastes 3 which says that there is a time for everything under the heavens…- a time to be born, a time to die – a time to build and a time to tear down – etc. It is all about timing… and such timing should run under the Spirit’s clock.
I understood, as well, that the gift of fear of the Lord, one that I was living like never before, was rearranging my schedule. At least, my encounter with this young mother left her with a taste that we Catholics know the Bible and that we believe in the Holy Spirit as they do. We were united, one Body in Christ. It left me with even MORE HOLY AWE! He is with us as He promised before He ascended. His Holy Spirit was all over, just as the day I was Confirmed at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and our Mother is into everything as well, and today was no different. I wrote in my journal: "FEAR OF THE LORD IS TO STAND IN HOLY AWE of His might, of His justice, of His mercy and love and AS WE HIKE IN THE MOUNTAIN OF HIS LOVE, BRINGING OTHERS WITH US." (I thought of Yosemite!)
My son and now fiancée came to visit on Saturday August 6, and one could feel the Holy Spirit reigning in everything. I still was deeply living in “holy awe”, or said in other words, I was in awe of all that God is doing in our family, like the respect for each other, the good times my three sons were having, and the many things I had in common with my future daughter-in-law, like our Jewish ancestry… I was in awe of how my son decided to move to Birmingham, Alabama for his nephrology research only 7 months before, and there he found what appears to be a perfect match for a wife and Catholic as well, in his city with only 2-3% of Catholics… I really was in awe of His mercy and perfect love for us… Of course, everyday, I pray a Rosary with Chaplet of Mercy intertwined for each of them. However, here I started to realize how little I had paid attention to my entire life in order to be in awe of every gift and blessing… How little had I lived in holy awe of what God had done for me… Ouch!
This Monday we started seeing the swings of the DOW Index… I felt the awe of my refusing to spend time in preparing for my retirement plan, and how my 401K was dissolved… Now, I would have lost most of it… Among so many teachings, there I remembered that on July 29, Raymond Arroyo (EWTN) had quoted Aristotle (?) and said that “Our vocation is where our gifts meet the needs present!” Then, on Sunday July 31, a visiting priest from India, Fr. Paul who had left the day before, had said that regarding the multiplication of the fish and loaves to feed thousands, we all have gifts that Jesus multiplies and that we are obliged to share them with others. On this feast of Our Lady, something else came to my mind about the 12 baskets full of left over’s… Isn’t interesting that this detail is in the Bible?… Was it just to impress us of the abundance of God’s love? I suddenly understood that these 12 baskets probably were not thrown away… No way! They were probably eaten later, or the crowd may have taken some home…And in the same way, our gifts are multiplied by God to serve others in the now and also much later… And so, we have the writings of St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Faustina, which are leftovers of grace still feeding the crowds many years later… So, our responsibility to use our gifts becomes even more apparent, that is, we must share them and in some cases, our gifts will illumine others centuries later. This in itself sent me to a moment of “holy awe.”
Thursday, August 12. I kept receiving more Scriptures on the fear of God (all included in the 110 quotations). I wrote in my journal: “As we ascend the mountain of His love, which means to grow in the knowledge of His love, or to deepen this relationship of love between the Father in heaven and His children, the Shepherd and His sheep, I must constantly keep in mind and be in awe of the following: 1) Of all He has done in my life. 2) Of the Church He left us. 3) Of the Mother He left us, His own Mom, to pray for us. 4) Of how He chose to come to us, as a babe with the needs that he had: milk, change of diapers, care, kisses. I was in awe of such humility… 5) Of choosing to die on a cross for each of us, so crazy is He for all of us.
Friday, August 13. I understood more and more the awesomeness of God’s love and might and justice and power: I wrote in my journal, “I must often look at His majesty in holy awe, and this gift will bring me much wisdom, understanding and knowledge to collaborate in the redemption of other souls. He has the plan. I only have to be disposed, fearing Him, expecting great things (as the Magnificat says), in order to reach the right place and to witness and say what others may need in a particular moment.”
Monday August 15. Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady to heaven.
I did my consecration to Our Lady. This day is “Mother’s Day” in Costa Rica… Before Mass I received a page in the Bible, John 13:37. “Although He had performed many signs in their presence, they did not believe Him.” Of course, it often happens to me because I have not paid enough attention in awe to all the blessings He has sent me, which leads me at times to fear what is to come…
And suddenly, I started thinking of the huge amount of awesome facts in the life of Israel, of our Church, and mostly, in our lives. If He produced a baby with parents as old as Abraham and Sarah; if He parted the Red Sea for the Israelites to escape Egypt; if He parted the Jordan River; if He won all the wars needed for Israel to occupy the Promised Land; if He makes our brains the most sophisticated computers possible… and so much so, that those human computers have created the computer technology with Internet service… If He created mountains like Yosemite and the like; if He creates babies who 99.9% of the time all come with perfect toes and fingers and funny faces and who smile for no reason; if He makes a photograph in our retina by a special protein that moves the rods of this organ to send an image to the brain and we can see it; if we can have the seas not invading the land on a normal basis… If we have flowers of all kinds, colors and beauty; if we have food coming from seeds that we plant and they give us extraordinary food; if we have a Universe which we have not even explored, so big it is… Well, where is our awe…? And such awe, could place us in a niche of reverence that opens wide the doors of our soul to the other gifts of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we should always be living in expectancy of great things in our lives for the work of the Kingdom… And that is, living in fear of God…
Tuesday, August 16. It was the beginning of the World You Days 2011… If we did not see this event in awe, we are in trouble. This was an opus Dei… The Holy Spirit reigned in 1.5 millions souls who attended… It was good for me to see Madrid again. As I have mentioned many blogs ago, in 1984 we traveled through Spain and our Mother found us hotels (most of them occupied for being the week after Holy Week, where Europeans travel in great numbers), and a Church next, in front or around the hotel, so that I would not miss daily Mass… It was fun to see so many things that spoke of my ancestors. Now St. John of Avila is going to be made a Doctor of the Church, a Jew converted to the Catholic Church… Wow!
Monday, August 22. Feast of the Queenship of Mary.
For me this is a huge feast of Our Lady. In a previous blog I have already told the story of why. Here are some reminders: in 1986, I was introduced to this particular title of hers by a woman who came from Joliet, Illinois to my parish in Cleveland. They have a little shrine for her in this city, and years later, I went to visit her there. Through this group from Illinois, I enthroned her in my home. At that time, I received a beautiful picture the size of the postal card where she appears standing on the world with a staff and a crown and surrounded by a myriad of angels. In fact, ever since, her image has been placed in the screen of all my computers and I am looking at her right now. In the early 90’s, she started to ask me to send this picture to homes for different reasons, and miracles happened as she had announced them to me. Two of the people were Protestant nurses, and they had not problem to accept her picture for 4 weeks, and major miracles occurred.
So, for this day in 2011, I asked the Lord to what Mass I should go: 6:30 AM or 12 noon. Of course, early Mass has a problem: my left eye does not see well in the dark super busy 6 lanes expressway… It is actually scary. At times I wonder for how long I would be able to write this blog since it is a chore to close the sick eye to read better with the right one, the small lettering of the Biblical quotes or whatever text I am copying. I received no answer and decided to go early because of the extreme heavy traffic in Walnut Creek by noon time, where my parish is. Again, the bad eye poses a problem. However, I could not find the consecration prayers.
During this Mass, I noticed a BRAND NEW and profound love felt for all people around me at this liturgy. After Communion, I found myself thanking Him for His gift of “holy awe”, for His Presence, for His love and felt so drawn to say, “I do not mind to lose my eye in exchange to go and tell others how beautiful they are, how much You love them, about Your Real Presence and to speak to them on how to appropriate the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.” All was said with this profound love for everyone, as never felt before, and a deep need to really go and do it. I knew clearly that this was a fruit of my 3 weeks of trying my best to live with fear of the Lord, and that she was mediating it all, since this was her third major feast in these 3 weeks with that many consecrations to her. I had planned to do the actual praying of the consecration at home. But as I came back from Mass, and just before I got out of the car, the call was clear to go to noon Mass to do the consecration… Obviously, I checked and re-checked if this was from God, and yes, His Word was clear every time. I finally understood that I had to go back and when I looked for the consecration prayers… lo and behold, they were exactly where I had looked earlier that early morning… Hmm.
It was funny because the temperatures were going to go up to 89 degrees in this area, yet, the clouds covered up the skies (normally it does but in the coast and not inland) and the temperature was very acceptable as I went back. This time at the second Mass and after Communion, I consecrated myself to Him through her for this major enterprise if it is His will, but with a very different sentiment. I had a tremendous purity of intention, and I actually begged Him to allow me to go and tell my brothers and sisters whom I still loved so much, about my experience with Him. I must clarify that I always do the consecration and forget to do it to Him through her… as St. Louis de Montfort suggests! Not this time… and in retrospect, I believe that I had to go to Mass again and do it because He needed to be present to receive it… Also, in the recent past, I have received some hints as to how to proceed in my going to tell others about the Good News, and it involves a cross, no doubt about it, since it may demand a lifestyle change for me. This time, my desire to serve my brothers and sisters (or done with charity and generosity, which are Fruits of the Holy Spirit) led me to a passionate yes, and of course, the Gift of Fortitude was evident as well, once I was willing to do whatever it takes to serve them. And it had to be on this precious feast of Our Lady with this particular title, the one under which she has done great things for me…
August 23. I was remembering the Journey Home program of the previous day. The rather young ex-Pentecostal and now Catholic guest, a very brilliant expositor of what he believed and how he ended up entering the Catholic Church, gave me much thought. One of his phrases impressed me: “Authority is only as good as it can resolve the problems.” It makes you pause and think that being in authority is a very special grace if God has sent you to it. It is a call to solve problems… and not just to tell other what to do. Hmm. But when he spoke about the differences in the thinking of different Protestant denominations, I finally realized that Satan attacks by taking away divine wisdom, understanding and knowledge of God.
He confused many in past centuries and even good people as they were, but it looks that they lacked the Gifts of fear of the Lord followed by wisdom and understanding and made them found new churches, and the trend continued. Their self adjudicated authority in defiance of the rock of Peter, has since divided and confused many. I then thought that in a few instances there have been scandals in the Catholic Church starting with Martin Luther. Yet, despite scandals, some of us belong to Christ in His Church, and that is that! Personally, wherever He is, I must be, because He said so… If He is present in the Eucharist despite the errors of the humanity of her members, I must be where He is.
My work is to live in holy awe of all He can do, has done, is doing and will do because of Who He is and because He loves me so much. What a source of hope…!!! Amazing grace, how sweet the sound! I once was lost but now I am found…
Final words: It will be a repetitious last message, but I am copying FROM my journal what I understood in these last days of this month and much more of what already has been shared.. I guess God likes to repeat for the sake of our learning. So, I will pass on the information as I received it.
1. Why do we need to seek with ardor the Gift of Fear of the Lord?
a. Because this Gift is the key to open my soul to the rest of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. We need the “fear of the Lord” in order to live in awe of Who God is, what He has done through the centuries everywhere, from Adam and Eve to the last WYD2011, what He is doing and what He can do in the future of the Church and the entire Universe. Great things He has done already, as our Mother exclaimed in the Magnificat, and we can expect therefore, to do even greater things. The moment we contemplate His majesty, the moment we say at the foot of the Altar of Sacrifice , mean it and believe in it, that the heavens and the earth are full of His glory, and we with angels and saints in heaven chant, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of power and might,” just before He comes to visit us with His Eucharistic Presence, then the other gifts of wisdom, knowledge of God, understanding of His Truths, guidance to do His will at all times, become more robust and operative. And wisdom is essential to recognize and avoid sin…
I do not know about you, but as for me (as Joshua said), I have to be very cognizant of this gift of the Holy Spirit. In fact, part of the reasons why I took the time to write as many Biblical quotes as I did and feeling that you would get overwhelmed with the length of this message, was precisely for my own good. I need to remember forever and ever that living in awe of His majesty and love and mercy are not just words… They are a call for me to keep this awe alive in my daily life. It is like the vitamin D, which opens the gates of the intestines to absorb calcium. In this divine agenda, the fear of the Lord is the vitamin that opens the door of my soul to the Holy Spirit in order to absorb the other most necessary gifts.
b. Discipleship: it is so obvious and simple: if He went through His own Baptism and His Father came through to acknowledge His Presence, isn’t this a huge hint that our Baptism was to be crucial to obtain the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and when fully accepted, developed, appropriated, we could be true disciples and keep doing what Jesus came to do: telling others about His Good News, and empowering others to hike in the mountain of His love, just because we fear Him and His Gifts will give us what it takes, since in Christ we can do all things, not just a few but ALL THINGS…? And even more, why would God repeat through His prophets and servants, including Our Lady, the importance of fearing Him… the importance of living in holy awe of His majesty, as a precursor feeling of what we can do through Him, in Him and by Him…?
c. Prayer: so, living in this holy awe is actually a form of contemplative prayer as servants being directed to be part of the mission of the Son, that is, to bring the Good News to all peoples. In a sense, this contemplative disposition to expect “great things from God” brings a salad of blessings, not only the other Gifts but blessings of all kinds, like intimacy with God and miracles, all of which increase our faith and our hope, and loving becomes not a challenge but a happy duty; persecution will be there but it is received as part of the blessing since He was persecuted by the priests and Pharisees of His time, and so it is nothing new. We forgive others with more determination because we are so taken by the holy awe of His love and mercy, that it becomes a welcome chore.
d. Evangelization: The school of evangelization or how to give to others what we have received becomes an old art. The Acts of the Apostles is the first description of how the Holy Spirit did it. Pentecost changed these men, gave them wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude even to the point of death, and miracles and signs followed. After Pentecost they feared God and entered in the awe of remembering Him as He loved them all the way to the Cross and out of His mercy. This equipped them to make disciples of all nations up to the present day. And it is interesting that whenever converts came on, they were told they needed to be “baptized.” Of course, their lives had to be initiated in the power of the Holy Ghost.
The apostles had a clear understanding of the need of Baptism, not only because Jesus sent them to do so, but because I suspect that they had the wisdom and understanding of the need of the gifts to be able to have the Holy Spirit convert many, and in one occasion about 3,000, just as Peter ended his sermon. He understood and knew what he had to say to move those hearts to open themselves to the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit could not force Himself in the hearts of 3,000 people! That is not how God operates. In His justice, He respects our will… But someone had to sow the “seed” that would open their hearts to His action, and St. Peter had all the wisdom to say the right things for the Holy Spirit to proceed.
We have a huge hint here of how we have to attend the school of evangelization according to the Scriptures. We need an ongoing Pentecost in our lives, and of course, we need to do the will of God and read the Bible and obey what He commanded, but we also have to live with fear of the Lord, in holy awe of Who He is, of how much He loves us all the way to the Cross, of how merciful He is; so, in this way we can open the doors to the Holy Spirit (an ongoing Pentecost) to develop the gifts necessary to sow the seed for the different souls, as they need it and not as we want them to hear it. In the school of evangelization there is nothing left to our imagination. It is all hinted, written, passed on from generation to generation and 110 Biblical verses call for it.
I suspect that we tend to run to tell others the good news but with human strategies, when all along we have to run to live in holy awe of what God can do because He has done it before, and openly call the Holy Ghost to honor our fear of God and expect Him to do whatever, but totally sure that we are just servants open to His work, and expecting “great things”. Our Mother was absolutely right when she proclaimed the Magnificat … And in her case, she was sent ASAP to bring help to Elizabeth, but at the same time, to seed her with her own awe… as Elizabeth expressed, “Most blessed are you among women.” Our Mother was conceived immaculate but she was only 15 years old and not a scholar of the law. Yet, her own Pentecost and carrying the Messiah in her womb gave her the wisdom to go immediately to help her cousin, regardless of her own reality of being pregnant without yet being married.
We all must be on evangelization mode with a button ready to be turned on by the Holy Spirit. But calling Him in one hand, and ourselves planning how to do it, is not the way the Bible hints us to do it. Our call to Him demands a state of mind, of faith, of awe, of hope where we recognize ahead of time what He can do and that He lives within us ready to convert the whole world through us, but He leading the way, as He has done forever and ever. Yes, we can say many Rosaries, yes we can ask our Mother to help us, yes we can read the Bible everyday (or the Liturgy of the Hours) or feed the poor or teach the catechism, read all the books we want on fear of the Lord, and yes, we may help a few souls, but if we do it without fear of God in our hearts from present moment to present moment, without the awe due His majesty for Who He is, in His Name, for His glory, and as servants, willing to love Him because He loves us sooo much, the Holy Spirit may not be able to give us the Gifts needed to change “many” hearts, as He did in the Book of Acts.
It is an act of mercy for our brothers and sisters, to appropriate the Gifts necessary to bring them salvation. We have 2/3 of our Catholic population missing the graces available in each parish. So, it means that 1/3 of us must be instruments of grace for the other 2/3. We must activate the gift of fear of the Lord received in Baptism. Or said in other words, we need the Holy Spirit within in full operation mode, and for that, we need to pray and to obey the commandments and activate all the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, starting with living in holy awe
2. But why aren’t we more aggressive in seeking the Gift of Fear of the Lord?
Even within our Catholic Church at large, every year we go through the Feast of Pentecost, but the Holy Spirit does not go through us. And how do I know that? Because we have many Catholics not coming to join us on a regular basis. We have Him within but in chains since we tend to walk with our own wisdom, mundane reasoning; we reject our crosses as a matter of fact, ignoring that the will of God even in our crosses is always provided to fit our spiritual needs for growth, and the needs of the entire Body. The end result is that we are not appropriating the Holy Ghost’s gifts, and we follow other gods, even that we may claim that we are followers of Jesus. Yet, the latter cannot happen until we are led by the Holy Spirit, and He is in the closet of our ignorance of Who He is in our lives. The end result is that we cannot experience Jesus daily on a personal basis nor get the grace to “know” without equivocation that His Presence is Real in the Eucharist!
And this is how Satan has worked in our world and in our Church. He keeps us distracted, divided, lied to, tempted to seek happiness in the gimmicks of the world. Therefore, we have no time and at times no interest in paying attention to the God Who created the Universe; the God who parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River; the God who made us so precious, so full of details in each part of our body; the God who keeps at it, visiting us with His love in so many aspects. And so, it is time to ask you: “Have you ever made a complete list of all received graces, miracles and the crosses that purified your soul for the miracles? Have you? Have you come to terms with the beauty and awesomeness of your being as created by God to love and be loved? Have you realized that no one has been able to duplicate from the start a human being in a Petri dish?” (They can put together the ova and the sperm and wait for the human being to form, but they cannot make these two cells make a baby! Huh! Science cannot make a baby learn to talk and walk…)
3. But how to start living in awe of God?”
I am not a theologian and the only answer I have is that I have started by paying attention to all creation… Remember that Yosemite was my first invitation to put my eyes into an awesome physical sight that He made. From there, I have started to look into the beauty of each human being, and lo and behold, God has helped me, and I find things that are beautiful when I only ignored them before, or simply, only could see the negative…I look at babies in the supermarket or elsewhere and find more and more the perfection of the creation of God. Their fingers are soo perfect… They look at you, a stranger, and smile… And to think that all of us were cute babies at one point… I saw the young people at WYD2011, and I could not get over the awe of what God can do… I am sure they were there not just because our Holy Father was there. Nah… They were there because they were summoned by the Holy Spirit, and as the times when huge crowds followed Jesus. I was in awe of the Church that He founded…
The greatest fruit of all of this discourse and practice is that since I am more aware of my need to fear God as explained, every time that I wonder what is next, I feel a certitude and peace that my only job is to expect wonders… if I do my part, of course… That is, if I pray and love God and neighbor in all its angles, seeking His will in all things, and if I follow the Commandments the best I can while I spend my present moments in holy awe of His love and mercy for me, His Holy Spirit will provide the rest of the His Gifts to do whatever He tells me… If He has done great things before and over and over for all His children, I have nothing to fear except Him but as “holy awe.” And I have been working at it… For example, every single question that comes to my mind as to how to tell the whole world about His love and mercy, when, with whom, or not at all, I immediately place it in a little box and take it to Him in the Tabernacle of my parish, and thank Him in awe for being there for me, with a profound reverence for His Holy Spirit Whom He sent precisely to do the job of guiding me to my Father, but in pilgrimage with as many souls as possible. I have never felt as free as I do right now and as part of His Body. My work is turning to be easy, and He said it, “My yoke is easy.” Hmm. He is right… Alleluia…
Finally, let me leave you with how the Psalmist talks about the awesomeness of God:
Psalm 65: 6-10. – You answer us with awesome deeds of justice, of God our savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of our distant islands. You are robed in power; You set the mountains by Your might. You still the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the tumult of the peoples. Distant peoples stand in awe of Your marvels; east and west You make resound with joy; You visit the earth and water it, make it abundantly fertile. God’s stream is filled with water; with it you supply the world with grain…
Psalm 66: 1-4. – Shout joyfully to God, all you on earth; sing of His glorious Name; give Him glorious praise. Say to God, “How awesome Your deeds? Before Your great strength Your enemies cringe. All on the earth fall in worship before You; they sing of You, sing of Your Name!
Psalm 89: 6-7; 9-10; 12-13. – The heavens praise Your marvels, Lord, Your loyalty in the assembly of the holy ones. Who in the skies ranks with the Lord? Who is like the Lord among the gods? Lord, God of hosts, who is like You? Mighty Lord, Your loyalty is always present. You rule the raging sea; you still its swelling waves. Yours are the heavens, yours the earth; You founded the world and everything in it. Zaphon and Amanus (sacred mountains) You created; Tabor (a high hill in northern Israel) and Hermon (a mountain in Lebanon) rejoice in Your Name. (And I imagine that Yosemite and the Tahoe and Teton mountains and every other hi peak do the same even today).
P.S.: I hope that you have not being bored with the length of this long blog… Please, keep me in your prayers since the state of my eye (as mentioned before) could be a sign to quit writing blogs. In the other hand, this cross may be necessary to be able to hear the Holy Spirit and write only what He wants me to, and most importantly, to truly live in the fear of the Lord. So, I need to discern this situation and your prayer would be extremely important for me to know what God wants. Thank you and may the Lord bless you!