Sunday 22nd January 2017

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Gifts Of The Holy Spirit — Fear Of The Lord

December 31, 2016 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By DON FIER

In one of her liturgical prayers, the Church intimates why piety, the gift of the Holy Spirit we examined last week, is so essential to our spiritual life: “Lord, holy Father, . . . although you have no need of our praise, yet our thanksgiving is itself your gift, since our praises add nothing to your greatness, but profit us for salvation, through Christ our Lord” (Roman Missal, Preface IV, Weekday Mass).
As this prayer acknowledges, it is not possible for us, on our own, to fittingly venerate God with the honor and reverence He deserves. To assist us, we need the special gift of piety from the Holy Spirit, given initially in Baptism and later strengthened in Confirmation, to enable us to offer homage to our heavenly Father in a true spirit of sonship.
The gift of piety, which perfects the cardinal virtue of justice, fosters in us a filial respect for God as not only our Creator and Sustainer, but as our loving Father. It imbues within those in whom it is operative a generous and childlike love that seeks to please Him in all ways, even if suffering and sacrifice is required — and to do so willingly and joyfully.
It also fosters a loving fraternal attitude toward our neighbors as brothers and sisters in Christ. As expressed by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, the gift of piety “makes us look upon…our fellow men not as competitors in the struggle of life but coequals under God as our common Maker and brothers in Christ through the saving merits of his passion” (The Catholic Catechism, p. 204).
The gift of piety was manifested profoundly in both our Lady and her kinswoman Elizabeth in the biblical account of the Visitation. Prompted by the Holy Spirit, Mary “arose and went with haste into the hill country” (Luke 1:39) to assist her elderly relative in an act of fraternal charity, even though she herself was with child. The Blessed Virgin, moreover, can be seen to exercise piety chiefly by bringing the Son of God to Elizabeth.
In turn, the mother-to-be of St. John the Baptist, through a movement of the Holy Spirit, recognizes and piously acknowledges the great favor bestowed upon her: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:42-43).
Our Lord Himself, of course, is the consummate model of the gift of piety. His filial and prayerful attitude toward His heavenly Father is recorded throughout the New Testament, strikingly so in the opening two words of the prayer He taught His disciples: “Our Father.”
It is perhaps most vibrantly shown in His invocation to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane in the midst of exceedingly intense interior suffering: “Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mark 14:36). We, too, are called to enter into this filial sense of Jesus’ love for the Father.
We now come to the consideration of the last of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit as enumerated in chapter 11 of the Book of Isaiah, fear of the Lord. Like piety, to which it is closely related, fear of the Lord belongs to the faculty of the will. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, although last in the order of excellence among the gifts, it is first in the order of need:
“Fear,” says the Angelic Doctor, “is chiefly required as being the foundation of the perfection of the other gifts” (Summa Theologiae [STh] I-II, Q. 68, art. 7, ad 1). This is confirmed multiple times in Sacred Scripture: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10; Prov. 9:10; cf. Sirach 21:11). “By the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil” (Prov. 16:6). “The fear of the Lord leads to life; and he who has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm” (Prov. 19:23).
Fr. Jordan Aumann, OP, defines the gift of fear of the Lord as “a supernatural habit by which the just soul, under the instinct of the Holy Spirit, acquires a special docility for subjecting itself completely to the divine will out of reverence for the excellency and majesty of God” (Spiritual Theology [SpT], p. 262).
As Fr. Hardon expounds, it “inclines the will to filial respect for God, keeps us from sin because it displeases God, profoundly humbles us before Him, and makes us hope in His powerful assistance” (Basic Catholic Catechism Course [BCCC], p. 131). It perfects the theological virtue of hope and the cardinal virtue of temperance at one and the same time.
Let us examine the various forms of fear we experience in everyday life and how, if at all, each corresponds to “fear of the Lord.” St. Thomas defines four types: worldly, servile, initial, and filial. To preface this discussion, it is important to recognize that “God in himself, as supreme and infinite goodness, cannot be an object of fear; he is an object of love. But so far as he is able to punish us for our sins, he can and ought to be feared” (SpT, p. 262).
The first type is worldly or mundane fear, where one fears the loss of a temporal good (e.g., wealth, power, honor, pleasure, etc.) more than offending God. It corresponds to a false love “whereby a man trusts in the world as his end” (STh II-II, Q. 19, art. 4). Its object is so ignoble that, according to both St. Thomas and St. Augustine, it is always evil. An infamous example, one that we recall each time we recite the Apostles’ Creed, is the worldly fear of Pilate who condemned Divine Innocence to an ignominious death in order to remain a friend of Caesar.
The second type, servile fear, although far superior to worldly fear, remains lacking in that its motive is a selfish one: Sin is avoided not out of love of God, but because of the dread of punishment. Although an imperfect form of fear that may be present even in the absence of sanctifying grace, it is substantially good in that it can lead one to repentance and to the Sacrament of Confession where an imperfect act of contrition is sufficient for forgiveness.
Next is initial fear, which represents the beginning of true fear of the Lord. The soul now experiences, so to speak, a mixture of fear of punishment and fear of committing an offense against an all-good, all-loving God. Although the sense of a fear of punishment remains, growth in charity has moved the person closer to a relationship of filial love of God. St. Thomas teaches that initial fear occupies an intermediate state between servile fear and the selfless fear that corresponds to the gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. STh II-II, Q. 19, art. 2).
The fourth type of fear, filial or reverential fear, is the good and perfect fear for which the Christian should aspire. Punishment and the fear of Hell are no longer concerns; one “serves God and fulfills his divine will, fleeing from sin because it is an offense against God and for fear of being separated from him” (SpT, p. 263), even if physical death is the consequence.
Inspirational examples of fear of the Lord in operation were put before us in recent lenten readings: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego submitted to being cast into a white-hot furnace rather than worship the golden idol of King Nebuchadnezzar (see Daniel 3:8-18); Susanna overcame fear of bodily death rather than submit to the carnal intentions of two wicked elders (see Daniel 13:1-62).

Hope And Temperance

As indicated earlier, fear of the Lord perfects the virtues of hope and temperance. Hope is “the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1817).
It logically follows that as we grow in filial fear, our confidence that God will enable us to share everlasting life with Him in Heaven increases. “Filial fear and hope cling together and perfect one another,” says St. Thomas. “We fear not that we may fail of what we hope to obtain by God’s help, but lest we withdraw ourselves from this help” (STh II-II, Q. 9, art. 1, ad 1).
Temperance, on the other hand, is the moral virtue which “moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will’s mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable” (CCC, n. 1809). The gift of fear of the Lord “perfects and promotes the virtue of temperance,” explains Fr. Hardon, “because, not wanting to displease God and longing to be united with Him, we detach ourselves from false loves of the world and flee those amusements and material satisfactions which could make us lose God” (BCCC, p. 131).
Fear of the Lord, according to St. Thomas, corresponds to the first beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3). It is through holy fear of the Lord that we are able to detach our hearts from the riches, pleasures, and honors of the world, to grow in humility, and to place all our trust in God.
Liberated from the self-exaltation of pride, fear of the Lord leads us to seek God alone; in doing so, we become supernaturally rich and able to inherit eternal beatitude.

+ + +

(Don Fier serves on the board of directors for The Catholic Servant, a Minneapolis-based monthly publication. He and his wife are the parents of seven children. Fier is a 2009 graduate of Ave Maria University’s Institute for Pastoral Theology. He is doing research for writing a definitive biography of Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Pope Francis sends good wishes to US President Donald Trump

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent his good wishes to United States President Donald Trump, who was inaugurated in a ceremony at the US Capitol Building on Friday. “At a time when our human family is beset by grave humanitarian…Continue Reading

TRAD LIVES MATTER! US Bishop attacks “ad orientem” worship, overrides Summorum Pontificum

UPDATE: I’ll be a bit more restrictive with comments.  Some of you are… sheesh.  Think before even starting to write, please. ___ Originally Published on: Jan 19, 2017 @ 14:25 ___ I received a copy of a letter sent by the…Continue Reading

Pope: Luther’s intention was to renew the Church, not divide her

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday said that “the intention of Martin Luther five hundred years ago was to renew the Church, not divide her”. Speaking to members of an Ecumenical Delegation from Finland who are in the Vatican to…Continue Reading

Priests for Life Banned From Orlando Diocese

All are welcome — except pro-life group ORLANDO (ChurchMilitant.com) – The bishop of Orlando is forbidding parishes from hosting speakers from Priests for Life or handing out their material. Priests for Life (PFL) was founded in 1991 with the canonical…Continue Reading

New York Times refuses to call the March for Life by its name. And pro-lifers are mad.

January 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life leaders are calling out The New York Times for its biased coverage of the March for Life after the newspaper steadfastly avoided identifying the event by its name in a recent article. In a story published…Continue Reading

The Maltese Disaster

The bishops of Malta, in a document that can only be called disastrous, repeatedly invoking Pope Francis’ Amoris laetitia, have directly approved divorced and remarried Catholics taking holy Communion provided they feel “at peace with God”. Unlike, say, the Argentine document on Amoris which, one could argue, left just…Continue Reading

Malta’s bishops allow civilly remarried divorcees to receive Communion

Update: In a move taken as a sign of approval, the Vatican’s semi-official newspaper published the Maltese bishops’ guidelines Friday morning in its print and online versions. MALTA, January 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The bishops of Malta have given the…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider Offers Hope Amidst Crisis Permitted by “Divine Providence”

As the ecclesiastical crisis continues to deepen in 2017, I have found myself facing a certain exhaustion; a feeling that, while knowing the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, that Christ will have the final victory, there…Continue Reading

Malta’s bishops tell the remarried: take Communion if you feel at peace with God

The bishops say that avoiding sex may be ‘humanly impossible’ Malta’s bishops have said that remarried people should receive Communion if they think they are at peace with God. In a new document, Criteria for the Application of Chapter VIII of…Continue Reading

Vatican invites pro-abortion ‘Population Bomb’ author to speak at Biological Extinction conference

VATICAN CITY, January 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican has invited the undisputed father of the modern population control movement to present a paper at an upcoming Vatican-run conference. Dr. Paul Ehrlich, author of the 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb,…Continue Reading

Speaker Paul Ryan: We Will Defund Planned Parenthood Period, And Here’s Why

Last night, in an interview on CNN, pro-life Speaker Paul Ryan explained why the Republican Congress will defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Ryan said Congress has a long-standing pro-life principle that it will not force taxpayers to be involved…Continue Reading

REVEALED: The most pro-life and most pro-abortion U.S. states. Where does your state rank?

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 10, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Oklahoma stands at the top and Washington ranks at the bottom of the Americans United for Life’s annual “Life List” released Tuesday that ranks the most pro-life and pro-abortion states in the U.S.…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope to Roman Rota: Legal and sacramental preparation needed for married couples

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday received members of the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota on the occasion of the inauguration of the judicial year. Addressing those gathered for the opening of the judiciary year of the Sacred Roman Rota, Pope Francis focused his attention on the relationship between faith and marriage. Love and Truth Quoting from his predecessors including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, he noted the importance of Love and Truth. “Love needs…Continue Reading

Catholic bishops urge Congress to preserve health care coverage

The U.S. Catholic hierarchy was one of the staunchest foes of the Affordable Care Act, nearly derailing its passage in 2010 over concern about abortion funding and exacting a political toll that helped doom abortion-opposing Democrats who backed the law while boosting Republican efforts to take control of Congress. But faced with the prospect of the GOP’s following through on pledges to repeal the health care reform, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is changing…Continue Reading

Maltese bishop threatens priests will be suspended a divinis for refusing communion to divorced/remarried

Bishop Mario Grech of Gozo, a Maltese island, has allegedly threatened priests that he will suspend them a divinis if they refuse Holy Communion to the divorced and civilly “remarried”. The German website Katholisches reports that Bishop Mario Grech announced his decision to impose this canonical punishment immediately on returning from Rome. Bishop Mario Grech is the co-signatory with  Archbishop Charles Scicluna of the document, “Criteria for the Application of Chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia“. Archbishop Charles Scicluna…Continue Reading

Bishop Athanasius Schneider . . . Appeal to prayer:

schneider

That Pope Francis may confirm the unchanging praxis of the Church with regard to the truth of the indissolubility of marriage. Following the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia, in some particular churches there were published norms for its application and interpretations whereby the divorced who have attempted civil marriage with a new partner, notwithstanding the sacramental bond by which they are joined to their legitimate spouse, are admitted to the sacraments of Penance and…Continue Reading

A list of the most insane things uttered by the abortion activist speaking at the Vatican next month

January 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The leading population control activist speaking at the Vatican next month has compared human babies to garbage, said every sexually active woman needs “free access” to abortion and contraception, and said the Catholic Church’s moral teachings are “just as unethical” as a “terrorist act.” Dr. Paul Ehrlich is the undisputed father of the modern, pro-abortion population control movement. He has defended mass forced sterilization and even forced abortion. Ehrlich has made inflammatory statements…Continue Reading

Restoring The Sacred… The Anima Christi

By JAMES MONTI At the very moment when the sacred waters of Baptism are poured over the head of a newborn child, that child in an instant becomes heir to an incredible patrimony — all the invisible riches, to be sure, of sanctifying grace, the Scriptures and the sacraments, but also nearly two thousand years…Continue Reading

Propagandists To The End . . . Manning’s A “Young Woman”; Vietnam’s “Raging Capitalist”

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate distributes his column. All rights reserved.) + + + White House Spokesman Josh Earnest and Secretary of State John Kerry finished President Barack Obama’s final term with fitting acts of propaganda. Had you listened uncritically to Earnest, you would…Continue Reading

Should Old Aquinas Be Forgot?

By DONALD DeMARCO Thomas Aquinas was born in the year 1224 in Rocca Sicca, the hereditary castle of the counts of Aquino in the Neapolitan province. While he was residing in the womb, a holy man brought a prophecy to the unborn child’s mother, Theodora, countess of Aquino: “Rejoice, O lady, for thou art about…Continue Reading

A Book Review… A Culmination Of James Likoudis’ Pilgrimage

By ROBERT L. FASTIGGI A signed copy of Heralds of a Catholic Russia: Twelve Spiritual Pilgrims From Byzantium to Rome ($19.95) can be obtained by ordering directly from the author: James Likoudis, P.O. Box 852, Montour Falls, NY 14865. I first met James Likoudis during a visit to Rome in 1996 — though I had…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101… “In-Vitro Fertilization And ‘Pregnancy Reduction’”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 15 of The Facts of Life, “Artificial Reproductive Technologies,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + IVF Procedure Efficiency: The probability of a single transplanted embryo surviving the entire…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Sacred Liturgy… Where Thy Glory Dwells

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 4 Yes, the liturgy of the Church must be sacred. The Church did not institute the liturgy for our Sunday entertainment, but to give glory to God. Because of its sacredness, it cannot be celebrated just anywhere, as in parks, beaches, or backyards. Today, there is a weird trend — to put it charitably —…Continue Reading

The Eucharist — Source And Summit Of Christian Life

By DON FIER To complete our treatment of Confirmation, it is fitting to end with a concise summary from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) on the sacrament’s purpose and the benefits it bestows to help us live a fully Christian life: “Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace; it is the sacrament which gives the Holy Spirit in order to root…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I noticed people collecting for the Salvation Army at Christmastime. What can you tell me about them? — M.D., Arizona. A. The Salvation Army is known for its charitable works and its role in disaster relief. They spend more than $2 billion a year, and the group in the United States is made up of commissioned officers who proclaim…Continue Reading

Living The Beatitudes

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fourth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Zeph. 2:3, 3:12-13 1 Cor. 1:26-31 Matt. 5:1-12a In the Gospel reading today we hear the beatitudes, all those whom the Lord pronounces blessed for their goodness. Most of us can look at one or two of these and think properly that we may fit into this or…Continue Reading

Reservation Of Hosts

By FR. EDWARD McNAMARA, LC (Editor’s Note: Below is a ZENIT column by Legionary of Christ Fr. Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum University. ZENIT News Agency published the column. All rights reserved.) + + + Q. I’m a member of a religious community, and a question came up about reservation of the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi

By CAROLE BRESLIN Beginning at the mouth of the Niger River in the Gulf of Guinea, you can reach some of the most remote areas of Africa. About 150 miles inland from the delta, the Anambra tributary branches to the northeast and if you travel another 15 miles up the river, you can disembark and travel another five miles to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. André Bessette

By CAROLE BRESLIN High on Mount Royal in Montreal, Quebec, stands the largest Catholic church in Canada, the Basilica of St. Joseph’s Oratory. As the pilgrims climb the steps through the lovely grounds and statuary, they can turn and see the city of Montreal spread out below. Once inside they can visit the main statue of St. Joseph, surrounded by…Continue Reading