For a proper spiritual development we must consider how we will cultivate the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They will work hand in hand with the virtues.
The Psalmist declares that Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. According to the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, “The gift of fear of the Lord or wonder and awe in God’s presence can infuse honesty into our relationship with God, a frankness that places us in awe before the majesty of God. Yet the gift also imparts an attitude of grateful wonder that God loves us and we can share in his life.”
Recall the story of Job. After arguing with his friends, Job finally faces God with his complaint. Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm and said: “Who is this who darkens counsel with words of ignorance? Gird up your loins now, like a man; I will question you, and you tell me the answers! Where were you when I founded the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its size? Surely you know? Who stretched out the measuring line for it? Into what were its pedestals sunk, and who laid its cornerstone, while the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
Confronted with the truth about God and himself, Job demonstrates fear of the Lord: Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be hindered. Who is this who obscures counsel with ignorance? I have spoken but did not understand; things too marvelous for me, which I did not know. By hearsay I had heard of you but now my eye has seen you. Therefore I disown what I have said, and repent in dust and ashes.”
Honesty, truth, beauty, imagination, childlike wonder, and goodness flourish with fear of the Lord. They in turn help to flourish our relationship with God.
The virtue that fosters fear of the Lord is humility. Humility is from the root word “hummus” or earth. A person who is humble is down to earth or well grounded. When we cultivate fear of the Lord, we are forming people who are fully alive.
Humility is an honest self understanding. We acknowledge God is God and we are his creation. God has blessed us with many gifts and we should be proud of those accomplishments. Humility and Fear of the Lord give credit where credit is due.
Father Pat Toner is chaplain to the Columbus Courage Chapter. He is also pastor at Saint Joseph Catholic Church, 140 West Ave., Plain City. He can be reached at email@example.com or 614-873-8850.