Meditations on the Fear of God


#1

"That Thy beloved may be delivered."

I wish to terrify them, says God, in order that struck by fear they may rise from the bed of sin and return to me. In their affliction they will rise early to Me. Yes, the Lord, although he sees us so ungrateful and worthy of punishment, is eager to free us from it, because however ungrateful we may be, he loves us and wishes us well. Give us help from trouble. Thus, in sum, prayed David; and thus ought we to pray. Grant, O Lord, that this scourge which now afflicts us may open our eyes, so that we depart from sin; because if we do not here abandon it, sin will lead us to eternal damnation, which is a scourge enduring forever. . .

'When the devil again tempts you to sin, telling you that God is merciful, remember that the Lord showeth mercy to them that fear Him, but not to them who despise Him.'

. . . Ecclesiasticus says, that the fear of the Lord brings not pain, but joy and gladness: The fear of the Lord shall delight the heart, and shall give joy and gladness. Thus this very fear leads to the acquisition of a firm hope in God, which makes the soul happy: He that fears the Lord shall tremble at nothing, and shall not be afraid, for He is his hope. The soul of him that fears the Lord is blessed. Yes, blessed, because fear draws man away from sin. The fear of the Lord drives out sin and at the same time infuses into him a great desire of observing the commandments: Blessed is the man that fears the Lord: he shall delight exceedingly in His commandments.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'Is it not evident that the Lord Jesus is angry with us when we sin in order that He may convert us through fear of His indignation? His indignation, then, is not the carrying out of vengeance, but rather the working out of forgiveness, for these are His words: "If thou shalt turn and lament, thou shall be saved." He waits for our lamentations here, that is, in time, that He may spare us those which shall be eternal. He waits for our tears, that He may pour forth His goodness.'

St. Ambrose of Milan, 'On Repentance'

No one can love God consciously in his heart unless he has first feared Him with all his heart. Through the action of fear the soul is purified and, as it were, made malleable and so it becomes awakened to the action of love. . . Fear and love are found together only in the righteous who achieve virtue through the energy of the Holy Spirit in them. For this reason Holy Scripture says in one place: "O fear the Lord, all you who are His saints," (Ps. 34:9) and in another: "O love the Lord, all you who are His saints." (Ps. 31:23)'

St. Diadochos of Photiki

St. Bernard's mother, worthy of such a son, was wont to take her new-born babes in her arms to offer them to Jesus Christ, thenceforward loving them with a reverential love, as a sacred deposit from God; and so entirely was her offering accepted, that all her seven children became Saints. And when children begin to use their reason, fathers and mothers should take great pains to fill their hearts with the fear of God. This the good Queen Blanche did most earnestly by St. Louis, her son: witness her oft-repeated words, "My son, I would sooner see you die than guilty of a mortal sin;" words which sank so deeply into the saintly monarch's heart, that he himself said there was no day on which they did not recur to his mind, and strengthen him in treading God's ways.'

St. Francis de Sales

'The devil sometimes removes all fear from you, only to make you fall; he exaggerates in order to discourage you, and in everything he only seeks your ruin.'

'If one fears men much he will never do anything great for God: all that one does for God arouses persecution.'

St. Ignatius of Loyola

'Let us stand firm in the fear of God, rigorously practicing the virtues and not giving our conscience cause to stumble. In the fear of God let us keep our attention fixed within ourselves, until our conscience achieves its freedom. Then there will be a union between it and us, and thereafter it will be our guardian, showing us each thing that we must uproot.'

St. Isaiah the Solitary

'The first degree of humility is the fear of God, which we should constantly have before our eyes.'

St. Louis de Blois

'Fear of God is of two kinds. The first is generated in us by the threat of punishment. It is through such fear that we develop in due order self-control, patience, hope in God and dispassion; and it is from dispassion that love comes. The second kind of fear is linked with love and constantly produces reverence in the soul, so that it does not grow indifferent to God because of the intimate communion of its love.'

St. Maximos the Confessor

'That which proceeds from God begins with a salutary fear and finishes with peace of mind.'

'We must know how to confide. There is the fear of God and the fear of a Judas. Too much fear makes one labour without love, and too much confidence prevents from considering the danger which we must overcome.'

St. Padre Pio

'Go, and join a man who fears God, and live near him; he will teach you, too, to fear God.'

'Just as smoke drives the bees away and also takes the sweetness out of their work, so bodily ease drives the fear of God from the soul and dissipates all its activity.'

'As the breath which comes out of his nostrils, so does a man need humility and the fear of God.'

St. Poemen

'To assure our salvation it does not suffice to call ourselves children of Mary, therefore let us always have the fear of God.'

St. Teresa of Jesus

'He who fears God will pay careful attention to his soul and will free himself from communion with evil. If you abandon God and are a slave to the passions you cannot reap God's mercy. Even if we do not wish to believe Him, it was Jesus who said that no one can serve two masters (cf. Matt. 6:24).'

St. Thalassios the Libyan


#2

I read a complaint that the fear of God was little emphasized these days. Well.

The saints say you cannot properly love God without fearing God first. :)

In general it seems to be that there is an emphasis on loving God and still sinning, rather than real love of God, which does not sin. If we do not love God in deed, we do not love God, and so it is wishful thinking to say love while you do deeds that do not love..

And so.. I think the fear of God is all the more helpful for people in such straits no?


#3

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