May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you! May God bless us, and may all the ends of the earth fear him!

So what does it mean to fear the Lord?  I am copying this from an article I found online that describes the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  The basis of these 7 gifts is Fear of the Lord because it teaches us to turn away from sin, confess our sin and avoid the near occasion of sin…

This gift enables a person “to avoid sin and attachment to created things out of reverence and love of God.” Primarily, this gift entails a profound respect for the majesty of God who is the supreme being. Here, a person realizes his “creatureliness” and dependency upon God, has a true “poverty of spirit,” and never would want to be separated from God, who is love. As such, this gift arouses in the soul a vibrant sense of adoration and reverence for God and a sense of horror and sorrow for sin.

This gift of fear of the Lord is sometimes misunderstood because of the word “fear.” “Fear of the Lord” is not a servile fear whereby a person serves God simply because he fears punishment, whether some sort of temporal punishment in this life or the eternal punishment of hell. A genuine relationship with God is based on love, not fear. Therefore, this “fear of the Lord” is a filial or reverential fear that moves a person to do God’s will and avoid sin because of love for God, who is all good and deserving of all of our love. In a similar way, a child should not be motivated to obey a parent simply because of fear of punishment, but because of love and respect; a person who loves someone does not want to disappoint or to break the other person’s heart. One should fear hurting a loved one and violating that person’s trust more than one should fear punishment. Nevertheless, one should have a healthy sense of fear for the punishment due to sin, including the fires of hell, even though this should not be the motivating factor for

loving God.

Therefore, this gift motivates the person in three ways: first, to have a vivid sense of God’s infinite greatness; second, to have a real sorrow for sin, even venial sins, and to do penance to atone for sins committed; and third, to be vigilant to avoid the near occasions of sin, to struggle against personal weakness and fight temptation.

Having read this, the readings for today really embrace the meaning of Fear of the Lord.  With that in mind, the question is have I – have you – embraced that gift of the Holy Spirit.  How much do I detest sin?  How often am I willing to free myself of these sins by going to confession?  What do I do to avoid the near occasion of sin?  What is it in my life  – what example do I give to the people around me – that shows that I have a proper fear of the Lord?  Do I praise God in everything I do?

Do something great for our Lord today – repent and turn away from sin.  Believe in the Gospel – the good news of Christ.  (No, it isn’t Ash Wednesday today.)

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

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