Vitamin D is harder to come by naturally during this cold, dark season. My spirit’s also been lacking another nutrient lately: Fear of the Lord.
I walk into the Perpetual Adoration chapel, kneel before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and sit down without giving Him much more thought sometimes than if I were walking into the library and he were the librarian.
Sadly, some of my Holy Hours can seem like a trip to the library. I get busy with prayer, reading and writing not thinking too much about the Lord in front of me until it’s time to “check out.” At times seeing Him doesn’t move me into rapturous prayer or even hold my attention very long.
More than the season
Winter blahs? Maybe but it goes beyond the season. Our faith isn’t based on feelings but without them life can start to resemble the winter tundra.
Saying I lack fear of the Lord doesn’t mean I feel more bold and brave before Him. It doesn’t mean we’re supposed to live in terror of God, either. As I see it, I’m missing the awe and reverence I might feel before any king or even Pope Francis.
Fear of the Lord is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit that are increased in us at confirmation. (CCC1303)
As Mark Shea writes, “We who have received his Divine life in baptism and confirmation are to walk in that same spirit of filial, not servile, fear and to likewise offer ourselves in love and not in self-contempt.”
Having some real fear of God mixed in with awe and reverence isn’t a bad thing. After all, even though Christ is with us so humbly in the form of a small disc of bread, He is King of the Universe.
Respect for God
According to the Catechism, “Respect for his name is an expression of the respect owed to the mystery of God himself and to the whole sacred reality it evokes. The sense of the sacred is part of the virtue of religion.
It goes on to quote Bl. Cardinal John Henry Newman:
Are these feelings of fear and awe Christian feelings or not?… I say this, then, which I think no one can reasonably dispute. They are the class of feelings we should have — yes, have to an intense degree — if we literally had the sight of Almighty God; therefore they are the class of feelings which we shall have, if we realize His presence. In proportion as we believe that He is present, we shall have them; and not to have them, is not to realized, not to believe that He is present. (CCC2144)
I think the only cure for my deficiency is to pray that I may believe and become more aware that the Lord is present. Controlling feelings may not always be in our power but it is possible to make an act of the will.
I will pray that I don’t take the Lord for granted, as I do the quiet presence of the librarian. Someone suggested saying a prayer modeled after the one priests say before Mass:
Enter this Holy Hour as though it were your first Hour, your last Hour, your only Hour.