Holy Rule for Sept. 26
- +PAXPrayers, please, for the following:Maggie, 18, surgery for scoliosis of the spine.Diane, 23, battling leukemia.Deo gratias and continued prayers for her recovery, Ann Marie, for whom we prayed, is cancer-free, no chemo and no radiation needed.Paul, who disappeared, has been found in a cardiac intensive care unit. Prayers for his recovery.Nina, 81, toe surgery.Alice, fibromyalgia and unable to work. She is facing great financial crisis and is scared.Adriana's Dad, in his final hours, for his happy death and for all his family and all who will mourn him.Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is
mercy and grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL
January 26, May 27, September 26
Chapter 7: On Humility
The first degree of humility, then,
is that a person keep the fear of God before his eyes
and beware of ever forgetting it.
Let him be ever mindful of all that God has commanded;
let his thoughts constantly recur
to the hell-fire which will burn for their sins
those who despise God,
and to the life everlasting which is prepared
for those who fear Him.
Let him keep himself at every moment from sins and vices,
whether of the mind, the tongue, the hands, the feet,
or the self-will,
and check also the desires of the flesh.
Few things punch people's buttons like the phrase "fear of God." It is
widely misunderstood and commonly taken in its most unappealing sense. A recent
poll in the United States showed that an overwhelming majority of folks
believed in God, but that an alarmingly high number thought He was a rather
demanding Judge and taskmaster. How very sad!
Perhaps a skewed understanding of the
concept of the fear of God has gone a long way to making folks feel that way.
There is a very big difference between fearing to offend a touchy, nasty,
ill-tempered scoundrel and fearing to offend one we love deeply. Most people,
quite unflatteringly, assume the fear of God is of the first variety. It
isn't. It is the fear of offending One we love, One Who deserves nothing shoddy
or half-hearted from us.
When I love someone my heart breaks if I hurt or upset
them, I would never do so intentionally and even unintentional gaffs upset
me because they upset the one I love. It is this sort of "fear" that we need
to cultivate in regards to God.
This loving fear requires all the mindfulness and care and vigilance
mentioned in this reading for reasons altogether different than terror. It
demands them because of love, the same loving fear a mother has of failing to
protect her child from harm or hurt. It is the lover's fear, not the fear of the
terrorized, cowering, scared-to-death slave of an unjust master. It is the fear
of a son or daughter who would never want to disappoint a beloved father or
We don't fear God because He's mean, we fear Him because He isn't,
because He is so wonderful that nothing would be worse than to displease Him.
To be sure, a lot of folks fear God in the scary way at square one. That's
not surprising. But "perfect love casts out fear," so, in the natural order of
things, as our love grows more perfect, our fear of the terror sort
diminishes, changes, grows into the lover's fear.
When we find ourselves considerably beyond square one and trembling with the
awful fear, we do a great disservice to the kindness and love of God, to His
infinite mercy. Where is our trust?
St. Claude de la Colombiere, spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary
Alacoque and great promoter of the Sacred Heart revelations given to her, also
corresponded with a Benedictine abbess. This abbess had been elected at far too
young an age (20!!!) and later becoming aware of her failings, was despairing
over all her sins and faults. St. Claude firmly rebuked her and said: "One
would think that you had never heard of God or His infinite mercy...[R]emember
that all the evil you have done is as nothing in comparison with that which
you do by failing in confidence."
That is a striking statement, but very true. Our right-minded fear of God
never, ever forgets His love or mercy or tenderness. Never.
Love and prayers,
- +PAXPrayers for Michael LoPiccolo, as he recovers at home from a surgery to correct bleeding. He is still pretty weak, so ardent prayers continued for this man who does so much for us and for the Holy Rule in cyberspace. And prayers for his wife, Genny, who is caring for him.Prayers for L., a return to the Church.Prayers for James, for his vocation to a monastery he is drawn to join. He is waiting to hear from them and is anxious.Deo gratias and continued prayers for Sue, recovering from her surgery. The initial prospects are that the tumor is benign, but awaiting the final biopsy results.