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Monday, February 21, 2011

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St. Peter Damian

Sirach 1:1-10
Psalm 93:1-2, 5
Mark 9:14-29

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no fear but fear of the lord

"Fear of the Lord is glory and splendor, gladness and a festive crown. Fear of the Lord warms the heart, giving gladness and joy and length of days." —Sirach 1:9-10

One of the most repeated and emphasized statements in the Bible is: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Ps 111:10; Sir 1:12, 18). The Bible seems preoccupied with the fear of the Lord, not only in the Old Testament but also in the New. "Fullness of wisdom is fear of the Lord" (Sir 1:14). "Wisdom's garland is fear of the Lord" (Sir 1:16). "Fear of the Lord is an abomination to the sinner" (Sir 1:22). "Fear of the Lord is wisdom and culture" (Sir 1:24). These are just a few of the references to fear of the Lord in just one chapter of the Bible.

In contemporary Christianity, we don't emphasize fear of the Lord, although this is one of the gifts we have all received by our confirmation in the Spirit (Is 11:2). The early Church experienced a reverent fear that "overtook them all, for many wonders and signs were performed by the apostles" (Acts 2:43).

However, too many in the Church today seem to avoid such experiences. We seem more interested in feeling "comfortable" than in letting God be God. Because of our self-centered, rather than God-centered, Christianity, we often make a pretense of religion and negate its power (2 Tm 3:5). We buy the world's wisdom and feel miserable because we are not open to the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of true wisdom.

Prayer:  Father, may I be so aware of Your presence that I am not intimidated by any person's presence. Give me this gift of the Spirit.

Promise:  "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting." —Mk 9:29, RSV-CE

Praise:  St. Peter so sought God's presence that he gave up the all that is of the world to live in a hermitage.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July27, 2010

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