Awareness of the Power of God

One lesson took many years to sink in for me—that an English word often has multiple meanings. I would often latch firmly onto one meaning only to realize later that there is a different, richer, more accurate meaning.

Fear, as in fear of the Lord, is one such word for me.

I would read Fear the Lord and my mind would picture afraid. Understanding of another, richer, meaning took some time to achieve.

According to Pope Francis, “The fear of the Lord, the gift of the Holy Spirit, doesn’t mean being afraid of God, since we know that God is our Father that always loves and forgives us,…[It] is no servile fear, but rather a joyful awareness of God’s grandeur and a grateful realization that only in him do our hearts find true peace.”

Therefore, when I read the Shepherd’s Seventh Commandment to his disciple Hermas, I have deeper understanding.

Fear the Lord and keep his commandments. By keeping his commandments, you will be powerful in every deed, and your activity will be beyond criticism. For when you fear the Lord, you will do everything well.

The Shepherd of Hermas

That has a meaning something like be constantly aware of the power and closeness of God that by following his ways you will be powerful and beyond criticism.

Therefore, I am pained and disappointed when I read Christians words and intents that seem to deny the power of God. Some are living in fear (the afraid kind) and not with awareness of God’s power. Some seem to feel that God is powerless and they must force their views on others.

This, especially, is a time for “joyful awards of God’s grandeur” along with “grateful realization that only in him do our hearts find true peace.”

A self-centered and coddled generation is unprepared for facing adversity with perseverance and true peace.

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