Fear of the Lord

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Today we hear the psalmist call blessed the man who fears the Lord.  What does it mean to fear the Lord?  It sounds scary.  Does it mean that we should be afraid of God?

Hardly.  In ancient times, the word “fear” was used synonymously with “awe.”  For the psalmist, fear of the Lord is the gateway to living a holy and joyful life.  Because the Lord is the provider of all that is good, the person who is humble and fears the Lord will necessarily live in a righteous manner.

Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.

He dawns through the darkness, a light for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice.

Lavishly he gives to the poor;
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.

In today’s world it is harder than ever to lead a holy and blameless life.  Christians are under attack from our pagan culture.  We need to remember that we are to keep ourselves pure in spite of derision and ridicule.

How can we stay strong?  By steadfast prayer, reception of the Holy Eucharist, study of the scriptures and encouraging one another in faith.  These things have to be at the center of our lives if we want to experience God’s loving embrace.

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