"The gift of Piety puts in our soul and ease the inclination to honor God as our Father and to have in him a filial fear" P. Meschler.
The gift of the fear of God is intended as a cure for our pride; the gift of godliness is infused into our souls by the Holy Ghost, in order that we may resist self-love, which is one of the passions of our fallen nature, and the second hindrance to our union with God. The heart of a Christian is not made to be either cold or indifferent; it must be affectionate and devoted; otherwise, it can never attain the perfection for which God, who is love, has graciously created it.
The Holy Ghost, therefore, puts the gift of godliness into the soul, by inspiring her with a filial affection for her Creator. ‘You have received’, says the apostle, ‘the Spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry to our God, Abba! Father!’ (Rom: 8,15) This disposition makes the soul alive to whatsoever regards God’s honor. It enables man to nourish within him a sorrow for his sins, in consideration of the divine mercy which has borne with and forgiven him, and of the sufferings and death of his Redeemer. It makes him thirst for God’s glory to be ever spreading; he would, if he could, bring all his fellow-creatures to adore this God; he feels most keenly every insult that is offered to so dear a King. His greatest joy is to see others growing in their love and devotedness in the service of the sovereign Good. He is filled with filial submission to his heavenly Father, whose every will he is most ready to do, cheerfully resigned to whatsoever He may appoint.
His faith is unhesitating and fervent. Affectionately docile to the Church, he is always in the disposition of mind to abandon his most cherished ideas the moment he discovers them to be, in any way, out of the harmony with her teaching or practice; for he has an instinctive horror of novelties and insubordination.
This devotedness to God, which results from the gift of godliness, and unites the soul to her Creator by filial love, makes her love all God’s creatures, inasmuch as they are the work of His hands, and belong to Him.
"The Fear of God is the basis for all the other gifts. It banishes sin because it makes us respect or Divine Justice or His Majesty." P. Meschler.
Pride id the obstacle to man’s virtue and wellbeing. It is pride that leads us to resist God, to make self our last end, in a word, to work our own ruin. Humility alone can save us from this terrible danger. Who will give us humility? The Holy Ghost; and this by infusing into us the gift of the fear of God.
Statue of woman in the fear of God. Location: St. John Church (Johanniskirche), Magdeburg, Germany.
This holy sentiment is based on the following truths, which are taught us by faith: the sovereign majesty of God, in comparison with whom we are mere nothingness; the infinite sanctity of that God, in whose presence we are but unworthiness and sin; the severe and just judgment we are to go through after death; the danger of falling into sin, which may be our misfortune at any time, if we do not correspond to grace, for although grace be never wanting, wet we have it in our power to resist it.
The great day, which consummates the work that God had undertaken for the human race, has at last shone upon the world. The days of Pentecost, as St. Luke says, are accomplished (Act:2,1). We have had seven weeks since the Pasch; and now comes the day that opens the mysterious number of fifty. This day is the Sunday, already made holy by the creation of the light, and the Resurrection of Jesus: it is about to received its final consecration, and bring us the fullness of God (Eph:3,19).
In the old and figurative Law, God foreshadowed the glory that was to belong, at a future period, to the fiftieth day. Israel had passed the waters of the Red Sea, thanks to the protecting power of his Paschal Lamb! Seven weeks were spent in the desert, which was to lead to the promised land; and the very morrow of those seven weeks was the day whereon was made the alliance between God and His people. The Pentecost (the fiftieth day) was honoured by the promulgation of the ten commandments of the divine law; and every following year, the Israelites celebrated the great event by a solemn festival. But their Pentecost was figurative, like their Pasch: there was to be a second Pentecost for all people, as there was to be a second Pasch, for the Redemption of the whole world. The Pasch, with all its triumphant joys, belongs to the Son of God, the Conqueror of death: Pentecost belongs to the Holy Ghost, for it is the day whereon He began His mission into this world, which, henceforward, was to be under His Law.
But how different are the two Pentecost! The one, on the rugged rocks of Arabia, amidst thunder and lightning, promulgates a Law that is written on tablets of stones; the second is in Jerusalem, on which God’s anger has not as yet been manifested, because it still contains within its walls the first fruits of that new people, over whom the Spirit of love is to reign. In this second Pentecost, the heavens are not overcast, nor is the roar of thunder heard; the hearts of men are not stricken with fear, as when God spoke on Sinai; repentance and gratitude are the sentiments now uppermost. A divine fire burns within their souls, and will spread throughout the whole world. Our Lord Jesus had said: ‘I am come to cast fire on the earth; and what will I, but that it be kindled?’ (Lk: 12,49). The hour of the fulfillment of this word has come: the Spirit of love, the Holy Ghost, the eternal uncreated Flame, is about to descend from heaven, and realize the merciful design of our Redeemer.
The Spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole world, alleluia: and that which containeth all things hath knowledge of the voice. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Let God arise, and his enemies be dispersed: and let them that hate him flee before his face. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.