Immersed in Christ: Fifth Sunday of Easter: May 2, 2021
The Gift of Awe of the Lord
Awe is a better name for this Gift of the Spirit than Fear of the Lord, because fear suggests the emotion of fright. Fear without fright is just perspective. Awe is the gift of seeing in perspective God's greatness and our littleness, God's power and our weakness, God's knowledge and love compared to ours. Seeing ourselves and God in perspective, we see it as insanity to go against God in any way.
That is how the Gift of Awe strengthens our wills against choosing any finite good in preference to the infinite Good of God. Courage strengthens us to do what is difficult or dangerous. Awe of the Lord strengthens us to not do what is tempting but forbidden. We need both.
All temptations are tunnel vision, exclusive focus on what we desire, blocking out anything that would impose limits on us. We don't consider consequences. We don't ask what we are doing, why, or to whom.
The extreme of this is "lust," defined as "desire without boundaries." Wanderlust, lust for power, lust of battle all imply being lost in unrestrained pursuit of satisfaction. But only God is "infinite," unbounded. When a creature casts off limits, it is presuming to act like God. A total loss of perspective. Insanity.
The answer and remedy is the gift of perspective: Awe of the Lord.
To use the Gift of Awe of the Lord keep asking what you are shutting out when tempted by desire for any limited good. Open your eyes. Count the stars.