Today for this novena we petition for Fear of the Lord.
As before, we start with the prayer:
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and rekindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit, and they shall be created and you shall renew the face of the Earth.
Fear is the misunderstood part of this gift. Fear is misunderstood to imply that God is a harsh, brutal unforgiving taskmaster that we should cower and cringe before in mortal terror.
Fear is perhaps better understood as meaning respect. We must respect the Lord our God who created us and sustains us throughout our lives and who decides when that life is over.
After receiving all of the other gifts of the Holy Spirit, we can understand that receiving fear of the Lord as not to be something, well, feared. A healthy, deep and loving respect for God is a natural result of the spiritual development and growth that devotion to the Holy Spirit brings.
Many alcoholics upon recovering reject organized religion as it is felt to be a sign of an unrelenting and unforgiving God. This is based on their past alcoholic relationship with the Church. The interesting thing is that in their recovery, at least according to the 12 Steps, they are to make amends to all they have hurt, to “clean up their side of the street” and to be open to healing all parts of their lives. But they (in my experience) leave out the Church. They harbor and nurture a lingering resentment towards the Church. To me this is a land mine waiting to explode. Regardless of one’s opinion on organized religion, to not heal all of your past alcoholic relationships is an incomplete recovery. This view of organized religion may ultimately poison a relationship with God.
To say that “I believe in God, but not religion”, is like saying “I believe in air, but not in breathing”.
Pray for a healthy, loving respect for God. It will affect all your relationships.
Oh, Holy Spirit, give me a deep and respectful fear of the Lord, our God ,who gave me life and sustains me though all my sufferings. I ask this in the name of Jesus, the Lord.Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)"The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"