Q. 1. What is the Catholic teaching regarding the gift of fear?
A. 1. In a few words, the gift of fear helps us to respect God and to desire to please Him in everything. It is not a fear of God, but a fear of offending him.
When Pope Francis spoke of the gift of fear on June 11, 2014, he said, it does not mean that we should be afraid of God, but rather it serves as a reminder to do the right thing.
“Fear of the Lord is an ‘alarm.’ When a person is not on the right path, he settles himself in evil.”
“When he distances himself from God, when he takes advantage of everyone, when he lives attached to money, to vanity, to power or pride, then the holy fear of God draws his attention: You will not be happy like this, this way you will end badly.”
Pope Francis said, “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." “When the Holy Spirit lives in our heart, he instills consolation and peace in us.”
This peace is “the attitude of those who place all their trust in God and feel protected, like a child with his father.” Through fear of the Lord “we become, as Jesus asks us, like little children, trusting in the goodness and the protection of our heavenly Father.”
This gift “allows us to imitate the Lord in humility and obedience, not with a resigned and passive attitude, but with courage and joy.”
“He turns us into Christians convinced that we are not subject to the Lord out of fear, but rather conquered by his paternal love.”
The fear of the Lord is as an “alarm” that awakens us “to the presence of sin in our lives” and reminds us that one day we will “be held accountable to the just Judge.” When we start to sin, this spiritual gift can help direct the faithful back on the right path.
The fear of the Lord allows us all “to understand that one day everything will finish and we will have to be accountable to God.”
“Let us pray that the fear of God, together with the other gifts of the Holy Spirit, will renew us in faith and constantly remind us that in God alone do we find our ultimate happiness, freedom and fulfilment.”