Notebook

The Fear of God

Right now, when not much works out the way one would expect, one may be forgiven for finding pleasing irony in the liturgical calendar’s announcement that we’re back in ‘Ordinary Time’. In any case, it is good to be given, as a guide to ordinariness, the beginning of Sirach to read:

‘The fear of the Lord is glory and pride, happiness and a crown of joyfulness. The fear of the Lord gladdens the heart, giving happiness, joy and long life.’

Who fears the Lord nowadays? It is an attitude rather out of fashion. This is a pity. What is more, it is a concession to shallowness. What is holy is of its nature fearful simply because it’s categorically different to the stuff of our ordinary lives. If we’ve lost the ability to fear God, we’ve lost the ability to know God as God. And so it is no wonder that people discard the spectre that remains as an irrelevance.