MEDITATION OF THE DAY
Ready and Willing
Jesus tells us that, when we pray, we are to say “Our Father.” His Father is our Father. Through the Son we are drawn into an intimate relationship with the Father. The love the Father has for the Son, Jesus, extends to us. Through baptism God makes us his children, so our relationship with God is one of a child to the Father…. The child looks up to the father with love, respect, admiration and, yes, a certain amount of fear. Likewise we look to our heavenly Father with the kind of awe, worship, and adoration that are due the Lord. Our obedience flows from our respect and love….
How are we to fear the Lord? Psalm 112 gives us the answer: Praise the Lord!/ Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,/ who greatly delights in his commandments! Like the Psalmist, we worship in reverence and joy: the fear of the Lord links joy to obedience.
Our children’s obedience gives us a paradigm for our response to our heavenly Father. At first they obey from fear of consequences. That is an acceptable motivator for a young child, especially with safety issues involved. However, we look for the mature love of a child who obeys from the heart—to please us, to honor us. This obedience flows from a proper respect for us.
So it is with God’s parenting of us. In the Act of Contrition, we acknowledge that we have offended God, and we repent of our sins because we “dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend thee, who are all good and worthy of all our love.” Fearing the eternal consequences of our actions is an acceptable motivation for our obedience to the Lord—hell does exist—but the mature response God seeks from his children is that they obey because of their love for him…. The more the fear of the Lord leads us to wisdom, the more we grow in humility. We see who the Lord really is—worthy of our worship—and we see both how small we are and how special we are in his eyes.
Kimberly Hahn is a convert to Catholicism and a prominent speaker and author. She is the wife of Dr. Scott Hahn. [From Chosen and Cherished: Biblical Wisdom for Your Marriage. © 2007, Kimberly Hahn. All rights reserved. Published by Servant, an imprint of Franciscan Media. Reprinted with permission.]