“ We will never come to a knowledge of God until we are reverent.”
John Henry Newman
In his book, The Virtue Driven Life, Fr. Benedict Groeschel says that we give reverence to God because of a host of many blessings, including our sight, hearing, ability to smell, taste, and touch. We further offer our most humble gratitude for living, breathing, time and space, and so many limitless gifts.
He makes a good point about what seems like a growing lack of reverence in today’s world as compared to that of our ancestors. I’m not saying we turn back the clock in all areas of worship, but with regards to our relationship with God how do we view our personal level of respect and reverence? How is it that we’ve gotten off track? How do we cultivate a climate of reverence for all things and all people? There’s always room for improvement.
We can become more aware of our reverence in the everyday things we say and do. Perhaps the acronym A-W-A-R-E will serve as a daily reminder.
Appreciate that nothing in this world is permanent and nothing is owed to us. It behooves us to nurture a spirit of gratitude for whatever we have in this moment because it can be gone in the next. Staying present and taking nothing for granted helps us to remain reverent.
Wisdom fosters reverence and begins when we regard God as most sacred. Proverbs says, “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom…” In this case fear means respect and awe for the Mystery that gives us life. If we are aligning our will with God’s will for us, we are honoring our relationship in a right manner. And in return God will guide us at every turn. Easy, not always, but everything worth anything in this world requires that we ultimately follow God’s plan and timing.
Awesomeness abounds in our world. Take a good look at a clear night sky, a sunrise or sunset, a baby sleeping in your arms, the ocean expanding outward into a limitless horizon, or snow-covered farmlands with acres of earth waiting for a spring thaw. It is hard to experience these things without reverence and awe for our Creator. With everything in Creation there is a time and purpose.
Respect for others is critical for maintaining reverence. Regard family members, friends, brothers and sisters you do not know, and those difficult to love, as worthy of your respect. You may not like how people act, how they treat you, or the choices they make, but we are called to respect everyone who comes into our lives. Jesus reminds us that how we treat others is how we treat him. Sometimes the best thing we can do when we are having difficulty in a relationship is to relinquish any control we think we may have over to God. You may want to say something like, “Jesus, I’m giving you (Henry), left up to me, I may say or do something I’ll regret. You on the other hand, will show your mercy.” By doing that, what a beautiful gift you give to yourself, others and Jesus.
Earth is our gift. Remain close to the earth. Every formation, plant, and animal has its place in our natural world. Respect that place. One cannot show blatant disregard for creation and remain reverent. Take simple steps to honor the earth and its creations.
We could all learn to get a little more quiet, to notice the gifts we’ve been given, to get down on our knees in humble adoration, and to simply say, “thank you” more often. Reverence begins with inner peace. My challenge to you is to notice how you are cultivating reverence on a daily basis. Ask yourself, “Where can I do better?”