The Virtue of Reverence
Every good and holy gift is certainly given from above. There are many gifts and graces our Triune God dispenses upon His children but unfortunately not all gladly receive. In order that we may better ourselves, we must first take into account God’s constant promptings for our sanctification. But Our Lord will not go where He is not wanted just as it was when Christ walked the earth. Recall when Jesus cast out many demons from a man and sent them into a herd of swine; once the neighboring city heard that Jesus had done this, they begged Him to leave. How terrible to be that deceived by diabolical forces that when truth and light itself approaches – the poor souls are repelled by it. How frightening to be in such a state of disillusion as to reject what is good and holy without fully realizing it! This is why before we sit in a pew, we genuflect before the Tabernacle because we recognize the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This is why we take care to dress in our ‘Sunday best‘ because we are dressing up for a grand event – not just a service.
Have you ever thought about what actually happens in the Mass? The Church teaches us that we are revisiting the same sacrifice on the Cross on Calvary every time we go to Mass. We are standing in the crowd of onlookers as Christ is raised high before us – ‘behold the Body of Christ – behold Him who takes away the sins of the world!’ This is one reason why I find it more than cringe-worthy when I hear folk-guitar-and-drums music playing as if we are in some sort of party. Don’t we all see that we are at the foot of the Cross? Don’t we know that all those that celebrated at His crucifixion were NOT His followers? Sure, taking time to praise God is necessary and what we do on our own time is our business between the Lord and ourselves but in the Mass – we are there for Him, not ourselves. Take note of our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict 16th as he pointed to the irreverence that has often infiltrated the sacred sacrifice of the Mass.
“Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades quickly – it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation” (Ratzinger, Spirit of the Liturgy)
The virtue of reverence can also take form in other ways other than the Mass. When you pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, one being ‘Fear of the Lord’ – reverence comes naturally. Just as you would show reverence for your parents and their names – if anyone were to attack them or defame them, you should show a zealous loyalty to parents and defend them with all the love you have for them in your heart. How much so for Our Lord Jesus Christ? What about the beloved saints and angels that minister to you? What if Holy Mother Church acted as a beacon of you benefit? What I am saying is we should definitely pray for graces to obtain virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit that increase our faith and reverence for all that is holy but we must also act upon them in private and in public. The virtue of reverence also aids us in watching our tongues as we are often prone to say shameless things that do nothing to edify man. As Jesus told us,
“…there is nothing from without a man that entering into him, can defile him. But the things which come from a man, those are they that defile a man.” Mark 7:15
Misusing God’s name in vain and saying things we ought not are but the least of evils we can commit if we do not show reverence, my brothers. Pray therefore to be gifted with long-suffering love and a deep reverence to Him who loves you dearly. Amen.