Medical Oversight Committee Agenda--April 29, 2005

Part XI of 12 Part Series


The “Holy” Fear of the Lord

(Compiled by Michael T. Sullivan, MD)



“But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,

and from His roots a bud shall blossom. 

The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,

 a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,

a Spirit of counsel and of strength,

a Spirit of knowledge and of ‘fear of the Lord,’

and His delight shall be the fear of the Lord.” 

(Is 11: 1-3)


Webster’s Dictionary defines the noun “gift” as something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation.  The Catholic Dictionary defines the “Gifts of the Holy Spirit” as seven forms of supernatural initiative conferred with the reception of sanctifying grace.  They are in the nature of supernatural reflexes, or reactive instincts, that spontaneously answer to the Divine impulses of grace almost without reflection, but always with full consent.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines them as permanent dispositions which make man docile in following the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  (CCC, 1830)  The seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and the holy” fear of the Lord.


Over the last 10 sections in this FEAR document, “fear” has most often been defined as an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger, accompanied by increased autonomic activity (increased heart rate, blood pressure and sweating).  “Anxiety” is defined by an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by the same physiological signs, by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.  However, “fear” in the most general term as used in the English vernacular, and so often in the multitude of mystical gifts from God the Father, Our Lord Jesus Christ and Our Lady of Emmitsburg through Gianna Sullivan, most often implies anxiety and usually loss of courage.  The moral evaluation of anxiety begins with the exercise of prudence, to discover if there are valid grounds for the apprehension.  If there are not, to act on the anxiety or fail to act because of it would be a lack of trusting God’s Providence.


Now we will shift from the negative aspects of “fear,” an emotional response that very often leads one away from God’s Will, to the positive aspects of a “holy” fear of the Lord, which would lead one toward union with the Divine Will.


In a concise and clear discussion of the “Gifts of the Holy Spirit,” Fr. William Saunders of Christendom College wrote this concerning the gift of the Fear of the Lord, quoting from Pope St. Gregory the Great (Homiliae in Hiezechihelem Prophetam, II 7,7):


“The Gift of Fear of the Lord enables the person to ‘avoid sin and attachment to created things out of reverence and love of God.’  Primarily, this gift entails a profound respect for the majesty of God Who is the Supreme Being.  Here, a person realizes his ‘creatureliness’ and dependency upon God, and never would want to be separated from this loving God.  This Gift of Fear arouses in the soul a vibrant sense of adoration and reverence for the majesty of God and a sense of horror and sorrow for sin….The Gift of Fear brings to perfection primarily the virtue of hope:  a person respects God as God, trusting in His Will and anchoring his life on Him.  Moreover, he wants to be joined with God, forever in Heaven….This gift also perfects the virtue of temperance, which seeks to use things wisely and in moderation, not to excess….With reason enlightened by faith, temperance controls the passions…because one’s awareness and respect for the sanctity of God motivates a person as a creature to give glory to God by being temperate in actions and desires….With the Gift of Fear, the person rises to the Gift of Piety: ‘to give filial worship to God precisely as our Father and to relate with all people as children of the same Father.’”


(Saunders, Rev. William, “Gifts of the Holy Spirit,” Arlington Catholic Herald)

Part XI


24. The Holy Fear of the Lord


During the Old Testament times, God revealed Himself  to Adam and Eve, to Noah, and to Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, to Moses, to all the prophets and to the chosen people as the “Lord,” “Yahweh,” “I Am,” and was not referred to as the Triune God—Father, Son & Holy Spirit.  Throughout the Old Testament there are many references to the “Fear of the Lord,” demonstrating an appreciation for the good that comes with this type of fear:


“And now let the fear of the Lord be upon you. 

Act carefully, for with the Lord, our God,

there is no injustice, no partiality, no bribe-taking…

You shall act faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the Lord.”

(2 Chr 19-7, 9)


“Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;

and to depart from evil, is understanding.”  

(Job 28:28)


“The fear of the Lord is holy, enduring for ever and ever;

the judgments of the Lord are true, justified in themselves.” 

(Ps 18:10)


“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, 

Prudent are all who live by it.” 

(Ps 111:10)


“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. 

And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” 

(Proverbs 9:10)


“In The fear of the Lord is a strong defense;

even for one’s children he will be a refuge. 

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,

that many may avoid the snares of death.”

(Proverbs 14: 26-27)


“The fruit of humility is the fear of the Lord,

riches and glory and life.” 

(Proverbs 22:4)



“The fear of the Lord is honor and glory, gladness and a crown of joy….

The fear of the Lord shall delight the heart

and shall give joy, gladness and length of days….

The fear of the Lord is religiousness of knowledge….

The fear of the Lord is a crown of wisdom,

filling up peace and the fruit of salvation.”

(Sir 1:11-12, 17, 22)


“There is no want in the fear of the Lord,

and it needeth not to seek for help….

The fear of the Lord is like a paradise of blessing,

and they have covered it above all glory.”

(Sir 49:27-28)


“And there shall be faith in thy times,

riches of salvation, wisdom and knowledge;

the fear of the Lord is his treasure.”

(Is 33:6)


The Old Testament writers also had an appreciation of the consequences that might occur when the fear of the Lord was lacking:


“The fear of the Lord shall prolong days,

and the years of the wicked shall be shortened.” 

(Proverbs 10: 27)


“The fear of the Lord driveth out sin….

Be not incredulous to the fear of the Lord,

and come not to him with a double heart….

And he shall be a disgrace with all men,

because they understood not the fear of the Lord….

Unless thou hold thyself diligently in the fear of the Lord,

thy house shall quickly be overthrown.”

(Sir 1:27, 36; 23:31; 27:4)


(These Old Testament English translations from Douay-Rheims Bible)


In her Messages to the world through Gianna Talone Sullivan, Our Lady of Emmitsburg is very candid about this Gift of the Holy Spirit:



“You should have only one fear,

and that is a ‘holy’ fear of God Himself.”

(Public OLOE, Oct. 2, 2005)


But Who is this “Lord” about Whom and with Whom the Old Testament prophets as well as Our Lady have spoken?  In His Lessons to the world, Our Lord Jesus Christ shares His own sentiments about the Father, the “Lord” of the Old Testament:



“Seek the quiet intimacy of truth and joy through contemplation and prayer of thanksgiving to your Father.  He is good, as I am good because of Him.  Because of Him, I am!  Those who live in the Truth of the Word, in love of Him, need never fear, because they are forever safe in Him….Peace lives in the Truth of His Word.  Peace lives in Him….I am the Word because of Him Who sent Me.  Blessed be My Father….Blessed be My Spirit, the Holy Spirit given to you because of Me….My Father is Peace, and He has given Me to you.  Be not afraid, but take courage and know that I am alive.  I dwell amongst you!”  (JOM, Vol IV, #25, July 7, 1992)


“Come to God the Father.  His works are awesome and great.  Everything is given to you as a gift from Him….He gives life and death.  He brings healing to many and He inflicts injury on many.  He decrees what is necessary to bring the soul to perfection in His Love….He is Light without falsehood.  In the Truth of His Love He confounds the devil and destroys his lie so His people can follow the path to His gates of Heaven.” (JOM, Vol V, #9, March 20, 1995)


The Catholic Dictionary defines “wisdom” as the first and highest of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, whereby the soul becomes responsive to God in the contemplation of divine things.  Wisdom penetrates the very Truth itself, seeing things as God sees them. Our Lord continues in His Lessons as He shares the relationship between wisdom and the “holy” fear of the Lord:


“Wisdom comes through loving and simplicity.  Wisdom penetrates the heart in the silence of prayer.  Those who fear God in all humility have received the first grace of wisdom, for God is all-powerful and all-knowing.  Those who are reverent are also wise.  Wisdom leads to knowledge of His Love and comfort in His intimate protection.  Those who do not believe God exists have no fear of Him….True knowledge in God sustains a holy fear of Him because what is realized is the little amount of knowledge one has compared to Him.  Those who do not believe God exists believe they are all-knowing and righteous.  They become calloused and arrogant instead of humble and meek.  They become weak, yet they think they have gained power….


“…My Father has so much to give. His Love is endless….Those who seek God’s Mercy are humble, and they enter the gateway to wisdom and holiness.  To seek his Mercy is to have a ‘holy’ fear….My Father has so much to give to His little children who desire to be dependent on Him and trust Him…. He is good and gives all that is good.  He gives life.  He has given the greatest Gift of Me to all.” (JOM, Vol V, #19, Sept. 12, 1995) 


“But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. 

For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.

 But if I go, I will send Him to you. 

And when He comes, He will convict the world

in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation.” 

(Jn 16:7-8)


And following the Father’s gift of His Son to humanity, Our Lady of Emmitsburg in her Messages to the world points out on the Feast of Pentecost, 2009, the next most precious gift from God:


“Little ones, The Gift of the Holy Spirit is the (next) most precious and important Gift from God, because it is God Himself.  Without the Holy Spirit, you would have no Wisdom, Understanding or Knowledge, no Counsel and Piety.  You would not have the Fear of God.  All the Gifts of the Holy Spirit would not be given to you.  God is among you and with you and in you, and this is a great Gift indeed!  You can have the courage and Fortitude to move fearlessly to do what God has asked you to do….”


“…Everything seemed to be lost without the Holy Spirit.  The Apostles were confused and frightened.  Then when God breathed upon the Gift, all was made new; and today it is still once again made new!”  (Private OLOE, May 30, 2009, Pentecost)  The greatest gift to receive from my Son is the Gift of the Holy Spirit!...He is with you now, at all times, forever, without end.  How wonderful, how glorious, how blessed are you, and welcomed to know, to love, to breathe and to live life in God.”  (Public OLOE, May 11, 2008)


Well known for her mystical “Dialog” with the Eternal Father, St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) in her Letters describes this gift of the fear of the Lord in terms of a relationship between a father and his child:


“After our soul has risen up in fear, aware that we are servants and that we cannot hide from His sight, we begin to pull our disordered affection and love away from the world and reorder it in conformity with our Master’s Will….When our soul has been drawn by fear, we run on vigilantly, getting rid of every fault and sin.  This kind of love acts just like a domestic servant who is hired to clean out dirty jugs.  But once our soul has become a child, that is, once we are living in perfect charity, we behave like a true child who tenderly loves his or her father.  A child loves a father not with a mercenary love, that is, for any advantage to be had from him.  Nor does a child fear to offend a father for dread of punishment, but only for the father’s goodness and for the father’s loving gift of His own nature.  So it is nature and the power of love that compels a true child to love and serve a father….


“…Such should be our love for our Heavenly Father:  love Him not in view of any advantage you may get from Him, nor for fear of the suffering He might make you bear, but only because He is supreme and just and eternally good, and for His infinite goodness He deserves to be loved.  Nothing else deserves to be loved except in God; but to love all creatures in Him and for Him is to love the Father.” (Letters of St. Catherine of Siena, Vol. 1)



Early in her Messages to the world, Our Lady of Emmitsburg urged her children to pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, not just that they be given by God (for many in the Sacrament of Baptism and for some in the Sacrament of Confirmation), but that they be nourished and cultivated so as to produce virtue and holiness in each of us and that their fruits may then overflow to those around us, even to our enemies:


“I urge you to pray like you have never prayed before.  Pray and ask the Holy Spirit for counsel, understanding, fear of God, fortitude, piety, wisdom and knowledge of His Truth.”  (Public OLOE, May 19, 1994)  Maintaining a holy fear of God’s judgment allows you to see yourself as you are; but always to let hope and love overcome your fear….He wants you to see Him as He is.  But God can only love.  Anger and hatred cannot come from Him, for He is Love and can only love.  Nor does anger or hatred harm God.” (Public OLOE, Jan. 5, 1995)  It is wise to have a holy fear of God, but unwise to avoid Him because you are afraid of Him or what He might ask of you.”  (Public OLOE, June 10, 1999)


However, Our Lady is saddened by the misplaced fear in so many of her children.  As a result of that human fear, so much is lost and so many souls are put at risk:


“My sadness comes because so very few of my children have responded.  So many of them are afraid of what is real and what is not.  Yet, they are not afraid of themselves.  The more they think they know, the more they don’t.  Fear should never be directed towards God, except for the fear of God Himself because of mankind’s lack of humility.  However, their fear results from what each of them places on one another, without the Truth of Our Lord and Savior.  So this feast day (the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ) again grants all of humanity a chance to know the Truth and to know where salvation rests.  For the turmoil to come is not what God is giving as much as that for which humanity is asking.”  (Private OLOE, June 22, 2003) 


Our Lady has continued throughout the years to express the seriousness of her mission and of the times in which we live:


“I wanted all the children of the world to know that this is not a game!...It is so necessary that you respond and come to my Son.  If you are afraid to know Him, then come to me; and I will reveal to you the most beautiful, intimate and loving ways of your Savior; and you will never again be afraid.  The only fear you should have is the fear of not living in His Divine Will and with Him in eternity.”  (Private OLOE, Oct. 12, 2005)  I your Mother am a role model for each of you, for you are all my children, bringing you closer to my Son and also teaching you to grow in love and dignity, in respect for others, and in a holy fear of God.”  (Private OLOE, Feb. 5, 2006)


As human beings, we all have that natural human tendency to fear many of the possibilities which life can deal us, including the sorrow and pain.  Our Lady as always encourages her children:


“Never have fear of life or sorrow or pain, but have a holy fear of God that you would not give all of yourself to Him in response to His desire.  The Spirit and the virtues are upon you.  Cultivate them; and use them most wisely with prudence, with joy, with vision and with childlike filial dependence.”  (Public OLOE, June 1, 2008)  As ambassadors of Light, as apostles and disciples of my Son, you must be bold and brave; and you must have the courage, the compassion and the Love to move forward valiantly, confidently and with all humility.  With the fear of God in your hearts, you shall win the battle with me at your side.  It shall be my Son Who leads you and wins alongside you.  You are His friends, and his favor rests upon you….The unveiling of my Son’s Divine Mercy has commenced.  Whether people want me here or not, this is the Center of my Immaculate Heart and this is where my Son is.  Humanity cannot change the Truth, because the Truth is in the Word.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word is here!”  (Private OLOE, Aug. 23, 2003)  This is a good time because spiritually you have an opportunity to know God or to hear about Him from afar.  You can receive, or you can contemplate what could be given to you.  You can grasp the Hand of Truth.  Even though you know you have to do your work, you have to challenge yourself to be pure of heart and to have a holy fear of God; or you can wait.”  (Private OLOE, July 16, 2008)


Unfortunately, too many people choose to wait.  Our Lord, however, promises what will happen as each of us pursues that filial relationship with the Father through a “holy” fear of the Lord:



“No matter how busy your schedule is daily, I can comfort you.  Only ask Me to orchestrate your time, and you will be given the time to rest in My Love in prayer and solitude….I will lead you to conversion of heart through praying for forgiveness and purity of heart.  You will love your enemies and persecutors and seek the Kingdom above all else.  You will learn to pray in faith, for I will guide you.  You will knock, and I, being the Door, will open to you the Way.  Your heart will be disposed to do the Will of My Father, for you will be bonded to Him in filial love.   This filial bond of love with the Father is a communion with Him.  Nothing happens to you in life unless My Father wills it so….His judgment does not lack in what is advantageous for you.  Even misfortunes have a useful purpose….It is My hope that all will practice filial submission to Divine Providence.  This allows you to rest in My Father’s arms as a child rests in its mother’s arms….All who abide in the Word abide in Me and abide in Love.  Those who abide in Me abide in My Father in a filial boldness.”  (JOM, Vol V, #29, Nov. 9, 1995)


“Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.”

(Mt 6:9)


In spite of all that God has given to the children of humanity, it appears to remain so difficult for so many to view Our Almighty Creator as a loving father, “ABBA.”  In His own “Words” to the world, Our Heavenly Father pleads His own case:


“I love you….As the God of your fathers and forefathers, I am your God of Light, always there to be by you to protect you and to intervene.  I am a good, loving Father; and yet, so many are afraid to come to Me.”  (GTF, June 8, 2008)  “They have no idea how gracious a ‘father’ is:  his love, his perseverance, his patience, his endurance, his fortitude, his own fear of God, his piety and his righteousness.  A father is one who gives at all times, at every moment, unconditionally and without exception…. 


“….Time is moving forward, and so few seem to pay attention to My great Love for all.  When the time comes where there is chaos and hardships, how can you run to a Father looking for advice if you have not listened or put into practice the advice I have given before?  You will be filled with yourself; and if you are filled with the ‘self’ knowledge, and the distance from your mind to your heart is great, then how will you hear the quiet words, the few I will give, of instruction to help you?....For the negligence is not on the part of your Father, but rather in your lack of response.”  (GTF, July 8, 2008)


 “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!”

(Lk 1:28)


But as a loving Father, having first given us Life, and then His only begotten Son for our salvation and redemption, and His Holy Spirit for our sanctification, He did not stop there.  In His Divine Providence He chose to give us His daughter Mary, the Blessed Mother of His Son, and the Immaculate Spouse of His Spirit.  He has given this gift to all of His children, and to His Church, to her Church, to our Church.  Why has she so often been rejected or been given superficial lip service?  Why has Mother Church seemingly so often squelched the efforts of the Eternal Father to share this very special gift of His daughter Mary with her Church and her children through so many charismatic gifts given freely throughout the world in this very precarious time in salvation history?  Is it any wonder that so many Christians are confused and indifferent about their faith, considering the mixed signals they have received from their shepherds?  Of this “gift” God the Father in His “Words” to the world has said:


“Truly there is a lack of wisdom and a lack of humility on your part for not being able to see, with the eyes of the heart, the gift that has been handed to you.  Here you have the treasure of My Son’s Mother who pleads your cause on your behalf, determined that all might be brought safely to eternal rest.” (GTF, Jan. 8, 2006)  “Without this tremendous gift of your Mother, you would be nothing!  Here she is, gathering her children continually, pleading on your behalf, and prodding for change.  Who could move the Throne of God if not her, who is so pure, so obedient and humble, so gentle and meek, and so filled with the virtue of knowledge as to be called the ‘Seat of Wisdom’?...She is a gift and you are wasting precious moments with her.  How sad the time when you are revealed the Truth.” (GTF, May 8, 2007)  “Come and know that now, more than ever before, there is much to gain in life, protection and the virtues of Love through my Son and through the spouse of the Holy Spirit, whom the Blessed Trinity has allowed to come.”  (GTF, Aug. 8, 2008)  “The gift of life is given to you for all eternity by means of the woman whose ‘fiat,’ sorrow, and suffering are greater than what the mind can comprehend.  United to God through her Son, she is inseparable in suffering from Him Who redeemed the world.  She, who in silence gave to the world, is your hope; and He is your salvation.”  (GTF, Oct. 8, 2008)



In closing, God the Father Himself warns us how easy it might be to become blinded by our own self-righteousness and thus be lacking in the fear of the Lord at the very time each of us most needs it:


“How wonderful it is that so many of you pray!  However, if at this very moment you see yourself as one of the elect, perhaps you should look within yourself and see your own self-righteousness.  See that it is better to have the fear of God than to be so secure in your dwelling place.  For if you are so sure that you are safe, perhaps you should look closer at your own sin, and then you may gain the fear of God.”  (GTF, Sept. 8, 2006)



“Fear God and give Him glory, for His time has come to sit in judgment.

Worship him who made heaven and earth and sea and springs of water.”

(Rev 14:7)


The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are not new.  God’s Divine Presence in His Church is not new.  The graces of the sacramental life are not new.  The Word of God in Sacred Scripture and Tradition is not new.  However, what is new—more than the ever present reality that each soul could at any moment have to face its Maker through a natural death—is a sense of urgency and imminence that all of humanity may soon have to face its Maker in a way unlike ever experienced before, and not necessarily accompanied by a natural death—the prophesied warning, illumination of the soul, the enlightenment of the conscience on a worldwide scale.


“I do not desire the world to be divided or for my children to become stranded.  No one should stray away from the Truth.  But so many forget what it means to be a ‘child of God,’ seeking Counsel and Knowledge and Understanding, and the awesomeness of Fear, so as to know how wonderful your Father really is.  The Piety of children is a great gift, one for all ages to understand and to trust, to have such confidence that all you desire and pray for will be fulfilled because you know a Father of Love will never leave you….


…Come and realize and grasp this wonderful Understanding and receive these Gifts of the Holy Spirit sent to enlighten and to give you tremendous Wisdom, good Counsel and Fortitude….

You will need these to discern in the future

when you cannot do anything without Me!” 

(GTF, June 8, 2007)




I turned every way, but there was no one to help me. 

I looked for one to sustain me, but could find no one. 

But then I remembered the mercies of the Lord, His kindness through ages past;

For He saves those who take refuge in him and rescues them from every evil. 

So I raised my voice from the very earth, from the gates of the nether world, my cry.

 I called out:  ‘O Lord, you are my father, you are my champion and my savior.

Do not abandon me in time of trouble, in the midst of storm and dangers. 

I will ever praise your name and be constant in my prayers to you.’ 

Thereupon, the Lord heard my voice; He listened to my appeal;

He saved me from evil of every kind and preserved me in time of trouble.

 For this reason I thank Him and I praise Him; I bless the Name of the Lord.” 

(Sir 51:7-12)



"Foolish the nation whose God is not their Lord!”

(Private OLOE, Jan. 4, 2010)


“What a foolish nation that would not prepare!"

(Private OLOE, Jan. 6, 2010)