August 1-2: Getting Ready for Mass pt. 2

tremendous (adj.) ca. 1630s, “awful, dreadful, terrible,” from Latin tremendus “fearful, to be dreaded, terrible,” literally “to be trembled at,” gerundive form of tremere “to tremble.” More recently, hyperbolic or intensive sense of “extraordinarily great or good, immense” as attested from 1812

tremble (v.) ca. 1300, “shake from fear, cold, etc.,” from Old French trembler“tremble, fear” (1100), from Vulgar Latin *tremulare(source also of Italian tremolare, Spanish temblar), from Latin tremulus “trembling, shaking, quaking,” from tremere “to tremble, shiver, quake,” from *trem- “to tremble” (source also of Greek tremein “to shiver, tremble, to quake, to fear” 


“Do not be afraid” and “fear not” are the most used phrases in the Scriptures.  Angels say “don’t fear” when they visit Mary or appear to shepherds or visit Zechariah. Prophets say it when they speak in God’s name. “Do not fear, I am with you,” Isaiah tells us. Even the Book of Deuteronomy urges us not to fear “for it is the Lord, your God, who marches with you; He will never fail you or forsake you.” And Jesus frequently cautioned His disciples against fear. “It is I,” He tells the disciples as He walks to them across the water and tells them not to be afraid. With His presence, there is no room for fear.

Nonetheless, the Bible also says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Prov. 9,10). Why would it say that? Because fear in this sense is humility, obedience, love, and deep reverence. “Fear of the Lord” means an awareness, lived-out, that God is God and we are not. That’s the beginning of wisdom, to really know that we’re not God. This is how Pope Francis describes it: “This is ‘the fear of God’: abandonment into the goodness of our Father who loves us so. This is what the Holy Spirit does in our hearts: the Spirit makes us feel like children in the arms of our Father … (with) the wonder and joy of being a child who knows he is served and loved by the Father. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit through whom we are reminded of how small we are before God and God’s love.”

God’s love for us is so tremendous that it inspires and encourages awe in us. For such a gift, thanks be to God!

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