Virtue of Hope Part 11 “Soul Institute’ Gift of Spirit Fear of the Lord

Saint Thomas shows how each of the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit are linked to a particular virtue or virtues, and how this leads to one of the Beatitudes. St Thomas is showing us how to grow in virtue. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, “The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong on their fullness to Christ, Son of David. They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines hope this way, “Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of Heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. ‘Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.’ ‘The Holy Spirit…he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.”(1817)

Pope Benedict in his Encyclical ‘Saved in Hope’ writes, ” Faith is the ‘hypostais’ of things hoped for; the proof of things not seen.'(Heb 2:14) For the Fathers and the theologians of the Middle Ages, it was clear that the Greek word hypostasis was to be rendered in Latin with the term substantia…Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the proof of things not seen. We find a kind of definition of faith which closely links this virtue with hope. Saint Thomas Aquinas…explained it as following: faith is a habitus, that is a stable disposition of the spirit, through which eternal life takes root in us and reason is led to consent to what it does not see. The concept of substance is therefore modified in the sense that through faith, in a tentative way, or as we might say ‘in embryo’- and thus according to the substance-there are already present in us the things that are hoped for: the whole true life….Faith is not merely a personal reaching out towards things to come that are still totally absent: it gives us something. It gives us even now something of the reality we are waiting for, and this present reality constitutes for us a ‘proof’ of the things that are unseen. Faith draws the future into the present, so that it is no longer simply a ‘not yet.’ The fact that this future exists changes the present; the present is touched by the future reality,and thus the things of the future spill over into those of the present and those of the present into those of the future.” By faith we believe that God exists. By the virtue of Hope we trust that we will receive everything that God promise us. The virtues of faith and hope are linked together. By the virtues of faith and hope we draw down from Heaven blessing even how. By the virtue of faith and hope in God we obtain miracles even now. As author of Hebrew wrote, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the proof of things not seen.”

Father Jordan Aumann OP in his book, ‘Spiritual Theology’ writes “According to St. Thomas the gift that pertains to the perfection of hope is fear of the Lord…It is necessary to examine the nature of this fear, however, because there are many types of fear and not all of them are gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some of them are not even virtues. Fear can be divided into mundane fear, servile fear, filial fear and initial fear. Mundane fear is that which would not hesitate to offend God in order to avoid some temporal evil. This fear is always evil because it places its end and goal in this world and turns it back upon God. Servile fear is that which serves God and fulfills his divine will because of the punishment what would fall upon us if we did not do so (temporal punishment or the eternal punishment of hell.) This fear, although imperfect, is substantially good, it enables is to avoid sin, and it is directed to God as to its end. Filial fear (also called reverential fear) is that which serves God and fulfills his divine will, fleeing from sin because it is an offense against God and of fear of being separated from Him. This fear, as is evident, is good and perfect. It flees from sin without taking any account of punishment. Ititial fear is that which occupies an intermediate place between the last two types of fear. It flees from sin principally as an offense against God, but there us mixed with this flight a certain fear of punishment. This fear is better than servile fear, but it is not as perfect as filial fear.”

People today think don’t see why we should have any fear of God. Doesn’t the bible tell us perfect love cast out all fear. Perfect love cast out all servile fear, but not filial fear. Servile fear is the fear that a slave has for its master. Filial fear is the holy fear that a son or daughter has for it loving father. The basis of this fear is the fear of wounding or losing our loving relationship with our father in Heaven. Not only is filial fear not opposed to love. You need love to have true filial fear. Here is an example. Imagine a child that has no love for his parents. That is servile fear. Imagine a child that loves his parents. This child has filial fear. They want to do what their parents want not because they have too, but because they want to out of love for their mom and dad.


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