Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

fear_of_god

27 Entries

A man who has taken upon himself to travel the path of internal mindfulness must have above all the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom. St Seraphim of Sarov - Spiritual Instructions



Abba John (the Dwarf) said, "Humility and the fear of God are above all virtues." Sr. Benedicta Ward, "The Sayings of the Desert Fathers," (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1975), pp. 89-95

Abba Poemen said, "As the breath which comes out of his nostrils, so does a man need humility and the fear of God. the Desert Father

Die daily, that you might live eternally, for one who fears God will live forever. St. Anthony the Great

Dispassion engenders love, hope in God engenders dispassion, and patience and forbearance engender hope in God; these in turn are the product of complete self-control, which itself springs from fear of God. Fear of God is the result of faith in God. St. Maximos the Confessor(First Century on Love no. 2)

Fear of God is of two kinds. The first is generated in us by the threat of punishment. It is through such fear that we develop in due order self-control, patience, hope in God and dispassion; and it is from dispassion that love comes. The second kind of fear is linked with love and constantly produces reverence in the soul, so that it does not grow indifferent to God because of the intimate communion of its love. "The first kind of fear is expelled by perfect love when the soul has acquired this and is no longer afraid of punishment (cf. I John 4:18). The second kind, as we have already said, is always found united with perfect love. The first kind of fear is referred to in the following two verse: 'Out of fear of the Lord men shun evil' (Prov. 16:6), and 'Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom' (Ps. 111:10). The second kind is mentioned in the following verses: 'Fear of the Lord is pure, and endures forever' (Ps. 19:9. LXX), and 'Those who fear the Lord will not want for anything' (Ps. 34:10. LXX). St. Maximos the Confessor (First Century on Love nos. 81-82)

He who has obtained the fear of the Lord has forsaken lying, having within himself an incorruptible judge – his own conscience. St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent,” (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step 12: On Lying

Holy Scripture says of the midwives who kept alive the Israelites' male children, that through the God-fearing midwives they made themselves houses. Does it mean they made visible houses? How can they say they acquired houses through the fear of God when we do the opposite, and learn in time, through fear of God to give up the houses we have? Evidently this does not refer to visible houses but to the houses of the soul which each one builds by for himself by keeping God's commandments. Through this Holy Scripture teaches us that the fear of God prepares the soul to keep the commandments, and through the commandments the house of the soul is built up. Let us take hold of them, brothers, and let us fear God, and we shall build houses for ourselves where we shall find shelter in winter weather, in the season of storm-cloud, lightning, and rain; for not to have a home in winter-time is a great hardship. St. Dorotheos of Gaza, Discourses and Sayings

If a man wishes to attain to love of God, he must have fear of God. Fear gives birth to mourning, and mourning to courage. When all this has ripened in the soul, it begins to bear fruit in all things. And, seeing these beautiful fruits in the soul, God draws it to Himself, like choice incense, takes joy in it with His Angels for all time, fills it with rejoicing, and protects it in all its ways, to let it reach its place of rest without harm. Then, seeing the Most High Guardian encompassing it, the devil no longer attacks it; indeed he fears to come near it owing to this great power. Obtain this power that the demons may fear you, your labors be light and Divine things a sweet joy. This sweetness of Divine love is far sweeter than honey. Many monks and virgins, living in communities, having had no taste of this Divine sweetness nor received Divine power, have thought that they had it already. But, since they had made no effort to gain it, God did not give it to them. He who strives to obtain it will surely gain it through God's mercy; for God is no respecter of persons. When a man wishes to have in himself the light of God and His power, and so disregards both the abuse and the honors of this world, hates all things of the world and ease of the body, and purifies his heart of all bad thoughts, when he unceasingly brings to God fasting and tears day and night, as well as pure prayers, then God enriches him with that power. Strive to obtain this power - and you will do all your works with calm and ease, will receive a great daring towards God and He will grant all that you ask. St Anthony the Great, "Early Fathers From the Philokalia," by E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer, (London: Faber and Faber, 1954), pp. 45-46

Like the sun's rays passing through a crack and lighting up the house, show up even the finest dust, the fear of the Lord on entering the heart of a man show up all his sins. St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent

No one can love God consciously in his heart unless he has first feared Him with all his heart. Through the action of fear the soul is purified and, as it were, made malleable and so it becomes awakened to the action of love. St. Diadochos of Photiki (On Spiritual Knowledge no. 16)

Only those who fear the Lord and keep His commandments have life with God. But as to those who do not keep His commandments, there is no life in them.... All, therefore, who despise Him and do not follow His commands deliver themselves to death, and each will be guilty of his own blood. But I implore you to obey His commands, and you will have a cure for your former sins. " 125 AD Hermas Shepherd bk. 2, comm. 7; bk. 3, sim. 10, chap. 2)

Q: Pray that I might place a beginning to salvation.

A: The beginning is humility and the fear of God: “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7). And what is the beginning of wisdom, if it is not to remove oneself from everything hateful to God? And how does one remove oneself from this? Do nothing without questioning and counsel; likewise, say nothing unfitting, and at the same time acknowledge oneself to be senseless, unsalted, and degraded, and in general insignificant. “Saints Barsanuphius and John: Guidance Toward Spiritual Life,” trans. by Fr. Seraphim Rose, (Platina, California: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1990)



The Fathers tell us that a man gains possession of the fear of God by keeping the thought of death before his mind and remembering eternal punishment, by examining himself each evening about how he has passed the day and each morning about how he has passed the night; by never giving rein to his tongue and by keeping in close and continual touch with a man possessed of the fear of God, as his spiritual director. St. Dorotheos and Gaza, Discourses & Sayings

The beginning of repentance proceeds from fear of God and heedfulness, as the holy martyr Boniface says (Lives of Saints, Dec. 19): The fear of God is the father of heedfulness, and heedfulness is the mother of inner peace, and the latter gives birth to conscience, which causes the soul to behold its own ugliness as in a certain pure and undisturbed water; and thus are both the beginnings and roots of repentance. Spiritual Instructions of St. Seraphim of Sarov

The fear of the Lord is twofold. The first type is produced in us from threats of punishment, and from it arises in proper order self-control, patience, hope in God, and detachment, from which comes love. The second is coupled with love itself and constantly produces reverence in the soul, lest through the familiarity of love it becomes presumptuous of God. St. Maximus the Confessor, The Four Centuries on Love

The growth of fear is the beginning of love, but a complete state of purity is the foundation of theology. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step30: Concerning the Linking Together of the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues

The prophet Jeremiah, speaking in the place of God, tells us that from above there comes the very fear of God by which we may cling to Him. `I shall give them one heart and one way so that they may fear me during all their days, so that all will be well for them and for their sons after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them and I shall not cease to do good things for them and, as a gift, I shall put fear of Me in their hearts so that they may never go away from Me' (Jer. 32:39-40). Ezekiel speaks in similar terms: `And I shall give them a single heart and and I will put a new spirit in them and I will remove the strong heart from their bodies and I will give them a heart of flesh instead. And I shall do this so that they may walk as I command and respect my decisions and carry them out. Then they shall be my people and I shall be their God' (Ez. 11:19-20). St. John Cassian, Conferences

The prophet Jeremiah, speaking in the place of God, tells us that from above there comes the very fear of God by which we may cling to Him. `I shall give them one heart and one way so that they may fear me during all their days, so that all will be well for them and for their sons after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them and I shall not cease to do good things for them and, as a gift, I shall put fear of Me in their hearts so that they may never go away from Me' (Jer. 32:39-40). and and I will put a new spirit in them and I will remove the strong heart from their bodies and I will give them a heart of flesh instead. And I shall do this so that they may walk as I command and respect my decisions and carry them out. Then they shall be my people and I shall be their God' (Ez. 11:19-20). St. John Cassian, Conferences

The spirit of the fear of God is abstention from evil deeds. St. Maximos the Confessor(Third Century of Various Texts no. 39)

There is a humility that comes from the fear of God, and there is a humility that comes from the fervent love of God. One man is humbled because of his fear of God, another is humbled because of his joy. The man humbled from fear of God is possessed of modesty in his members, a right ordering of his senses, and a heart contrite at all times. But the man humbled because of joy is possessed of great exuberance and an open and insuppressible heart. The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac of Syria.

When a man walks in the fear of God he knows no fear, even if he were to be surrounded by wicked men. He has the fear of God within him and wears the invincible armor of faith. This makes him strong and able to take on anything, even things which seem difficult or impossible to most people. Such a man is like a giant surrounded by monkeys, or a roaring lion among dogs and foxes. He goes forward trusting in the Lord and the constancy of his will to strike and paralyze his foes. He wields the blazing club of the Word in wisdom. St. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters

With pain and tears you will receive grace, and again with tears and joy and thanksgiving, with fear of God you will keep it. With zeal it is drawn. With coldness and negligence it is lost. Elder Joseph the Hagiorite (+1959)

"Beholding the undreamed-of richness of God's gifts, an obedient man is filled with fear and amazement both at God's almightiness and his own sin. He would then want to hide from God, that God should depart from him and he himself return to his old spirit and his old life. But as soon as God's splendor and His mercy are revealed to a man, his own sinfulness, unworthiness and long estrangement from God are instantly revealed to him." St. Nikolai Velimirovich.

138. Acts of kindness and generosity are spoilt by self-esteem, meanness and pleasure, unless these have first been destroyed by fear of God. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779

205. The fear of God compels us to fight against evil; and when we fight against evil, the grace of God destroys it. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779

219. Fear of God and reproof induce remorse; hardship and vigils make us intimate with suffering. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779





Redeeming the Time

↑ Grab this Headline Animator





We confidently recommend our web service provider, Orthodox Internet Services: excellent personal customer service, a fast and reliable server, excellent spam filtering, and an easy to use comprehensive control panel.

St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas