After receiving the Holy Spirit through the Sacrament of Baptism, the Holy Spirit endows a man with The 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit, gifts which a Catholic man who remains in a state of grace may receive throughout his life on his path to Sainthood. 

The Gift of the Fear of the Lord is the starting point of the spiritual life of a man, as famously noted in the Psalms: “…the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom” (Ps 111:10), because it helps a man continually make the firm decision to repent, to turn away from sin and to turn towards God, so that he might be saved. Building off of the just and prudent Fear of Punishment by God,  The Gift of the Fear of the Lord sustains a man on the path to Sainthood and opens him up to be able to receive all the other Gifts of the Holy Spirit which are necessary to build the Virtues of a Saint needed for being accepted by God into Heaven. 

It is essential for a Catholic man to have a just and prudent Fear of Punishment by God

The fear of punishment by God

The fear of punishment by God for a man’s sins is not the Gift of the Fear of the Lord, for the Holy Spirit seeks to instill a profound and deep love for God, not a fear of God. 

Nevertheless, the fear of punishment and the eternal death of Hell for those who die in unrepentant mortal sin is absolutely critical in the faith life of a Catholic man on the path to Sainthood because fear of death is a powerful motivator for men. 

Jesus repeatedly warns of the awful punishment of sinners

As a Person of the Trinity, Jesus created men, Heaven and Hell, and has a perfect knowledge of how to best motivate men to grow in holiness, including the need to instill a visceral fear of punishment. 

In dozens of passages of the Gospel, Jesus warns men of the reality of the Judgment and Hell (Mt 5:22, 29-30, 10:28, 11:23, 23:15, 33; Mk 9:43, 45, 47; Lk 10:15, 12:5).

Jesus confirms that those who are sentenced in the Judgment to Hell experience eternal torment (Mt 7:13, 19, 13:42, 50, 22:13, 25:30, 41; Mk 9:44, 46, 48; Lk 5:29, Jn 15:6).

The Lord will punish guilty sinners in the Judgment

Consistent with the teachings of Christ, a central dogma of the Catholic Church, found in the Creed, is that Jesus “…will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead…” 

The Catechism provides a summary of the truth that every man will be judged and those who die in mortal sin will be sent to the eternal punishment of Hell (CCC 1020-1022, 1033-1037). 

Indeed, a man is reminded of the need to fear punishment in a standard act of Contrition in the Sacrament of Penance, when he says, “…I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell…”

A prudent Catholic man maintains a prudent fear of eternal punishment

Every prudent and faithful Catholic man must honor and heed the warnings of Jesus and fear the eternal punishment of Hell. 

God created men to be naturally motivated to avoid pain and seek pleasure, and the fear of punishment motivates a man to reject sin and seek righteousness. 

A healthy fear of Hell protects a man from the prevalent modern lie that every one goes to Heaven and the sin of Presumption by which he judges himself to be worthy of Heaven and/or that God will overlook his unrepentant sin.  

The Gift of the Fear of the Lord helps a man hate Sin and build Virtue

Awakens a Catholic man to recognize his many Sins

The Gift of the Fear of the Lord can supernaturally: 

  • Help a Catholic man become more aware and sensitive to his personal sins which he tries to hide (pornography, addiction to the internet or gaming, etc.) and other types of sins which are more obvious to others (e.g. substance abuse, obesity, anger, laziness, gambling, etc.). 
  • Guide a Catholic man to recognize and feel guilt about his failures to fully carry out his duties to his family, his wife, children, neighbors or employer; he may also begin to be more aware of his failures to keep his commitments to God and the Catholic faith. 

Helps a Catholic man to realize his pain is caused by his sins

The Gift of the Fear of the Lord can supernaturally:

  • Awaken a Catholic man to the absence of peace and joy in his life and the truth that all of his worldly pursuits and the absence of God has led to his sadness, anxiety, loneliness, exhaustion, emptiness and stress. 
  • Help a Catholic man realize that he has become enslaved to numerous sins which he thought were pleasurable but that have now become Vices which he can no longer control. 
  • Reveal to a Catholic man that his sinful attitudes and behaviors are damaging his relationships with his wife, his children, family and friends. 

Helps a Catholic man to know that his sins separate him from God

The Gift of the Fear of the Lord can supernaturally:

  • Reveal to a Catholic man that God is real and lead him to begin to think of God more and more, sometimes in subtle ways, but often with an astounding certainty as God makes His presence known to a man through the Holy Spirit. 
  • Convince a Catholic man that God personally loves him with such boundless mercy that the Son of God willingly accepts the agony of the Passion to die on the Cross (Jn 3:16); the Spirit reveals to the man that Jesus dies on the Cross so he can be saved from the eternal suffering of Hell and be received into the eternal joy of Heaven. 
  • Lead a Catholic man to realize that the reason behind the Passion of Jesus Christ is that men’s sins lead to eternal death and the truth that God hates and condemns sin.
  • Reveal to a Catholic man that his unrepentant sins separate him from the love and salvation of God, in this life and in the life to come; the Holy Spirit can also lead a man to consider and receive supernatural insight into the horrors of Hell, confirming the terrifying eternal suffering of those who remain attached to deadly sin.  

Helps a Catholic man reject Sin and seek Virtue

The Gift of the Fear of the Lord can supernaturally: 

  • Inform the conscience of a receptive Catholic man so he becomes more aware of  his sins and consider the painful consequences of his sins, leading him to experience guilt and shame for his sinful failures and remorse and contrition for his sins. 
  • Cause a Catholic man to be increasingly disgusted, angered and repulsed by his sins because they reveal his weakness, his ingratitude, rebellion and betrayal of God, and his cooperation with Satan; he may also feel ashamed of failing to live up to the promises he made in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. 
  • Guide a Catholic man to stop making excuses or blaming others for his sins and take firm responsibility for his freely chosen decisions to sin by his thoughts, words and actions; he may also be reminded more and more that he will stand alone and be held to account for his sins at his Judgment at the end of his life. 
  • Spur a repentant Catholic man to fervently desire to break his enslavement to sin and vice, firmly resolve to stop sinning, take deliberate actions to avoid specific sins which have tormented him, and to strive to grow in virtue; the repentant man may not yet have the aspirations of Sainthood, and has not yet received the other Gifts of the Spirit necessary for Sainthood, he does truly desire to be a better and more holy man. Despite his resolutions, he remains vulnerable to sin, cannot battle sin on his own and, will continue to stumble and fall back into various sins. 
  • Awaken a Catholic man to the reality that he is being constantly being tempted to sin against God and begin recognize that that vast numbers of people, companies and the government are actively promoting evil which opposes God and that the culture he finds himself in is evil; he may be led by the Spirit to begin to realize that ultimately Satan, and Satan’s demons, are active in the culture and deliberately seeking to personally tempt him. 

The Gift of the Fear of the Lord helps a man to love God and grow in Hope

Protects a Catholic man of sins against Hope

The Gift of the Fear of the Lord can supernaturally: 

  • Protect a Catholic man from the sin of Despair which is caused by false beliefs that he can’t overcome sin, that God only wants to punish him or that his sins are so grave that God will not forgive him.  
  • Protect a Catholic man from the sin of Presumption which is caused by a lack of fear of punishment by God or the delusion that God will forgive mortal sins which the man enjoys and from which he refuses to repent. The sin of Presumption often results from the false modern idea that a man can self-designate himself to be an intimate friend of God, a serious and dangerous modern presumption which limits man’s awe of God and reduces a man’s fear of the consequences of mortal sin. The Spirit can lead a man to be filled with such awe of God that he realizes the false idea of being close “friends” with God is not consistent with God’s Divinity: 
    • God is known as the Almighty Father, Lord, King, Judge, Master; 
    • Jesus’ many references to His followers being disciples and slaves; before Jesus every knee should bow (Phil 2:10);
    • The saints and angels themselves tremble before the infinite majesty of God (Ps 89:7; Rev 11:16-18, 19:4-5); 
    • Jesus never calls God the “Father” His “friend” and always remains consistently obedient to the will of the Father and never refers to St. Joseph as His “friend”; by this, Jesus perfectly keeps the 4th Commandment (“Honor thy father…). 
    • While Jesus calls the 12 Apostles His “friends” a single time at the Last Supper, it is a special encouragement, for every one of the Apostles had given up everything for Him and He knows they will be martyred and persecuted for Him; in response, not one of the New Testament authors ever claim to be friends with Jesus, for they are awed by His Divinity. 

Builds a Catholic man’s awareness of his Spiritual poverty

The Gift of the Fear of the Lord can supernaturally:

  • Lead a Catholic man to grow in awe of God’s infinite wisdom, power and goodness by building off things that impress a man; the almost infinite vastness of Creation; the mind-boggling span of time and man’s relatively short life; the complexity of nature; the astounding wisdom of Jesus; the miracles of Jesus; the mysterious and magnificent work of God in Salvation History; God’s kindness to the man in his life, etc. 
  • Reveal to a Catholic man his own Spiritual Poverty, the recognition of the infinite gap between the Divinity of God and man’s smallness and sinfulness, leading a man to realize his desperate need for God to save him; Jesus himself offers the revelation about the essential need for Spiritual Poverty in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt 5:3).

Helps a Catholic man grow in Love for God and Hope in God 

The Gift of the Fear of the Lord can supernaturally: 

  • Reveal to a Catholic man that God’s infinite mercy and love for not only mankind, but him personally by showing him the how God’s many blessings that are showered down upon the him in daily life; as he recognizes God’s love, the man is moved by the Spirit to love God in return, first in small ways and ultimately to love the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mk 12:30). 
  • Lead a Catholic man to recognize God as a loving and Almighty Father, not a distant and ambiguous Divinity; in time, a man comes to come to realize he is an adopted son of the Father who loved each man first (Rom 5:8; 1 Jn 4:19) and is filled with a growing desire to honor and hallow the Father with divine reverence. 
  • Persuades a Catholic man to move from despair, fear and anxiety, and to rationally understand that because God loves perfectly, is all powerful and all knowing, that a man can and should place his trust in Him; the Spirit supernaturally takes a man from simply a rational argument for hoping in God to an unbending Hope in God that remains firm even when great trials and tragedies arise in his life. 

Leads a Catholic man to zealously seek to never offend God

The Gift of the Fear of the Lord can supernaturally: 

  • Lead a Catholic man from the fear the punishment by God to the fear of being separate from God due to sin; while it is good for every Catholic man to retain a fear of punishment for sin and the horrors of Hell, the Spirit helps a man recognize and experience God’s overwhelming love for him, strengthens the man’s gratitude and love for God, and fills him with the desire to never be separated from Him. Gradually, a man’s infatuation with things of the world fades and his love of God becomes his predominate focus.
  • Motivate a Catholic man to strive to never offend God by committing mortal sins, which necessarily separate him from God; though early in his spiritual life a man will have many failures, God is gracious and welcomes back the repentant Catholic man through the Sacrament of Penance and helps him grow ever-stronger through the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in the battle against sin.