I think out of the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the one I appreciate most is “Wonder and Awe”, or as it’s also unfortunately phrased “Fear of the Lord.” Isn’t that one of our most beautiful callings? To just be in complete awe, totally gobsmacked over God, his creation, his love. It’s like looking out into the immense ocean or the infinite solar system, astonished by their size, their depth, their mysteries, their daunting beauty and their overwhelming vastness.
We see this wonder in the chosen disciples and crowds of people who encounter Jesus in today’s Good News: “Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all.” This kind of sustainable wonder though is challenging.
It’s so much easier to be dumbfounded by staggering injustice, to be stunned by the scope of sexual violence or religious persecution, or left speechless by the environmental calamities in our midst. This is exactly though, where our true work begins.
It’s when the magnitude of this systemic injustice clashes against the overwhelming hope that comes from abiding in a God of mercy and justice that the work of Christianity can be found. We are flabbergasted by the plights that populate our fallen world, but we’re not frozen by it. It’s the wonder and awe we find in God that ignites us in the face of such darkness.
Just read St. Paul’s Letter today and take part in the total awe you can hear in it: “For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity…and you share in this fullness in him, who is the head of every principality and power.”
Where there is true faith and deep trust, where can there be fear? When there is authentic hope, can there be anything but the drive to fill God’s peace into these depths of despair? Look at the International Justice Mission’s battle against human trafficking and slavery; look at the Catholic Climate Covenant’s passionate care for creation; look at the sacrifices and selflessness of Passionist International Volunteers – today look upon them and be filled with wonder. Be filled with deep and gracious awe.