Thursday, June 16, 2005

Although perfect love casts out fear... need a place to start. The following illustrates the place of "fear of God" in the spiritual life, and in the "Great Commission."

The order which God observes in the conversion of souls is the same which He observes in the sanctification of the world, which first received the Ten Commandments and the Old Law and then the Gospel. The world had to experience the rigor of the Law before it could enjoy the peace and consolation of the Gospel. The work of the Law was to instill a fear of God, but the work of the Gospel is to console and encourage. But he who wishes to receive the spirit of love must first experience the fear of the Lord. He who wishes to know the consolation of the Gospel must fist pass through the fear of the Law.

Sometimes God changes this order and draws sinners to Himself with blessings and sweetness, lest they falter under the blows of discouragement and the fear of penance. But after they have been strengthened by the pledges of His mercy, He sends them sorrow and fear, which are later followed by peace and consolation. In other words, first is given the milk of spiritual sweetness and then the tribulation and the bitterness of contrition. When this has been done, the soul receives the pledges of the new love and grace which the Lord sends it as the first-fruits of glory.

It should be noted that this same order which is generally observed to lead the sinner to grace, is generally observed to lead a soul from one grace to another. For when the Lord wishes to lead a soul to higher things, He first prepares the soul with tears, desires, fears, afflictions of spirit, and pains of body. He desires that winter should precede the summer of the flowers and fruits of His graces. And the greater the graces which are to come, the greater the sufferings which precede them. Therefore, one should not become discouraged when he sees himself in this condition; rather, let him take this as a sign of the great mercies which God is preparing to bestow on him.

Ven Louis of Granada, Summa of the Christian Live, Volume 3, Chapter 46, The Conversion of the Sinner

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