Thought for the Day – 18 September – Filial and Servile Fear

Thought for the Day – 18 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Filial and Servile Fear

“We should not be afraid of God because He is our greatest benefactor and loves us infinitely.
When we are lost, He searches for us as a loving father would search for a wandering son.
Because they think only of the majesty and justice of God, some people keep themselves at a distance from Him, as Adam did, after he had sinned.
They forget that the Lord told Adam, the sinner, of the coming of the pardoning Redeemer (Gen 3:9).
Bossuet truly observes, that “after the curse which came upon men through sin, there has always remained in their hearts, a certain dread of the supernatural, which prevents them from approaching God with confidence.”
Jansenism increased this fear, emphasising the justice and majesty of God, rather, than the infinite love of Jesus and the beauty of His teaching.

Some writers compare our souls with the divine majesty and justice, in order to stress our unworthiness but, they forget, that Jesus is “Meek and humble of heart,” that He forgave the penitent woman, the good thief and the adulteress and, had kind words for the lost sheep and the prodigal son.
They never think of the wonderful words of the beloved disciple: “God is love” (1 Jn 4:16).

This false fear of God, dries up our piety and lessens our trust in His mercy.
It can lead to moroseness, to scrupulosity and to discouragement.

We should avoid this excessive fear which separates us from God.
Even though we are sinful and unworthy, we should remember, that God is our loving Father, Who is always ready to help us and to grant us forgiveness.
We should recall, moreover, that out of love for us, He did not spare His own Son, (Cf Rom 8:32) but gave Him to us for our redemption.
If Jesus shed His blood and died for us, how can we doubt His love?”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci


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