Daily Riches: Fearing God, Loving God (Thomas Merton, Evagrios of Pontos and Scott Cairns)

“If you come to know your own measure, you will taste a sweeter sorrow, and will say, as Isaiah said, I am a miserable wretch. You know you are impure, your very lips have been defiled, and you stand among a horde of scheming rebel ingrates. And yet, you dare to stand before the God of the righteous.” Evagrios of Pontos

“Fear [what the Fathers called ‘holy fear’] is the knowledge of ourselves in the presence of God’s holiness. It is the knowledge of ourselves in His love, and it sees how far we are from being what His love would have us be. It knows Who He is and who we are! But fear that is holy cannot fear love. It fears the discrepancy between itself and love, and flies to hide itself in the abyss of light which is God’s love and His perfection.” Thomas Merton

“When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.’ Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.’ The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.” Exodus 20:18-21

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you manage to “fear God” and yet “not be afraid of God?” (Exodus 20)
  • Does “fear of God” work in your life to discourage you from sinning?
  • Have you seen clearly “how far” you are from being what God’s love would have you be?
  • When you sense that great distance, can you fly to hide yourself in “the light which is God’s love?”

Abba, work in me a proper, sanctifying fear of rebellion, of degradation, of alienation from you – and draw me, welcome me and shelter me in your love.

For More: Endless Life: poems of the mystics (Adaptions and Translations) by Scott Cairns


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  Please leave a comment or question. –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”