The Gifts of Reverence (aka Piety) and Fear of the Lord

Two of the wonderful Gifts of the Holy Spirit are the gift of Reverence, also referred to as Piety, and Fear of the Lord. How sorely these gifts are needed in our society today! Both of these gifts lead us to recognize and accept the reality that we are humble creatures at the service of our Creator and others. Both of these gifts lead us to recognize the proper attitude and response to take in any given situation. And just what is the proper attitude and response in any given situation? One of humility, selflessness, and temperance. We enter into any given situation recognizing that we are not the center of the universe and that the moment we are a part of is “bigger” than ourselves.

Why do I bring this up? Over the weekend, I attended my son’s graduation from college, the University of Illinois at Chicago (College of Architecture and the Arts). My wife, daughter, and I were absolutely mortified by the behavior, not of the graduates, but of many of the families in the audience. The hooting, hollering, screaming, and yelling was unbelievably immature and disrespectful. What was lacking from so many people there (not from the university, which did a very nice job of the festivities) was any sense of respect for the moment or for others. To scream and yell at the sound of your child’s name being called to come forward for his or her diploma is selfish: it ignores the fact that there are other people present. It is also extremely disrespectful to the family of the next graduate, whose name cannot be heard over the din.

Reverence and Fear of the Lord are not just attitudes that we practice in Church. We are to practice them in life. Isn’t this what we try to teach our students in our religious education classes? We try to teach them that in every situation in life, we are called to humble ourselves, to show respect for others, and to do unto others as we would have done to ourselves. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit enable us to love our neighbors properly…they allow us to live moral lives. Society and community as a whole rely upon the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in order that all members of the community may thrive, grow, and be respected.

Let’s keep right on teaching our young people how to make the best use of the Gifts of Reverence and Fear of the Lord. They may not be “in vogue” but they are not obsolete!

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at


  1. I experienced the same disappointment at Columbia’s (Chicago) graduation ceremonies last year. While screaming and airhorns went on endlessly for some students the names of many more couldn’t be heard. What causes such selfishness?

    I attended the Friday night final art show at UIC at the Arts and Architecture building and assume you may have been there also. In contrast I was moved (almost to tears) by the wonderful young people and their enthusiasm, grace and energy as they showed their works and looked forward into the future.

    Best wishes to your daughter.

  2. Brad, thanks for the well wishes for my son. He was at the art show Friday night. he himself is in film and electronic media but some of his friends were displaying their art.

    Too bad about the selfishness,eh?

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