Barb Spies, OFS, Director of Mission Services and Pastoral Care
The word reverencing is a verb - a word of action - which means to regard or treat with deep respect.
The Biblical meaning of reverencing is to honor God; express your gratitude to God and obey God’s commandments. How, then, do we honor God?
In Mark’s Gospel, when Jesus was asked which was the first of all the commandments, he replied,
“… ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31 NAB)
We might ask Jesus this question in the following ways: “What does God most want me to do? What’s the one thing God wants me to remember? What action does God want me to make my highest priority? What is the single most important thing in the world for me to do?”
Reverencing is the living out the great commandment. Reverencing is an attitude and a behavior. First, to love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. Second, to love your neighbor as yourself. Living our lives this way can be difficult as a lot of voices in our culture tell us the most important thing in the world is to love ourselves, accept ourselves, to be ourselves. Jesus says love God first, your neighbor second, and finally yourself, yet only to the degree that you love your neighbor. We are called to imitate the life of Jesus – reverencing God, each other, and all of creation.
Thankfully, we can turn to St. Francis and Blessed Mary Angela as good examples. Both lived their lives this way. St. Francis, whose feast day is celebrated this week, walked in love imitating God just like Jesus did, praising and honoring God for all of creation, ministering to the poor and underprivileged and living with the lepers, loving all as brother and sister. Blessed Mary Angela offered her life in love imitating God through meeting the needs of her times, serving God and serving all in love with a joyful heart. St. Francis and Blessed Angela were filled with a desire of imitating Jesus and sharing total availability in love with all those who came into their lives, especially those unseen, shunned, and most in need.
When we seek to imitate Jesus, St. Francis, and Blessed Mary Angela in this way we live out the great commandment and we practice our Core Value of Justice and Peace. We practice this value by forging right relationships in reverent love, recreating a sustainable environment, promoting the common good…all in the pursuit of peace. In other words, we are honoring God, expressing gratitude to God, and obeying God’s great commandment. We are reverencing!
Thoughts for Reflection
In what ways do your words and actions demonstrate reverencing? In what ways do you contribute to justice and peace in your daily work and life? What holds you back?
Prayer: God of all goodness, like St. Francis and Blessed Angela, we too have been called to reverence, reflecting your love through practice in Justice and Peace. Give us a generous love to respond to those most in need. Give us strength to have the courage to make choices that are life-giving, working together in our ministry to carry out our mission and live our values. Give us passionate hearts that are on fire to serve others. Give us a constant love which never falters to love You in body, mind and soul and love neighbor as our self. Loving God, may our lives honor and witness to your love for us each day. AMEN.