To Him We Owe

The Redemptorist Father Peter Geiermann shows why we owe God our reverence, gratitude, holy fear, and love.

“If reverence is the esteem and honor due to excellence, God is deserving of the highest reverence. He is the only being that exists of Himself, and is sufficient unto Himself from eternity to eternity. God is infinitely perfect, present everywhere; He sees and sustains all things. Heaven is His throne and the earth is His footstool. . . . The infinite goodness of God prompted His wisdom to plan and His power to create all things for His honor and glory and the welfare of His creatures. God watches over His creatures with a paternal solicitude, which Jesus compared to the tender love of a mother for her child.”

“Gratitude is the obligation of giving thanks to a benefactor. God is the great benefactor of mankind. He called us into existence when He was infinitely happy, and had no need of us. He made us to His own image and likeness. . . . God has further put us under obligation by destining us for the joys of heaven, and by supplying us with superabundant means of earning the ‘reward exceeding great.’ . . . Our divine Saviour earned our lasting gratitude by freely laying down His life for our salvation, by instituting a divine Church and seven sacraments for our sake, and by sending the Holy Ghost to guide us on the sure way to heaven. . . . God put every one of us under additional obligation to Him by giving us life, health, talents, and opportunities, by giving us the priceless treasure of the true faith, and by continually giving us evidence of His goodness, love, and mercy. He is patient when we are wayward, prompt to help when we invoke His aid, generous in His grace, and paternal in His solicitude. If we appreciate His favors and do His holy will, He extends the special protection of His providence to us, predestines us to glory, and conducts us to eternal happiness.”

“God has given us all we are and have, while the future is entirely in His keeping. He may punish us any moment if we disregard His law and offend against His divine majesty. No evil escapes the Master of life and death. If He does not punish the sinner in this life, God is eternal and can afford to wait. Sooner or later He will summon every one before His judgment by death.”

“Love is attachment to an object on account of its goodness. God is the greatest Good, and as such worthy of man’s best love. . . . This infinite Good is, besides, the author of every created good. If life, health, friends, and earthly possessions are worthy of man’s love, how much more should we form an attachment to God. . . . God has also been very good to man by extending to him the countless blessings of creation, redemption, and sanctification. He has loved us individually with an everlasting love. . . . In creating us God fashioned our hearts in such a way that we necessarily love what is good. Will we then be so foolish, so ungrateful, so disobedient as not to love Him, the infinite Good?”

Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).

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