Advent Reflection: Restoring Reverence


“So I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord, my God, as the Lord said to David my father: ‘Your son whom I will put upon your throne in your place shall build the house for my name.’ ”

I Kings 5:19

What can you do to show reverence for God’s presence in your life?

Going Deeper

Read I Kings 5:15-19 and 6:11-38.


Solomon was given the job of building the first temple. It was very important to the Israelites to have a place to house the presence of God in their midst, the ark of the covenant. The detail with which its design and construction are described gives you an indication of how important it was to them. For the Israelites, the temple was the only place where people could directly encounter God; and the only person who could enter the inner sanctuary where the ark was housed was the high priest. The rules about the construction process (for example, using no iron tools on site) and the adornment of everything with gold gave evidence of the awe and reverence the people felt toward God’s presence in the ark of the covenant.

When Jesus came to earth, he brought a new understanding—that God’s presence is everywhere, not just limited to the temple. Jesus served as a bridge, allowing each one of us to listen and speak to God directly, without the high priest as an intermediary. With this new availability and familiarity, we are at risk of losing our sense of awe and reverence in the presence of God.

Here are some things you can do to restore that sense of reverence:

  1. Bow your head in a sign of respect each time you say or hear the name of God.
  2. The Second Vatican Council identified the family as the domestic church. When you enter your home and take off your shoes, allow that action to remind you that you are entering a holy place, because God is present in a unique way in your family.
  3. Recognize that every person you encounter was created in the image of God. Be intentional about treating others with respect: hold a door, share a smile, be patient with the waiter, speak respectfully to the cashier, give the other driver space to merge.
  4. Slow down and think about what you are doing when you make the sign of the cross, bless yourself with holy water as you enter and leave the church, and genuflect before the tabernacle.

Choose one of these ideas or one of your own and incorporate it into your routine for the rest of Advent.


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