What does it mean to be “reverent”? If you said that it means you must be a good, church-going Christian, you’re wrong.
1. A feeling of profound awe and respect and often love; veneration. See Synonyms at honor.
2. An act showing respect, especially a bow or curtsy.
3. The state of being revered.
4. Reverence Used as a form of address for certain members of the Christian clergy: Your Reverence.
tr.v. rev·er·enced, rev·er·enc·ing, rev·er·enc·es
To consider or treat with profound awe and respect; venerate.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
To be faithful to the principles of religious doctrine, one must revere a spiritual power greater than himself. But it is possible to be reverent – deeply respectful of and loving towards – other people, principles, and things. Have you ever sat in a darkened amphitheater and felt sheer awe at the music played by a symphonic orchestra? Have you ever watched the red brick sky glowing in the dusk before a hurricane? Have you ever watched seen pictures of Mother Theresa ministering to the sick and poor, or of Gandhi setting an example to the world of peaceful resistance to injustice? All of those things inspire reference.
To be successful, we must recognize and revere those who have laid the groundwork for our accomplishments: the scientists, philosophers, politicians, and others who shaped the world before our birth; our parents, who gave us life; our many teachers, who generously shared their knowledge and taught us how to slake our own thirst for it; our friends, who mirrored us and showed us what we wanted to be and not to be; our colleagues who mentored us; our children, who humbled us and taught us what matters and what doesn’t, ultimately.
Recognizing the contributions of others, and working hard to lay the foundation for future generations’ success, is part of the notion of “paying one’s dues.” Give reverence before seeking to be revered.
To be reverent is to be humble; it is to recognize that we are not the center of the universe. But it is also to see the world with childlike eyes – to marvel at a rainbow. To gasp in awe at a cathedral, to contemplate what human minds can conceive, human hands and sweat can produce. It is to marvel at the brilliance of scientific innovation in service of humanity. Watch this and see if it doesn’t inspire reverence: