Starry sky in winter, time lapse with circles of light in the dark sky

Reverence implies a deep respect for something or someone, and can involve feelings of awe and wonder, fear, or admiration.   Reverence implies that the object of reverence will be treated with respect.  Here are some reflections on the feeling and practice of reverence.

The problem to be faced is: how to combine loyalty to one’s own tradition with reverence for different traditions.

— Abraham Joshua Heschel

Ethics, too, are nothing but reverence for life. This is what gives me the fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, promoting, and enhancing life, and that destroying, injuring, and limiting life are evil.

— Albert Schweitzer

A Humanist Code of Ethics:
Do no harm to the earth, she is your mother.
Being is more important than having.
Never promote yourself at another’s expense.
Hold life sacred; treat it with reverence.
Allow each person the digity of his or her labor.
Open your home to the wayfarer.
Be ready to receive your deepest dreams;
sometimes they are the speech of unblighted conscience.
Always make restitutions to the ones you have harmed.
Never think less of yourself than you are.
Never think that you are more than another.

— Arthur Dobrin

How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?” Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.” A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.

— Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot

Let us revere, let us worship, but erect and open-eyed, the highest, not the lowest; the future, not the past!

— Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Let us revere, let us worship, but erect and open-eyed, the highest, not the lowest; the future, not the past!

— Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Morality is not a matter of convenience; it is not for superficial appearances. Morality is not determined by a committee nor does morality simply give us pleasure. Moral laws emerge from infinite depths and heights. There is a personal voice that speaks to us about the ultimate reality of things. Morality is the expression of our highest nature. When we work for morality, we add to the moral good in our social universe. Reverence and awe in the presence of the moral law is the beginning of true religion.

— Felix Adler

The conception of worth, that each person is an end per se, is not a mere abstraction. Our interest in it is not merely academic. Every outcry against the oppression of some people by other people, or against what is morally hideous is the affirmation of the principle that a human being as such is not to be violated. A human being is not to be handled as a tool but is to be respected and revered.

— Felix Adler

Already complaints are multiplying on every hand that that most gracious quality of all that adorns the age of childhood — the quality of reverence — is fast fading from our schools and households; that the oldtime respect for father and mother is diminished, and grown rarer and more uncertain.

— Felix Adler

We teach children how to measure and how to weigh. We fail to teach them how to revere, how to sense wonder and awe.

— Harold S. Kushner

Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.

— Henry David Thoreau

Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love, to work, to play, and to look up at the stars.

— Henry Van Dyke

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.

— John Milton

Reverence is an organic human experience that requires no supernatural explanations.

— Kendyl Gibbons

There is only one valid way to partake of the universe — whether the partaking is of food and water, the love of another, or, indeed, a pill. That way is characterized by reverence — a reverence born of a felt sense of participation in the universe, a kinship with all and with all matter.

— Larry Dossey

What is sacred is what is worthy of our reverence, what evokes awe and wonder in the human heart, and what, when contemplated, transforms us utterly.

— Phil Cousineau

Nothing inspires more reverence and awe in me than an old man who knows how to change his mind.

— Santiago Ramón y Cajal
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