Today, there is a great aversion to an appropriate fear of the Lord. And consequently, there is a trivialization of love and a great foolishness as regards relationship with God. Fear of the Lord is a gift of God; it is not opposed to love, but prepares for it. Fear of the Lord and love of the Lord go together. One of the reasons why there has been so much foolishness in the Church and in the world is because there has been so much lack of fear of the Lord.
Bernard tells us that we don’t learn wisdom in a lecture hall, but in an encounter with the Lord which produces appropriate fear.
For there we listen to Wisdom as a teacher in a lecture hall, delivering an all embracing discourse, here we receive it within us; here our wills are moved to decision. Instruction makes us learned, experience make us wise… Though Wisdom gives light to many to see what they should do, it does not immediately spur them on to action… And so with God: to know Him is one thing, to fear Him is another, not does knowledge make a man wise, but the fear that motivates him… How truly is the fear of the Lord the beginning of wisdom, because the soul begins to experience God for the first time when fear of Him takes hold of it, not when knowledge enlightens it… Fear of Him is itself an experience… From the beginning it is a barrier to foolishness.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux