In his penetrating study of the holy, Rudolf Otto makes a strong case for the presence in the human mind of something he names the “numinous,” by which, apparently, he means a sense that there is in the world a vague, incomprehensible Something, the Mysterium Tremendum, the awesome Mystery, surrounding and enfolding the universe. This is an It, an awful Thing, and can never be intellectually conceived, only sensed and felt in the depths of the human spirit. It remains as a permanent religious instinct, a feeling for that unnamed, undiscoverable Presence that “runs quicksilverlike through creation’s veins” and sometimes stuns the mind by confronting it with a supernatural, suprarational, manifestation of itself. The man thus confronted is brought down and overwhelmed and can only tremble and be silent.
Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord. / “Should you not tremble in my presence?” Jeremiah 5:22
The man confronted by the holiness of God can do nothing but tremble and be silent
Lord, teach us to be silent before You, to stand in awe of Your holiness.