Friday, February 3, 2017

Learn from the Past

Father Walter Ciszek

"To Israel, surely, it [being taken into slavery in Egypt] must have seemed the end of the world, the end of the covenant, the end of God’s special care for his chosen people. Yet from our vantage point in history we know it was really quite the opposite. Israel's troubles were, in truth, a manifestation of Yahweh’s special providence, his special love for his chosen people. Like a fond and loving father, he was trying to wean them away from trust in kings or princes or and armies or the powers of this world. He was trying to teach them, again and again, that their faith must only be in him alone. He was leading them, through every trial and in every age, to the realization that God alone is faithful in all tribulations, that he alone is constant in his love and must be clung to, even when it seems all else has been turned upside down.  Yahweh, our God, is still the Lord behind the events and happenings of this world; he can be found there, and he must be sought in them, so that his will may be done. ...

He was ever faithful, and so in turn must they be, even when he led them where they would not go, into a land they knew not, or into exile.  For he had chosen them, they were his people, he would no more forget them than a mother could forget the child of her womb – yet neither, in their turn, must they ever forget him. This is a hard lesson. And the Old Testament is a chronicle of the many times and the many ways God tried to teach that lesson to his chosen people. And it is a record, too, of how very often, in times of peace and prosperity, Israel came to take Yahweh for granted, to settle down in some routine and to accept the status quo as the be-all and end-all, to think of the established order as their support and sustenance, and to forget their ultimate goal and destiny as the people of the covenant. Then Yahweh would have to remind them again, by the downfall of the monarchy or by exile or by the destruction of Jerusalem, that he alone must be their ultimate hope, their sole source of support, for he has chosen them out of all the people of the world to be a sign of his power and his love, and they must testify to him before all the world by the witness of their trust in him alone."

He Leadeth Me, page 20

(I hope readers have the patience and interest to read these long quotes by Fr. Ciszek. I felt strengthened by reading them. When our lives are lived in faith and trust in God, it makes the Invisible, visible to others.)

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