Posted by: fvbcdm | March 3, 2012

Feast of Saint Katharine Drexel (3 Mar 2012)

 

This Sunday, the second Sunday of Lent, we find in the gospel reading at Mass the nearly incredible story of God’s asking our first patriarch Abraham to take his beloved son Isaac and sacrifice him in worship of God.  How could our loving God ask such a thing?  Of course, God knew that he would not allow Abraham to carry out the request, but even so, just to ask for that kind of thing and allowing Abraham to BELIEVE that he would have to go through with it, is hard for us to understand.

But then, what about God’s treatment of his beloved son Jesus?  He is the one who is prophesied by the story of the sacrifice of Isaac, but in the case of Our Lord, there was no last-minute reprieve, no escape. The “escape” of Jesus, if we want to call it that, came only after he had suffered terribly on the cross and lain in the tomb for about forty hours. THEN came the escape in the form of the resurrection of Our Lord from the dead.  

One of my favorite poems was written by a Carmelite Nun who lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  She wrote many poems under her baptismal name of Jessica Powers.  One of them she called “Take Your Only Son.”  It is divided into its first part where Abraham speaks, and then its second part where Our Lady speaks.  Let me read it to you:

None guessed our nearness to the land of vision,

Not even our two companions to the mount.

That you bore wood and I, by grave decision, 

Fire and a sword, they judged of small account.

 

Speech might leap wide to what were best unspoken

And so we plodded, silent, through the dust.

I turned my gaze lest the heart be twice broken

When innocence looked up to smile its trust.

 

O love far deeper than a lone begotten

How grievingly I let your words be lost

When a shy question guessed I had forgotten

A thing so vital as the holocaust.

 

And the second part:

 

Hope may shout promise of reward unending

And faith buy bells to ring its gladness thrice,

But these do not preclude earth’s tragic ending

And the heart shattered in its sacrifice.

 

Not beside Abram does my story set me;

I built the altar, laid the wood for flame;

I stayed my sword as long as duty let me,

And then—alas, alas!—no angel came.    

Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

 

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