Thursday, March 13, 2014

ABRAHAM: A Meditation For Religious

   File:Sacrifice of Isaac-Caravaggio (Uffizi).jpg

Holy obedience is the subject I would treat next, because it so surrounds and conditions the
priestly life that we must needs consider the conduct of our lives and the eternal salvation of our
souls in relation to it and in conformity with it. I might derive a lesson on the subject from almost
any part of the Bible, whether in the Old or in the New Testament. But it seems convenient for
my purpose to keep to the order of historical narration, and discuss the virtue of obedience under
the figure of the patriarch Abraham. From the very moment when he appears on the stage of
history, Abraham meets us as a man with a vocation. Almost as soon as his name has been
mentioned, we read: “Meanwhile, the Lord said to Abraham, Leave thy country behind thee, thy
kinsfolk, and thy father’s home, and come away into a land I will shew thee. Then I will make a
great people of thee.” God has a use for him, and a promise to make to him; but all that is
conditional upon a blind act of obedience; which involves saying goodbye to all the surroundings
and associations which have bounded his life hitherto. And his life henceforward is that of a
wanderer. “And he to whom the name of Abraham was given, shewed faith when he left his
home, obediently, for the country which was to be his inheritance; left it without knowing where
his journey would take him. Faith taught him to live as a stranger in the land he had been
promised for his own, encamping there with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of a common hope.”
Dwelling in tents; here today, he has packed up and gone elsewhere tomorrow; he has no ties to
bind him; he moves, at every turn, in obedience to a command from the divine will.