12 March 2006

Our Father in Faith

Each time we pray Eucharistic Prayer I and we profess that Abraham is our father in faith we make a courageous claim. This great patriarch sets the “spiritual bar” very high for those of us who follow him. Abraham was truly a man after the Lord’s own heart.

Childless at 75 years old, he trusted the Lord to lead him to a new homeland and to provide him with countless descendents. When the Lord, having gifted him with Isaac, his legitimate heir, asked Abraham to offer the child in sacrifice – not altogether uncommon in ancient middle-eastern cultures – Abraham did not question this.

It is easy to overlook the significance of today’s first reading. We all know the story so well: the voice of the angel arrives – as if on cue – while Abraham’s hand is ready to strike his child; there is no suspense, for most of us, in the story. What should strike us, however, is what is missing: Abraham’s voice. There is no preference on his part. This is not to say that he did not love Isaac as any father loves his son. Rather, Abraham preferred God’s will to his own will. His heart was so very united to the Lord and so very trusting of the Lord’s care for him that he was unhesitatingly obedient.

Abraham gives us a splendid example of someone who trusts the Lord with all his heart. Amid prosperity or calamity, our trust in the Lord should be the same. Let us ask for the grace to be very trusting of the Lord’s care for us and, in so doing, let us stand on the shoulders of our Father in faith:

“We must follow the example of the great Abraham. When God commanded him to sacrifice the child, he did not become sad; when God dispensed him from it, he did not rejoice. It was all equal to that great heart, provided that God’s will was served.”
St. Francis de Sales

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