Wednesday, March 31, 2010

And a highway shall be there...

Having gone to confession last night, this morning I thanked Jesus for His mercy and forgiveness.  I asked Him to give me further instruction by His revealed Word and He led me to Isaiah 35 (I used that "classic" technique of opening my bible and with my eyes closed pointing to a seemingly random section).  He never fails to give me something meaty to chew on...

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, "Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you."

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy.  For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haund to jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not pass over it, and fools shall not err therein.  No lion shall be there, nor shall any raveouns beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.  And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Why was this so perfect a message for me?  Let me give you a bit of background...

I have been a bit overwhelmed by what I am learning at school, afflicted by a bit of a spiritual dry spell of late (well maybe not dry but more like a roller coaster), and challenged by those who wish to attack the faith (and me because I am Catholic).  Recently, I was asked a bunch of questions about the Catholic viewpoint on certain things, most notably the seemingly ever present sex "crisis" in the church by a friend who is not Christian.  Among some of the queries were some rather barbed attacks on the Pope, the bishops (the "good ol' boys' network" as he put it), and the sacredness of the celibate priesthood (his answer to the crisis was not very original...'if only priests could be gay or be married that would solve a whole host of problems').  I answered all the charges to the best of my ability, and though it ended with him being very surprised that the Catholic faith sees the Jewish people as the Chosen Ones and that we recognize our Jewish heritage (CCC 674, 839-848) I still felt rather uneasy after the whole thing was over; so much so that I fretted for days, even losing sleep because I had incorporated my stirrings into my dreams.  I was unsettled:  Maybe I wasn't up to the task of evangelizing; maybe I wasn't supposed to be learning (after all, what I have learned I wasn't able to articulate very well in my conversation, or so I thought); maybe I just don't have enough faith, after all I am getting very distracted at Mass these days, losing my focus precisely at the time where my focus is primarily warranted and of utmost importance:  during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, maybe, maybe, maybe...

So, in asking for his assistance today, the LORD in his infinite wisdom and goodness told me this:

"Be strong, fear not!"   [I have nothing to fear, even if I make a mistake in my evangelization efforts, for God is there to save.  I cannot save, only the LORD can.  I can simply plant the seed; He alone is the sower.]

"The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad."  "For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thristy ground springs of water." [So much for my "dry spell"...there is hope, lots of it!]

"...the grass shall become reeds and rushes."  [In my newness to apologetics, I am like a small blade of weak, flimsy grass.  But with His grace and mercy, I shall become strong and resolute, like a rush, able to withstand the oppressive forces wanting to crush me in my efforts to do His will.  Get thee behind me, Satan!!]

"And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not pass over it, and fools shall not err therein."  [I do not wish to be a fool...I must continue with my studies, no matter how inadequate I feel.]

What's more amazing that I came to this passage during Holy Week.  This particular chapter in Scripture gives prophesy to the Kingdom of God and what will happen when the Messiah comes (Jesus Christ, that is).  This is what the ancient Jews could have expected to happen once their savior appeared. See how Isaiah 35:3 relates to Hebrews 12:12 and how Isaiah 35:5-6 is fulfilled in Matthew 11:5 and Luke 7:22.   God dwelt among us, that is clear and should not be doubted.

God is AWESOME! 

Thank you Jesus for answering my plea!


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