The Bible is so rich and vast that we can never fully fathom or remember the totality of the Scriptures, which allows for constant pleasant surprises when we discover a text which bears a new divine revelation to our hungry hearts.
This phenomenon happened to me recently as I was reading the Letter to the Hebrews. This New Testament letter was addressed to Jewish Christians to strengthen them in the practice of the faith and not to grow weary or become indifferent.
Chapter 11 is a remarkable reflection on the power of faith, offering the memorable quote, "Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen."
The author then reflects on the lives and actions of the principal figures of the Old Testament and how the strength of their faith led them to extraordinary service of God, amidst suffering and persecution and with power and miracles.
In the context of this narration, the mighty example of Moses looms large, as the leader who brought the Children of Israel out of slavery, transmitted the Law, and delivered them to the Promised Land.
In verse 27, we read, "By faith, Moses left Egypt, not fearing the king's fury, for he persevered as if seeing the one who is invisible." This line struck me deeply, for it speaks of the power of vision as the motivating force of leadership.
Exodus tells us that throughout the 40-year sojourn in the desert, Moses had direct conversations with God, face-to-face, and received the Ten Commandments from the hands of the Lord Himself. Whatever the exact nature of these mystical revelations, clearly Moses gained the courage, fortitude, and compassion he needed to accomplish the liberation of his people from his mysterious contacts with the Divine.
The Bible is filled with dynamic encounters between God and chosen individuals. From Adam and Eve to Abraham and Sarah to Moses and David, to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Paul, scores of Scriptural characters received divine revelations which formed their faith and guided their life mission.
They received a clear message which called them to a sacred purpose, and they responded in the boldness of belief and trust. Indeed, one could view the entire Bible as an ongoing dialogue between God and humanity with Jesus Christ as the final and definitive Word spoken to us.
What is the content of the message of the Lord? What is He constantly saying to us? The essence of the divine revelation or apocalypse or unveiling is the infinite and saving love which God has for us. The Lord inviting us into a permanent and transformative relationship of faith, love, and trust. God extending His mercy to us sinners through the fidelity of the Old Covenant and the definitive bond of the New Covenant, sealed in the precious blood of Christ.
This bond, ultimately fulfilled through the death and resurrection of Christ, bears marital imagery. Hosea and Isaiah speak of the Covenant between God and Israel as a marriage. Christ is the Divine Bridegroom, come to earth in search of His Bride, which is the Church, born from His pierced side and formed in the fire of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
Often in my earthly pilgrimage, I have longed for a direct, clear, and unmistakable revelation from God. Don't we all? Lord, just tell me what to do, and I will do it. God, show me the way forward because everything seems so uncertain. Just answer this one nagging question, Jesus.
Yet, the clarity I seek often seems frustratingly elusive. Most frequently, our journey to heaven feels like an early morning drive through dense fog on a country road with few signs marking the way. In my weak faith, I crave the certainty of the saints and convince myself I would be so much holier and obedient if God just made things obvious.
Yet, hasn't He? The Scriptures lead us into the very mystery of God's identity, activity, and desire for our salvation. The Gospels introduce us to Jesus: the details of His life, teachings, miracles, death, and resurrection.
The learned writings and mystical experiences of the saints unpack the density of God's revelation over the course of 2000 years. We feel the love, power, and presence of God in the sacraments. The Catechism of the Catholic Church places the essential totality of our beautiful faith in our hands, hearts, and minds.
We have all had transcendent moments of transforming love, spiritual insight, and abiding consolation that serve as permanent memory markers on our way to the Father's house.
In the midst of trial, temptation, failure, despair, depression, and suffering, like Moses, we are called "to persevere as if seeing the one who is invisible." This inner vision of faith, often felt more than seen, mostly lived in obscurity rather than clarity, is the guiding force which will bring us home in the end.
If you doubt that God loves you, read the Gospel. If you wonder what life is all about, study the Catechism. If you want to feel God's presence, pray for enlightenment and grace.
As we continue to struggle through the difficulties of this pandemic, I encourage everyone to persevere, keep going, keep praying, and hold on to the Lord's hand. Your generosity, endurance, goodness, and faith are clear signs to me that the Lord loves us and will never abandon us. Thank you for that gracious witness!
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