2. The Promised Blessing of Abraham’s Faith

(The covenant of God with Abraham as the Father of all nations is an eternal oath of continued blessing to Abraham and his seed forever – in recognition of Abram’s faith in God’s Holy Word. This obedience was deemed as righteousness by the Lord Our God and His promise remains the same to all generations sharing Abraham’s faith in the living God and “doing the good” in belief of Jesus Christ.)

Genesis 22:17-18.  “I will bless thee, and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that is by the sea shore: thy seed shall possess the gates of their enemies.  And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice.

“As a final stage in the purification of his faith, Abraham, ‘who had received the promises,’ (Heb 11:17) is asked to sacrifice the son God had given him.  Abraham’s faith does not weaken (‘God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering.’), for he ‘considered that God was able to raise men even from the dead.’ (Gen 22:8; Heb 11:19).  And so the father of believers is conformed to the likeness of the Father who will not spare his own Son but will deliver him up for us all. (Rom 8:32).  Prayer restores man to God’s likeness and enables him to share in the power of God’s love that saves the multitude” (Cf. Rom 8:16-21) (CCC, 2572).

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys (contemplating the mystery), Glory Be and Fatima Prayer.

Excerpt from The Holy Family Rosary:

The covenant of God with Abraham – as a blessing for all generations who share the same belief in the faith of Abraham – allows us to comprehend mankind’s welfare in the same way Abraham was concerned for the people living near his kinsman Lot.  He begged God to allow him the opportunity to find those in Sodom and Gomorrah who were just and to spare them from annihilation.  But the most renowned example for us to ponder is of God’s command for him to sacrifice his long awaited first born son Isaac, as named in the Old and New Testament accounts, knowing from Holy Scriptures that Ishmael was born of Sarah’s bondmaid, before Isaac.  From this meditation we seek to find why God would make this request to Abraham to do this, knowing it would leave him in loss and promise unfulfilled.

Within this mystery lies the need for a dialogue to determine why those who are descendants of Hagar declare that Ishmael was the son that God commanded Abraham to offer and spared instead.  In a sense, Abraham spared Ishmael by choosing Isaac as his unblemished offering to God and becomes more than just his and Sarah’s first born – Isaac is the forbearer of another beloved Son Who was foretold would come.  And Mary knew of this when being hailed ‘full of grace’ and declared ‘blessed among women.’

From this study we learn it was not impossible for Abraham to fathom the degree of trust required, nor of his belief that God’s purpose would be satisfied through another sacrificial means. This trustworthiness was tested in his obedience, rooted in fear of the Lord, and deemed as righteousness by God.  For us who follow in faith, we too thank God for the sacrificial offering of the ram to satisfy in fulfillment Abraham’s unwavering trust in God of staying his hand, seen as precursor to God’s own Son being slain as a spotless Lamb whose crown was also enveloped in thorns and sacrificed for the sins of man.  From our study of scriptures we notice in reinforcing confirmations that nothing is coincidental with God.  And in this truth we learn to thank God with Mary and the “ancients,” unceasingly!

Instead of the destruction of life as in the day when Noah was found just, we learn to seek the degree of obedience ordained in Abraham for God’s Hand of wrath to be stayed.  In the New Testament account of Jesus telling the story of the beggar Lazarus, Abraham tells the rich man: “Son, remember that thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazarus evil things, but now he is comforted; and thou art tormented. And besides all this, between us and you, there is fixed a great chaos: so that they who would pass from hence to you, cannot, nor from thence come hither.  And he said: Then, father, I beseech thee, that thou wouldst send him to my father’s house, for I have five brethren, that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torments.  And Abraham said to him: They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.  But he said: No, father Abraham: but if one went to them from the dead, they will do penance. And he said to him: If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe, if one rise again from the dead.”[1]

As becomes evidenced by the teaching of Christ, herein lies the importance of acknowledging the past to reveal the power of God that is both present and is to come.  Jesus addressed the issue of life after death mentioning Abraham’s knowledge of Moses being the forbearer of Himself (Jesus) as the Redeemer to come.

Without birth there would be no forefathers to give us counsel as it was of Abraham to whom the Lord said: “Can I hide from Abraham what I am about to do: Seeing he shall become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth shall be blessed?  For I know that he will command his children, and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord, and do judgment and justice: that for Abraham’s sake the Lord may bring to effect all the things he hath spoken unto him.”[2]  Such is our decision for blessing or curse, life or death, as Moses was come to ask.

Surely, this is not the example of the faith of Abraham from whence jihad or fatwa has arrived knowing that the example Abraham set was by asking to save those whom he could find who were innocent and just.  Yet such is the foundation of our faith in Jesus Christ!

The importance of this meditation is that Holy Mother Church teaches us that this was fulfilled by the Ascension of Our Lord into heaven – leading us as the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” as the entry gate of Abraham’s Promised Land.

[1] Lk. 16:25-31.
[2] Gen. 18:17-19.

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