For the last month, the Daily Mass Old Testament readings have come from Genesis and Exodus, recounting the early years of salvation history. Today, the story of Moses’ leadership of the people of Israel climaxes with the crossing of the Red Sea.
I don’t know about you, but when I try to place myself in this scene, I simply can’t. Honestly, it’s so beyond real that I can’t even imagine it.
But then I think, “Can you imagine what it must have been like for those people who actually lived it?” The angel of death takes the lives of all first-born in the land. Finally relenting, pharaoh sets them free. They leave, but Pharaoh “hardens his heart” (Ex 8:32), changes his mind, and sends troops after them. The Israelites run for their lives and run right to to the very edge of the land, a huge sea, with nowhere to turn. Trapped.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD drove back the sea with a strong east wind all night long and turned the sea into dry ground. The waters were split, so that the Israelites entered into the midst of the sea on dry land, with the water as a wall to their right and to their left.(Ex 14:21-22)
Did you ever think about what it must have been like to be Moses? The faith that he must have had to continually say, “Yes,” to God, to “stretch out his hand,” and to do God’s will in spite of his own fear and doubt, must have been tremendous.
Can we do the same? Do we stretch out our hands with a “Yes” to God not knowing the cost or the outcome? Do we part the sea of our own fear and doubt to allow God to work miracles in our lives?
Carryll Houselander recently wrote of our cooperation in God’s plan – the desire, invitation, and response. I pray her words will bless you as they have blessed me.
To come to a practical matter: I would advise you to make up your mind, to surrender your will to God, and to tell him you will; then, having made your offering spend some days in prayer to obtain the courage and grace to go on. You have prayed and have not yet, as you think, had the complete answer. This is usually because you have not given our Lord something he asks for in order to answer you. For example, when he worked miracles he asked for some trifle which one would suppose useless, for example, the loaves and fishes for the feeding of five thousand; and again, for the Mass, he asks the offering of the simple substance of bread and wine for the miracle of the Consecration. You say, “He hasn’t worked the miracle,” “he hasn’t given me the courage I need.” Well, the answer usually is: “you have not given him anything to work the miracle with.” Of course, he can do some miracles without that, but usually he asks us to give something, and, if the miracle you ask is personal transubstantiation – then you may be changed into him – then clearly, unless you offer yourself all of yourself – he can’t do it, for what has he got to change?
God is never outdone in generosity. If your self-offering is sincere and is made, no matter how you tremble in making it, he will then give you the grace you need.
It is well, after making your self-offering, to pray very much to Our Lady, and you know she has been through all this, and she is a great example of how to act with those you love.
Magnificat, Vol. 14, No. 6, pg. 316-317
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee! Anne