by Most Reverend Anthony Fisher OP, Archbishop, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney
When we are spiritually dry or anxious we can call on God to refresh, restore and redeem.
“I, the Lord, your God, I am holding you by the right hand; I tell you, ‘Do not be afraid ,I will help you.’ Do not be afraid, Jacob, poor worm, Israel, puny mite. I will help you – it is the Lord who speaks – the Holy One of Israel is your redeemer. See, I turn you into a threshing-sled, new, with doubled teeth; you shall thresh and crush the mountains, and turn the hills to chaff. You shall winnow them and the wind will blow them away, the gale will scatter them. But you yourself will rejoice in the Lord, and glory in the Holy One of Israel. The poor and the needy ask for water, and there is none, their tongue is parched with thirst. I, the Lord, will answer them, I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them. I will make rivers well up on barren heights, and fountains in the midst of valleys; turn the wilderness into a lake, and dry ground into waterspring. In the wilderness, I will put cedar trees, acacias, myrtles, olives. In the desert I will plant juniper, plane tree and cypress side by side; so that men may see and know, may all observe and understand that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:13-20)
“The poor and needy ask for water”, says the prophet, “and there is none, their tongue is parched with thirst” (Isaiah 41:17a). To which God responds: “I, the Lord, will answer them, I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them. I will make rivers well up on barren heights and fountains in the midst of valleys; turn the wilderness into a lake, and dry ground into waterspring” (Isaiah 41:17b-18).
Despite our country’s drought, most of us don’t know the anxiety of ancient Israel, but at one time or another we have our own causes for fear, whether for ourselves or others. Anxiety is the lot of every human being, so much so that in every Mass we pray before the Blessed Sacrament, “Deliver us Lord from every evil… protect us from all anxiety”. Some of us worry too much; some too little; but all have cause to be apprehensive, at least from time to time, unless we are by God’s grace preserved from it. At such times for us, as for Israel, our faith in loving providence is sorely tried; God can seem very distant, his promised coming to help us, rather slow and mysterious. It’s easy enough to love and trust God when things are going well; much harder when we feel abandoned, confused, dry, frightened. Yet ironically it is precisely when we are at our lowest ebb, our most desperate, that faith can come back to life; at the very point where we feel we can no longer cope on our own, that our own resources are not enough, that we lean on something – Someone – greater.
Christ comes to restore energy and fruitfulness where we have run out of physical and moral energy, to bring inspiration, spiritual get-up-and-go. We ask him to refresh our spirits and our relationships where they have become dry or brittle; we trust him to plant a garden of virtues flowering in holiness in our hearts and families and communities. These are gifts you can’t buy at the local shopping centre, but they are what many of us most need at various times.
Holy One of Israel, we open ourselves to you; water and till the soil of our hearts, plant our seeds and seedlings; prepare us to receive you anew.
Watch God Send the Rain – Droughtland Prayer www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKhSjYM6BaI
Canberra Declaration Daily Prayer Points for October
- AWAKENING to Christ: Renewal in the Church and Revival in the Nation – with millions coming to Christ. John 3:16
- AWAKENING for Marriage: Renewal of marriages and restoration of marriage. Ephesians 5: 25 -32
- AWAKENING for Family: Renewal and healing for families. Isaiah 61:1
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