After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.
Then he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” He brought him all these and cut them in two, laying each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a deep and terrifying darkness descended upon him.
When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
What keeps you awake at night? Perhaps it is a pressing issue at work, a deteriorating relationship, financial concerns or the well-being of a loved one. In today’s first reading, what keeps Abram awake is his concern that he will die childless and that he will not possess the land God has promised him. The Lord’s first words to Abram are “fear not.” This reminds me of the many instances when Jesus said to his disciples “do not be afraid.” This is all too often, easier said than done. I reflect on my own worries about the safety and health of loved ones.
In the face of his fears and concerns, Abram puts his faith in the Lord. The Lord then makes a covenant with Abram promising him descendants as numerous as the stars and land from the “Wadi of Egypt to the Great River the Euphrates.” I desire to put my faith in the Lord, but how do I do this. Perhaps just like Abram, I simply talk with the Lord and share my fears and concerns. I listen to the Lord’s encouraging words and have faith that the Lord is always with me. Doing so, I know of the Lord’s absolute, unconditional and infinite love for me and my loved ones.
—David McNulty is the Provincial Assistant for Advancement, Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits
More than ever I find myself in the hands of God. This is what I have wanted all my life from my youth.
But now there is a difference: the initiative is entirely with God. It is indeed a profound spiritual experience to know and feel myself so totally in God’s hands.
—Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J. (1907-1991) was the 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus.Please share the Good Word with your friends!