Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, had recourse to the LORD. She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids, from morning until evening, and said: “God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you.
Help me, who am alone and have no help but you, for I am taking my life in my hand. As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you. Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you, O LORD, my God.
“And now, come to help me, an orphan. Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy, so that he and those who are in league with him may perish. Save us from the hand of our enemies; turn our mourning into gladness and our sorrows into wholeness.”
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.
“Then Queen Esther, seized with deadly anxiety, fled to the LORD.” Another translation says that Queen Esther, “seized with mortal anguish, had recourse to the LORD.”
Breathing is an automatic function that most of the time escapes my notice. But if I recall an experience of being under water too long, perhaps pummeled by waves, and my desperate need for air, I know, in a moment, just how crucial this automatic function is.
I have the same experience when I recall moments of “mortal anguish,” or “deadly anxiety,” times when not just my body but also my spirit felt as if it couldn’t breathe. And the relief I felt because I had recourse to God. It could be that without these moments, I would not know just how desperately I need God’s life-giving and life-sustaining spirit.
May I give thanks, this day and this Lent, for this source of my life. May my Lenten disciplines and fasting help me to know and steward this life with ever greater love. May all those who experience mortal anguish today have recourse to you.
I prayer, O Master,
that the flames of hell
may not touch me
or any of those whom I love,
and even that they may never touch anyone.
(And I know, my God,
that you will forgive this bold prayer.)
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.Please share the Good Word with your friends!