The Great Fast has always been a time for me to reflect on my faith as I prepare for the glorious Resurrection of Christ. As I was reflecting on the readings for the fifth Friday of the Great Fast, I focused on Genesis 22:1-18: “The Testing of Abraham”. I believe that this period of meditation, prayer, fasting and giving is a good time for me to place myself in the hands of God – to trust God wholly and completely, just as Abraham did, as told in Genesis.
Abraham is asked by God to sacrifice his longed for son, his heir, Isaac, born to him and Sarah in their old age. God promised Abraham that through Isaac, all nations of the earth would find blessing. He would live to bear descendants of Abraham and Sarah, but God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son in a holocaust to prove his belief.
Scripture does not reveal the tortuous thoughts Abraham must have had when he was asked to sacrifice his son. With fire and knife, he led his son, who carried the wood for the holocaust, to the highest place chosen by God.
I think of the parallel to Jesus’ journey to the cross and his ultimate sacrifice for us. I try to imagine the powerful emotions that Abraham must have had leading Issac to his death.
As we come to the fifth week of the Great Fast, the promise of Resurrection is near. I think of Jesus who suffered for us, died for us and rose for us. I pray I can become the person I am trying to be – one who is journeying through this life to God. Abraham trusted that God would provide and truly believed his promise of heirs through Isaac. I pray I am able to place myself in the hands of God and to look for the signs that I am on the right path.
By Mary Ellen Dudick. From Journey Through the Great Fast. Published by Office of Religious Education, Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. November 2001.