Memories are powerful, God gave us the ability to remember what’s happened in the past, and often times it can cloud our vision of the present and distort out hopes for the future.
God knows the power of memory, so much so that He made both the Passover and the Eucharist a memorial, a rememberance, an anamnesis. These memories are so powerful that they actually make present the reality they signify. The Jews believed they made the Passover present every time they celebrated it. That’s the reason that everytime they celebrated they had their loins girt, sandals on their feet, and staff in hand. Just as the Israelites who were led out of Egypt at the first Passover were in a state of flight, so too were the Jews that celebrated it year after year, they made present the reality of the Passover by their actions. While the Lord was able to bring Israel out of Egypt at that first Passover, it took a much longer time to get Egypt out of Israel.
Why do I say that? After the Israelites were brought out of Egypt, Moses went up the mountain to get the Ten commandments, and it took longer than even Aaron expected. So, out of impatience, Aaron collects the gold of the Israelites and burns it down to make a golden calf. He tells the Israelites, “This is the God who led you out of Egypt.” Clearly, the Israelites were still acting as the Egyptians do… They made an idol to replace their God.
And if we think we can hold God in our hands what does it lead us to do?
Manipulate. Steal. Kill. Destroy.
We start playing the devils game, yet Jesus says, I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.
We can manipulate other people, and people that we are very close to, if we are unaware of the idols that are running our lives.
So maybe you’ve discovered the idols in your life: pride, sex, money, power, pleasure, envy, whatever it is… Or maybe we know someone whose acting this way who has not yet discovered their own idols… What’s next?
What did it take Israel to get the Egypt taken out of them?
40 years in the desert. Fasting and prayer.
What is Lent? A time of prayer and fasting. Living as soujourners in a foreign land that seemed nearly endless.
God leads us into the desert at certain times in our lives, whether they be during Lent or not, and there in the desert he speaks to our hearts.
What is to be our only food in the desert? The bread from Heaven, the Eucharist. That supernatural bread which is an anamnesis, a remembrance of what Jesus did at the last supper made present at every Mass.
Right now, I’m in the desert, and I have no problem continuing to pray for hours a day. I have no problem being a soujourner. I
have no problem eating nothing but the Eucharist if that’s what it takes to get the Egypt out of Israel.
Because I trust in the reckless love and mercy of our God.
I leave you with the words of St. Padre Pio:
“My past O Lord to your mercy,
My present Lord to your love
My future Lord to your Providence
O Lord I give you my all.”