I Will Not Be Forgetful of Thee

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Wednesday Within the Fourth Week of Lent

Isaiah 49:8-15
John 5:17-30

An Inward Quickening

In every single line of today's prophecy from Isaiah, there is a grace of consolation that penetrates the soul. One reads Isaiah 49:8-13 — or hears it read — and straightaway one experiences its effect: an inward quickening of hope, of confidence, and of thanksgiving.

God's Word is efficacious. The Word of God accomplishes what it announces, so often as we receive it with humility and with faith. The Word of God is a sacramental infusion of divine grace. Hold the Word in your heart, and it will change your life.

If you have ever felt forgotten by God or insignificant in His sight, ponder today's First Reading (Isaiah 49:8-16). Savour the last verse given in the Lectionary and the one that follows it in the Bible. I prefer Monsignor Knox's translation, and so give it here.

I Will Bring Thee Aid

Thus says the Lord, Here is a time of pardon, when prayer of thine shall be answered, a day of salvation when I will bring thee aid.
I have kept thee in readiness, to make, by thy means, a covenant with my people.
Thine to revive a ruined country, to parcel out forfeited lands anew,
men that are bound in darkness restoring to freedom and to the light.

Theirs Is a Merciful Shepherd

There shall be pasture for my flock by the wayside, feeding grounds they shall have on al the barren uplands;
they will hunger and thirst no more, noonday heat nor sun overpower them;
theirs is a merciful shepherd, that will lead them to welling fountains and give them drink.
And I will turn all these mountains of mine into a highroad for you;
safe through the uplands my path shall lead.
See how they come from far away!
Exiles from north and west, exiles from the south country return.
Ring out, heaven, with praise;
let earth keep holiday, and its mountains echo that praise again;
the Lord brings consolation to his people, takes pity on their need.

Before My Eyes Continually

Did Sion complain, the Lord has forsaken me, my own Master gives me never a thought?
What, can a woman forget her child that is unweaned, pity no longer the son she bore in her womb? Let her forget; I will not be forgetful of thee.
Why, I have cut thy image on the palms of my hands;
those walls of thine dwell before my eyes continually.

The Father

The Gospel takes us more deeply into the mystery of the life of the Son with His Father. As we move toward the end of Lent and ready ourselves for the solemn celebration of the Paschal Mystery, the Father will, more and more, come into focus before the eyes of our souls.

Resurrexi

When, in the pre-dawn darkness of Easter, we will open our eyes with Jesus waking from the sleep of death in the tomb, it will be to see the Father bending over the sepulchre with an ineffable tenderness, the way an earthly father bends over the cradle of his little one. Then, with Jesus, we will sing to the Father the prophet's ancient words:

Resurrexi, et adhuc tecum sum . . . I have risen and am still with Thee; Thy hand has been laid upon me; marvellous has Thy wisdom proved (Ps 138:18, 5-6).

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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