"God does not require that we be successful only that we be faithful" - Mother Teresa
(Gn 17:3-9) When Abram prostrated himself, God spoke to him:
“My covenant with you is this:
you are to become the father of a host of nations.
No longer shall you be called Abram;
your name shall be Abraham,
for I am making you the father of a host of nations.
I will render you exceedingly fertile;
I will make nations of you;
kings shall stem from you.
I will maintain my covenant with you
and your descendants after you
throughout the ages as an everlasting pact,
to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
I will give to you
and to your descendants after you
the land in which you are now staying,
the whole land of Canaan, as a permanent possession;
and I will be their God.”
God also said to Abraham:
“On your part, you and your descendants after you
must keep my covenant throughout the ages.”
In today’s First Reading, God tells Abram, soon to be Abraham, of the covenant that He will make with him and his descendents, a “whole host of nations.” “I will render you exceedingly fertile…kings shall stem from you.” Quite a promise to a man up in years with a barren wife and one adopted son, Ishmael, by his wife’s maid-servant!
How many covenants do we enter? Lent offers the invitation to take time to reflect on how God and I have done with the promises given.
As we are approaching the end of this Lenten season, I marvel over the ‘failures’ of Lenten ‘give-ups.’ Less than forty days ago, I heard many people state, “I’m giving up Facebook” or “I’m giving up coffee” and so on. By now I know that many of us have failed. So now the question arises: Why can’t we keep our promises? Why do we fall into temptation?
I think it’s just a part of our human essence, brought about by original sin. It’s who we are, no hiding it. But one line needs to be drawn: the one promise we must strive to hold is our faith. Yes, faith has its dry seasons at times, in which we feel distant and unconnected to God. That’s O.K.; that’s not a sign a failure. What is failure is when we—during such times—simply give up on God. If we ask for grace, with time, God will reveal himself to us.