The second of four numbered sections that treats Abraham, the father of the monotheistic religions:
9. The word spoken to Abraham contains both a call and a promise. First, it is a call to leave his own land, a summons to a new life, the beginning of an exodus which points him towards an unforeseen future. The sight which faith would give to Abraham would always be linked to the need to take this step forward: faith “sees” to the extent that it journeys, to the extent that it chooses to enter into the horizons opened up by God’s word. This word also contains a promise: Your descendants will be great in number, you will be the father of a great nation (cf. Gen 13:16; 15:5; 22:17). As a response to a word which preceded it, Abraham’s faith would always be an act of remembrance. Yet this remembrance is not fixed on past events but, as the memory of a promise, it becomes capable of opening up the future, shedding light on the path to be taken. We see how faith, as remembrance of the future, memoria futuri, is thus closely bound up with hope.
Call and promise. This is a very interesting section in light of the many opportunities we might face in today’s society. It is also interesting in light of some ecclesial challenges.
There is much discussed about the so-called “hermeneutic of continuity.” But in reality, faith as lived out in church reform is a journey, a pilgrimage. Missteps may be perceived, but they are not disconnected from what has gone before. People are the same. And the Christian faith lived through times of reform is the same.
As a lad, I was attracted to stories in which people gave up their old lives, converted to Christ, and moved into new territory. I remember my own baptism day, and looking up at the saints in the stained glass windows. I perceived my life was changing, and the thought came into my mind, “I’m going to be a Christian now. I guess I can’t swear anymore.” And ever since, it has not been a common thing for me to curse or swear. In a small way, I felt the call to walk a path different from my peers.
God doesn’t ask us to do something different or difficult and then leave us empty. God promises us something. It might be extreme delayed gratification, but faith promises the believer some very real things, even if far off.
Is this a call for those attached to the traditional Latin Mass? Or other cherished ecclesial things?