It was during the Office of Readings this morning that I realized that my children are messed up, because I am. Let me explain…I read these words in the first reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah:
See the name of the Lord coming from afar in burning wrath, with lowering clouds!
His lips are filled with fury, his tongue is like a consuming fire;
His breath, like a flood in a ravine that reaches suddenly to the neck,
Will winnow the nations with a destructive winnowing,
and with repeated winnowings will he battle against them [and a bridle on the jaws of the peoples to send them astray].
Return, O children of Israel, to him whom you have utterly deserted. On that day each one of you shall spurn his sinful idols of silver and gold, which he made with his hands.
Assyria shall fall by a sword not wielded by man, no mortal sword shall devour him;
He shall flee before the sword, and his young men shall be impressed as laborers.
He shall rush past his crag in panic, and his princes shall flee in terror from his standard,
Says the Lord who has a fire in Zion and a furnace in Jerusalem.
It is the fact that we have created idols in our past lives that we need to spurn. We need to allow the Lord to kill those remnants of “Assyrian” worldliness in our hearts and our pride and ambition to gain worldly wealth and happiness that does not last. Otherwise, we do not have to wonder why our children are being led to the cliff of despair and anxiety over the future. It is a promise that we hear from the prophet Isaiah that we cannot hold on to those things that lead us to struggle or we can count on our kids being put to work in the service of evil, and being led into hell.
However, we know that the fire that the prophet was talking about in Zion is the same fire that he will light in our hearts, and the furnace in Jerusalem could be burning in us, which will bring the warmth of God’s love to our children and to the world.