Take words with you and return to the Lord; say to him, “Take away all guilt; accept that which is good, and we will offer the fruit of our lips. Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses; we will say no more, ‘Our God,’ to the work of our hands. In you the orphan finds mercy.”
I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily, he shall strike root like the forests of Lebanon. His shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive tree, and his fragrance like that of Lebanon. They shall again live beneath my shadow, they shall flourish as a garden; they shall blossom like the vine, their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like an evergreen cypress; your faithfulness comes from me.Those who are wise understand these things; those who are discerning know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations/
The Lord says: I will bring my people back to me. I will love them with all my heart…I will be to the people of Israel like rain in a dry land. — Hosea 14: 4-5
A line from a show-stopping song in Paint Your Wagon goes something like this: “I’m so lost, so absolutely lost, that even God can’t find me.” This line could also be used to describe Israel during that period in its history when Hosea prophesied. The Israelites had strayed far from God and from the covenant. They were lost, absolutely lost! But God managed to find them.
Can I recall a time in my life when I strayed from God and felt so lost, so absolutely lost, that even God couldn’t find me? How did God eventually find me?
The Lord is near to those who are discouraged; he saves those who have lost all hope. —Psalm 34: 18
—Excerpted from Mission, by Fr. Mark Link, S.J. ©2000 RCL Enterprises, Inc., Allen TX. For more prayer resources from Fr. Link, please visit www.staygreat.com
Lord, when we feel the greatest distance from you, you are actually the closest to us. When we feel unworthy of your grace, it is then that you seek us most passionately through family and friends, through the morning breeze, through a random smile and even through great discouragement. We have one basic assurance this day. Your heart beats with our hearts; your care embraces the smallest detail of our day. We promise to place all our hope in your abiding love for us.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team