The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
‘Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
He will come and save you.’
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
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.
Once again the prophet Isaiah hits a homerun: “Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God.”
Don’t think of yourself, but think of the prophet Isaiah, someone who actually lived in Palestine in the eighth century BC. What experience of God must he have had to write such strong, hope-filled lines? He must have felt God subtly or suddenly acting within him, strengthening his hands, making his heart strong. In another place he writes of God: “Behold, I am doing something new!” He must have felt something new and good stirring in himself.
What about you? Jesus warmly cherishes you. He wants to strengthen you, be with you, calm your heart. Take a walk today and, well, let Jesus do what he most wants of all…to be with you!
—Mark Henninger, S.J. serves as a Pastoral Care chaplain at Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood IL.
With the drawing of this Love
And the voice of this Calling
We shall not cease from exploration,
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
—T.S. Eliot, “Four Quartets”