From our reading today from the book of Genesis: “So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.” Genesis 22:6-8
“My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb…” With these words the father of the faithful, Abraham, expressed what all people of faith have always known. And why we priests pray in the Divine Liturgy when we are consecrating the Bread and Wine to be the Body and Blood of Christ: “You are the one Who offers and is offered…” We know that all is gift, even the sacrifices we make for our faith are ultimately gifts provided to us by the Lord Who loves us more than we, ourselves, know how to love.
It is also why, during Great Lent, we pray the Salutations on Fridays, and why, on the last Friday of Great Lent we sing the entire Akathist Hymn to the Mother of God. We pray these prayers honoring the Theotokos precisely because God has provided a Lamb to bring to an end the sacrifices of the Temple. This One, Final sacrifice that destroys the power of death and the devil forever. God has provided the Lamb!
The faith and confidence in God displayed by Abraham in knowing that God would provide, and the faith displayed by Mary, the Theotokos, in accepting the task of bearing Him Who would be the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8) gives us who are also called to be faithful powerful icons to embrace today.
Mary, the Mother of God, gives to us the pattern of life we are also called to live. A life of offering our free “yes” to God no matter what the circumstances or how unbelievable the world tells us the faith appears to be. Being faithful to say “yes” to the purposeful practice of our faith daily is the difference between a “religion” we wear as a badge of identification and a faith that transforms us into saints. It is the difference between an external facade and an internal transformation.
Today, know that whatever you may face, whatever the challenges to your practice of the faith and its wisdom, God has provided all you will ever need to become that person He already sees in you. You are made for Him, and your only rest, your only real accomplishment will be achieving Him and His life in you.
Today, hear the words from centuries ago and know they are still true right now “God will provide…”