“I cared for you in the desert”

(Hosea 13.5)

A baby.
When she was born, she was despised
and was thrown out in the open fields.
There she was, kicking in her blood…
when God passed by
and took pity of her.
“No, you will not die!” He said.
“Live! And grow!”
And this baby grew up into a young girl.
A beautiful girl with firm breasts and rich long hair…
“fit to be a queen”.
(Look up the story in Ezekiel 16,
the most favorite chapter of the magic Saint John of the Cross!)

God passed again and noticed her nakedness.
So He bathed her
and clothed her with embroidered cloth and fine linen
and sandals of fine leather.
And adorned her with bracelets, necklace, ring, earrings and a crown.
He even pledged Himself to her
and made a covenant with her:
‘You are mine!’
You are perfect “because of my splendor that I had bestowed on you.”

But then… tragedy!
This young woman just lost her head.
She started playing the whore!

She went and lay with any passer-by…
She lavished her debauchery on all comers.
She squandered her riches and her beauty.
She used the gifts that God gave her
to obtain the pleasures of these bystanders.
She was insatiable… she constantly multiplied her whorings!

Maximum ingratitude!

God was stunned.
He could not understand.
And He closed his eyes.
He delivered her into their hands
He allowed these beautiful-from-the-outside-and-stink-from-within-gods
stone and injure this girl of his with their swords.
He let them to strip her naked
and humiliate her.
He hid His face from her.
He left her to her own devices!
“Have you not committed lewdness beyond all abominations?”
He acidly questioned her.

But God’s heart is amazing!
He remembered the covenant He made with her in the days of her youth.
And so He decided to renew His bond with her.
He even established with this irresponsible and reckless woman an everlasting covenant!
He forgave her all her faults…
He took her in again.
He adorned her again.
He made her beautiful once more.

The woman,
now more bashful…
could hardly open her mouth.

She realized who really loved her always with a happy love.
She discovered who keeps His word.
She recognized the great difference between the false gods and the one true God.
She discovered what merciful fondness is about.
She became aware of His irresistible Love.

I am very familiar with this story.
Because it is my story.
Tell me, how can I not love Him?

“But look, I am going to seduce her,
and lead her into the desert and speak to her heart.
There I shall give her back
Her vineyards,
and make the Vale of Achor a gateway of hope.
There she will respond as when she was young,
as on the day when she came up from Egypt.
When that day comes – declares Yahweh –
you will call me, ‘My husband’,
no more will you call me, ‘My Baal’.
I shall betroth you to myself forever.
I shall betroth you in uprightness and justice,
and faithful love and tenderness,
yes, I shall betroth you to myself in loyalty
and in the knowledge of Yahweh
(Hosea 2, 16-18. 21-22))

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.