Wednesday, June 1, 2011
The Intercession Of Moses
The Holy Father resumes his catechesis on prayer today with a return to the Old Testament and the importance and purpose of intercessory prayer. Moses is the focal point of the Holy Father's teaching today.
I sometimes think that intercessory prayer is somewhat, at times taken lightly. Reading the pope's remarks today helped me to realize not only the importance of this form of prayer, but also the proper way in which we should approach it. Pope Benedict points out that Moses, in interceding for the Israelites after the whole golden calf incident, does not approach God making excuses for what they have done, but acknowledges the full gravity of their sin and appeals to God's goodness and mercy. This is how we too should come before God when interceding in prayer on the behalf of sinners. Repentant sinners know first hand the healing power of God's mercy. We need to pray as Jesus did from the cross~ Forgive them; they know not what they do.
Here is the Holy Father's brief but insightful teaching on Moses and intercessory prayer.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Continuing our catechesis on Christian prayer, we now turn to the great prophetic figure of Moses. As the mediator between God and Israel, Moses is a model of intercessory prayer. We see this clearly in the episode of the golden calf (Ex 32). As Moses descends from Mount Sinai where he has spoken to God and received the gift of the Law, he confronts both the infidelity of the people, who now worship an idol of gold, and the God’s wrath. Moses intercedes for his people, fully acknowledging the gravity of their sin. He also pleads with God to remember his mercy, to forgive their sin and thus to reveal his saving power. Moses’ prayer of petition is an expression of God’s own desire for the salvation of his people and his fidelity to the covenant. Through his intercessory prayer Moses grows in deeper knowledge of the Lord and his mercy, and becomes capable of a love which extends to the total gift of self. In this prayer Moses points beyond himself to that perfect intercessor who is Jesus, the Son of God, who brings about the new and eternal covenant in his blood, shed for the forgiveness of sin and the reconciliation of all God’s children.
Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King
My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.
Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.