This is the way, follow it (Is 30:21)

By Sr. Rosemary Castañeda, Medellin

This text belongs to a series of oracles which vibrates the active spirit of second Isaiah (6th century B.C) rightly called the prophet of consolation (Is. 40-55). After the rigorous Babylonian exile, he consoles and encourages his people, who should no longer feel themselves to be like a deserted wife, but the spouse of the Holy One of Israel (Is 54:1-10), daughter of the same Lord (Is 49:13-17). The people exiled in Babylon, because of their infidelity to the Sinai covenant, must now return home according to God’s will. But to begin this exodus, they must break the chains that bind them to Babylon: subservient attachment to their present situation, since many of them had wives and children, houses, vineyards and olive groves (Jer 29). God encourages them to overcome their resistance to this rupture, assuring them that in this exodus they would accomplish greater wonders than in the first one (Is 43:16-21).

Prophet Isaiah expresses the danger that threatens the people of Judah because of the mistakes they have made, which led them to go on other paths because of the extreme scarcity of bread, when the most important thing is the extreme scarcity of the Word (fidelity) of God. Isaiah makes them see that the true salvation lies in their faith. It should be remembered that, in this context, to believe does not mean "admitting or confessing a series of truths," or even "believing in God. The authentic meaning of what Isaiah calls faith is to make room for God's action and to renounce saving oneself. To believe means to adopt an internal and external attitude equivalent to standing firm, with trust in God, overcoming discouragement.

For Christians, Jesus Christ is the way that leads us to communion with the Father, He is the revelation of God and the Redeemer (Jn 1:18; 4:16). He is the light that offers us the condition of adopted children of God, but for this, we must live an exodus: convert, renounce darkness and come out of sin (Jn 1:11-13). The condition of children of God has dynamism: it is received as a grace, but it is lived as a task to be assumed daily; to live as we are: light, salt and leaven. Once we have received Christian initiation, we must grow towards the maturity of Christ and continue His mission in time and space. That is why the Church is also a journey (Acts 9:2; 18:25; 24:22) and our life as consecrated women is to follow Him who is the way.

What a joy to know that the Lord, in His love for us, speaks to us in this way, exhorts us to follow the path that He traces and accompanies us so that we may not go astray in our step especially now with so many things and numerous attractions of this world which will make us hesitate!

Every vocation is marked by signs of God's love that accompanies us and strengthens us. It is important to recover the first love when we received our call, to return with love constantly to the source that "provides" us with hope, and take up again with a greater love the decision to follow this path. What an example we have in our elderly sisters who in their journeys illuminated with the splendor of good works and also tested not just with few thorns. They become lessons of temperance and trust. Our vocational experience in its first steps, it is often common to face doubts and hesitations. There is even a "syndrome" of tremors and fears that tend to attack younger women.

How many times has consecrated life strayed from its true path, forgetting that we are "the prophetic wing of the Church" as the great theologian J.R.M. Tillard told us. And environmental secularism favors an idolatrous deviation that is expressed in the worship of the media, individualism which, as Pope Francis tells us speaking of our spiritual weakness: "makes us forget the "history of salvation", personal history with the Lord, the "first love". We see it in those who have lost the memory of their encounter with the Lord, in those who build walls around themselves and become, more and more, slaves to the customs and idols they have carved with their own hands'. It is that of those who, along the way, lose their inner serenity, energy and audacity and they hide under the papers becoming 'working machines' and not 'women of God'. It is dangerous to lose the human sensitivity indispensable to cry with those who cry and rejoice with those who rejoice.

Let nothing prevent us from going forward, just like athletes, each obstacle is a real challenge to take seriously the joy of being on our journey of grace and life that the Lord has gifted us. Today many of us are saddened by discouragement, lack of identity, lack of obedience, relativism in living our life of dedication and service, feeling helpless in the face of so many scandals.

How many of us would like to be able to live a consecration to the Lord determined by joy, generosity, in complete disposition to live the Gospel and make it a reality in our world in which we are both a sign of contradiction and a joyful proclamation of God's goodness.

Called to be a light of hope and salt that gives flavor to an insipid world, we must make an option for the youth who must be enthused by the Lord's scheme. We must encourage our sisters to offer the treasure of their long years of experience which are signs of vitality that overcome the sensation of boredom that paralyzes and despairs.

When it gets darker, the shadows appear, with greater certainty we know that the light of God enlightens everything and fills all with comfort and joy. The path that leads to God is the path of goodness which have already happened and which can continue to happen like the generosity and blessing that others have already traced before us; the examples of prayer, praise, solidarity, love for our brothers and sisters and charity incarnated in mercy.