On Eagles’ Wings

Russian icon of the Crucifixion by Dionysius, ca. 1500, Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow

Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent

Isaiah 40:25-31; Matthew 11:28-30

In a world of constant change and becoming, faith in an immutably good, true, beautiful and eternal God of Love is an anchor in the midst of crashing waves. The mind finds rest in the immutable Source of all that exists. Behind the ups and downs and changes in season, the One who is Three perpetually shines. The Blessed Trinity has never come into existence and will never go out of existence.

To whom can you liken me as an equal?
says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high
and see who created these:
He leads out their army and numbers them,
calling them all by name.
By his great might and the strength of his power
not one of them is missing!
Why, O Jacob, do you say,
and declare, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?

Isaiah 40:25-27

Look to the stars “on high,” says the Lord through the prophet. In a world of warring tribes and nations, the host of heavenly bodies in the galaxies is compared to a well-ordered “army” under the care of a wise general. In contrast, the children of Jacob and Israel have little awareness of the divine presence and grow fainthearted in the midst of trials and adversity. 

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is God from of old,
creator of the ends of the earth.

Isaiah 40:28

A rhetorical question. Every Hebrew child grows up hearing, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” (Shema Yisrael from Deuteronomy 6:4) in the morning, evening, and at bedtime.

He does not faint or grow weary,
and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.
He gives power to the faint,
abundant strength to the weak.

Isaiah 40:28-29

The words of Isaiah were uniquely fulfilled in the person of the God-man, Jesus Christ. In his human nature Jesus hungered, thirsted, grew weary, and staggered under the weight of the Cross on his scourged and bloody shoulders. In his divine nature, he was impassible and perpetually of one will with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The human and divine wills were united by Jesus in his person so that he trod the dusty road of Calvary without fainting.

“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me,” suffering humanity implores. Grace renews human strength with the resolve, “yet, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42). 

Though young men faint and grow weary,
and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength,
they will soar on eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.

Isaiah 40:29-31

The divine light of the Transfiguration shines from the body of the crucified Christ in the Russian icon of the Crucifixion by Dionysius. The Passion and Transfiguration meet at the axis of the God-man, Jesus Christ, in whom suffering is divinized.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

-GMC

2 thoughts on “On Eagles’ Wings

  1. fdan

    Dear GMC, thank you for your inspiring reflection. It inspires me to believe that the Divine Light also shines in those who pray for others, putting others before themselves in the example of our crucified Lord. Please accept my daily prayers for you before an image of the crucified Christ in the Russian icon of the Crucifixion by Dionysius. May God bless you.

    Like

  2. GMC Post author

    The Lord bless you and keep you!
    The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
    The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace! (Numbers 6:24-26)

    Like

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