Of Pharaoh and Fear
hear the whisperings
of many: "Terror on
every side! Denounce!
let us denounce him!"
All those who were my
friends are on the watch
for any misstep of mine.
"Perhaps he will be
trapped; then we can
prevail, and take our
vengeance on him." But
the Lord is with me
we had said, is the journey out
of Egypt, out of sin. We flee
but we are pursued, as God's Chosen
People were pursued by Pharaoh’s
army, reluctant to release the slaves
– just as sin is reluctant to let
go of us who were once the slaves
to sin. We struggle away from it,
we flee Egypt, sin ... but it sends
out its hordes after us.
Desire could no longer keep us in
slavery. We broke from the desire
and it no longer has power over
us. How else, then, bring the fugitives
back to the Task Master, to the
sin they have spurned?
Desire, concupiscence, has failed.
If they cannot be lured back to
sin through desire, perhaps they
can be brought back through fear!
Desire or fear, it matters not.
The end is the same: slavery once
more. Not only is the desert dry,
but on its horizon it is endless.
It is death. Who would flee the
oases of Egypt for death in the
desert? Even as it pursues us from
behind, sin places this wall before
us: and we find ourselves hemmed
in on all sides: fear thunders behind
us like the very chariots of Pharaoh,
and hopelessness looms ahead of
us in the desert of our despair,
in the nothingness toward which
we run for our lives ... even as
we see our own bones bleached in
the sand beneath us.
on every side!”
Who has not known it? That frantic
plight between hopelessness and
fear? You flee for your life at
the cost of your death!
Who has found the answer within
the Lord is with me ...”
Him alone have we been delivered
of our desires that kept us enslaved
to sin. It was not in us. It was
Through Him alone will we be delivered
from our fears that would bind us
as surely as sin and at same price
of death — a two-fold death through
sin and the fear that would bind
us and deliver us to it.
He vanquished our desire for Egypt.
He will now vanquish our fear in
the desert. What would bind us twice
will be vanquished twice!
Oh, yes, the storm clouds of the
chariots of fear rise in fury behind
us! But a Pillar of Fire, towering
to the heights of Heaven itself,
rises up before us from the nothingness
of the desert and it will scatter
our fears like chaff in the wind.
What would bind us through fear
will hurl us to freedom!
... because we have sat in the desert
and trusted in the Lord, our God,
before Whom the Pharaoh Fear himself
flees in trembling ...
Boston Catholic Journal