Behind the title: what is meant by The Offering of Isaac
The day Isaac died, his mother was attending a training for catechists, and on that day–even at the very moments of Isaac’s death–they were studying the sacrifice of Isaac. The instructor asked what was significant about Abraham’s faith, and in the end she said that the attendees left out the two most important things: that Abraham could laugh and that he could wonder at the stars.
Both of these qualities came to the fore at the revelation that Abraham would receive a son. The stars symbolized his descendants, and he laughed at the amazing Providence of God, that he should receive a son in his old age. This is why his son was called Isaac, at it means, “He laughs.” But Abraham was willing to offer the gift of his son back to God in sacrifice because he knew God’s love would prevail over all.
These qualities: the capacity to laugh and the ability to wonder characterized the faith of our Isaac. Yet he also embraced, like Abraham, the call to offer all his worldly joys back to God.
Isaac considered Abraham’s offering of Isaac a few times in his prayer journal. Ultimately, what he embraced was his own self-offering. This is what enabled Isaac, paradoxically, to embrace life with such exuberance. This was the source of his generosity and his joy.
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