Fall 2007

Fidelity and the Memory of Israel, Through the Figures of Abraham and Isaac

Jean-Pierre Batut

“The world holds together, wrested from the shadows and from the nothing, by the presence of the Church. With Israel, we have become the guardians of history and the shepherds of creation.”

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are not principles to be comprehended, but existences to be perpetuated. The life of one who becomes a member of Abraham’s covenant perpetuates Abraham’s existence. For the present is not remote from the past: Abraham is always standing before God. (Abraham Heschel, God in Search of Man)

“To separate Jesus’ message from the context of the faith and the hope of the chosen people is to misunderstand it.”1 If there is some truth to this warning, then we would not be able to speak about the Christian sense of fidelity without inquiring into Israel’s experience of the matter. Or better: we would not be able to speak about Christ himself without asking how, in his own fidelity to God and to men, he recapitulates the fidelity of Israel.

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1Benedict XVI, “Jesus’ Will for the Church,” General Audience, 15 March 2006.