Those who grew up in slavery, except for Caleb and Joshua, did not enter the Promised Land.
To go from slavery of sin to purity of heart takes a long time, and a will to persevere. Most of the Hebrews on the way through Sinai kept falling back into sin, and the greatest sin, not trusting in Divine Providence. Even Moses sinned this sin by striking the rock three times instead of one.
When Moses renewed the covenant with the Hebrews in Sinai, he asked them to dedicate the first-born of their animals, as well as the first-born son, to God. The sign of this covenant was, and still is for the Jews, circumcision.
Circumcision supplanted first-child killing in the sacrifices to Moloch, to which I have referred on this blog before. Circumcision, the sign of the covenant, took the place of the common pagan custom of throwing one's first-born son into the fires of the demons of Canaan.
The pain of circumcision leaves after a relatively short time. But, the sign remains for the entire life of the male. God, through Moses, demanded a little suffering in dedication, and the people understood the difference. They were not to do human sacrifice.
Purity of heart begins with obedience and the will to follow God through the desert. This is from Lauds.
May our Lenten walk be both a cry for purity and the willingness to go into the dry land searching for God alone. Here is today's Gospel.
Some people do not want to embrace suffering. They do not want to face any suffering, either their own or another's. It is too hard to step out of one's comfort zone and be involved with other people. But, the People of God crossing Sinai were not alone, and carried each other along the way, from slavery to freedom.
To accept suffering is to allow one's self to enter into the Sinai experience.of another person. This experience does not bring poetry into one's life, but hard work. Cooperating with grace may be more difficult for some of us than others.
I belong, as my readers know, to the Society of the Most Sorrowful Mother, a third-order dedicated to praying for those who are in the worst type of slavery-demonic oppression, obsession and possession.
For those in these straits, life may seem like a desert experience, with rocks, heat, sand, long endless journeys which seem to lead to nowhere. They suffer daily and need prayers daily. One must be willing to enter into the desert with them and pray. This is what Our Lady did at the foot of the Cross. She entered into the suffering of her Son, and into our suffering. But, we all have freedom because of the suffering of Christ and Mary, our Co-Redemptorix. She took on herself suffering for the sake of her people, the Jews, and for the sake of all of us. Her walk to Calvary mirrors the walk to the Promised Land.
Remember it took the Israelites forty years to get to Mount Sinai, which normally would have taken forty days max for that many people to get to Sinai, and another 116 days to get to Gaza or so. One can see how the Wandering for forty years was God's Will and not the terrain. The total walking time could have been as short, without God's intervention of punishment and purification, of 156 days or so. Given the lack of modern roads, one could add another 20 days or so, and state that within 176 days of leaving Egypt, going to Sinai, and then to Gaza, the People of God could have been in the Promised Land in half a year. This suffering of these people was a really, long time. All died except for the chosen few who were pure of heart. God punished their sins with death, and with not being allowed to go into the new land prepared for them. Such is purgatory for us unless we circumcise our hearts.
From Joshua, Chapter One: