|The Lord, the Captain of the Hosts|
I have been meditating over a period of time on Joshua 5 and 6. Those trained in Jesuit spirituality told me a long time ago to stay with a passage until the Holy Spirit speaks through the words.
I have always liked Joshua. I love his courage and faith. He has military gifts, and most importantly, he is pure. He does not sin. Unlike Moses, the great friend of God who sinned and therefore, could not enter into the Promised Land, Joshua stays away from sin. He enters the Promised land.
Some Catholics are perplexed by the fact that Joshua, a saint, is a man of war. But, so is St. David and the great prophet St. Elijah, who killed the prophets of Baal.
Sometimes, we need warriors.
Why I have been intrigued by these passages, which include the fall of Jericho, centers on two sections.
The first I have mentioned before on this blog and I mention it again today.
Here it is again:
Joshua 5:13-15 DR
And when Josue was in the field of the city of Jericho, he lifted up his eyes, and saw a man standing over against him: holding a drawn sword, and he went to him, and said: Art thou one of ours, or of our adversaries?And he answered: No: but I am prince of the host of the Lord, and now I am come. Josue fell on his face to the ground. And worshipping, add: What saith my lord to his servant? Loose, saith he, thy shoes from off thy feet: for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Josue did as was commanded him.
Joshua is quick to adore The Man, recognizing him as Moses recognized God in the Burning Bush. But, here are some differences. Firstly, Joshua confronts this Man of War. Joshua is not afraid of the Truth. Secondly, he immediately worships the Person, which indicates that this is not St. Michael, but the Son of God.The ancients commentators state that this manifestation of Christ is as we shall see Him at the Second Coming-as a Man of War-the Captain of the Lord of Hosts.
Joshua is instantly in adoration and obedience, indicating that he is in sanctifying grace. He recognizes God.
Then, Joshua asks for God's Will. It was the Will of God that Joshua worshipped Him and then, conquered Jericho and all of Canaan. Notice the order of these events.
Some Catholics are pacifists. Some do not believe in capital punishment. Some cannot understand even self-defence, much less entering a county and conquering the inhabitants. But, this is what God commanded of Joshua. He obeyed and quickly. That is one reason I love Joshua.
|The shape of ancient Jericho|
But, what is the personal point of a meditation? One does not merely meditate on a passage for historical clarity, but for a personal application.
Joshua meeting the Lord of Hosts is like us meeting Christ when He comes again in glory, with the angels and saints. But, there is something else here.
The Captain of the Armies of God reveals His Plan to Joshua. Only after adoration does Christ reveal His Will. We adore Him and He reveals Himself in His Love. Only in the Presence of God when we lay down our hearts, minds and wills does God reveal His Will to us.
Between the battle and the victory, there is adoration. Between the purgative and illuminate stages, there is the battle to lay down our wills. Between the illuminative and unitive stage, there is the revelation of Love. These steps cannot be skipped or changed in order.
It all has to do with purity of heart. Joshua more than many other Old Testament heroes is pure of heart. So too, we must allow God to purify our hearts.
Purity, adoration, God's Will. Victory, which is action, comes after contemplation. If you are acting, taking part in the new evangelization without a deep basis of prayer, you are probably wasting time and effort. Look at Joshua and let God purify your heart and mind, so that it is God's Work that you are doing and not your own.
Also, we cannot come up against the evil of Satan successfully without God's strong help. Do not try to this or you will either be deceived, or you will be overcome. Joshua\s purity of heart allowed him to fight with the Lord of Hosts against the Canaanites, who, by the way, sacrificed their babies to Moloch for prosperity. Does this sound familiar?
One of my few published poems is on this theme. If I can find a copy online, I shall show you.