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Friday, 19 July 2013

The Purification of A Generation of Children

One of my readers asked me why God did these two things: one, cause the Hebrews to wander in the Sinai wilderness for forty years. She thought that the adoration of the golden calf was dealt with at the foot of the mountain.

Two, she could not understand why the army of  St. Joshua had to kill Canaanites. (Also connected to this, would be the slaughter of the Philistines by St. David.)

Good questions.

Yes, God did punish many of those who built the golden calf by death immediately when Moses came down from the mountain. However, the problem of the interior lives of the Hebrews required that there souls be purified. Of what? As I heard in a sermon long ago, the bodies of the Hebrews were freed from slavery in the Exodus, but their souls had to be freed from the slavery of sin and idolatry in the Wandering.

The hardest thing for some of the Israelites was that they had to adore the Unseen God. Although God spoke to Moses, His Voice was not heard by all. There was too much sin and corruption in the souls of the Hebrews blocking the Voice of God.

One can see that 40 years is a generation. All of those who came out of Egypt, barring a few, like Joshua and Caleb, were not allowed entrance into Canaan, not merely because of punishment for idolatry, but because they simply were not strong enough to conquer evil.

One cannot conquer evil outwardly if one has not conquered it inwardly. This is what purification is all about. As in the purification series here on this blog, the process of allowing God to get rid of all sin, the proclivity to sin and to be filled with the Holy Spirit is necessary not only for personal holiness, but for making the Church and the society holy.

Without personal holiness, the Church is weak. God had to purify His People. They were purified to the point where their children were being formed in God's ways from little on.

This is what we need to do now. Form our children from little on to be pure so that they can overcome evil. Evil will thrive and grow without the purity of St. Joshua.

Secondly, the Canaanites were bad news. I have studied their culture.They sacrificed babies, usually the first-born, to Moloch, and archaeologists have found clay jars with the skeletons of infants in them. They would roll these jars into the mouth of the furnaces of Moloch. They also put the bodies of sacrificed children under the foundations of houses. By the way, an old missionary priest friend of mine told me the Maoris did the same thing with the bodies of their slain enemies. His church was built over a Maori home and the remains were found under every one of the main four posts. The idea that the dead gave strength to a house and protected it is not confined to the Canaanites.

Joshua's name is the same as that of Jesus. The name means Saviour. and Joshua, like many other leaders in the Old Testament, is a type of Christ. He tell us something about Christ and points to Christ's winning the battle over evil and death. He is a type of Christ for leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, as Christ leads us to Heaven. But, not without spiritual warfare.

And Joshua had to fight against cannibals.  I recommend reading the Book of Joshua.
But, the Book of Wisdom also refers to these bloody rituals.

1] O how good and sweet is thy spirit, O Lord, in all things! [2] And therefore thou chastisest them that err, by little and little: and admonishest them, and speakest to them, concerning the things wherein they offend: that leaving their wickedness, they may believe in thee, O Lord. [3] For those ancient inhabitants of thy holy land, whom thou didst abhor, [4] Because they did works hateful to thee by their sorceries, and wicked sacrifices, [5] And those merciless murderers of their own children, and eaters of men' s bowels, and devourers of blood from the midst of thy consecration, DR

The woman who asked the question could not understand offensive warfare dictated by God in the Old Testament.

For a context, many in 2013 have lost the idea of defense; that is, that in Catholic teaching, one may defend one's family, one's nation, and even one's property.

However, the offensive wars of the Old Testament, like the destruction of the five cities by God, two of which were Sodom and Gomorrah, are hard for modern Catholics to understand.

God called His People to a holiness and He called them to the Promised Land. His Will was to cleanse those lands of evil so that His People would thrive in holiness.

Christ does not call us to offensive war, except in prayer. Spiritual warfare needs spiritual weapons. However, we have a right to defend ourselves and a duty to defend those who are weak-children, women, the elderly.

As in The Mission, there are two ways to withstand evil. One is fighting, and one is witnessing peace. Both groups were right, but all but a few died.

Make pursuing the path to purification a priority in your lives. Teach your children and form them from the cradle. They shall see the age of the Canaanites. It is already upon us in some places.