Andrea del Castagno: Queen Esther
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, 1450
Thursday of the First Week of Lent
Reading I: Est C:12, 14-16, 23-25
Then Esther prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel, saying: "My Lord, our King, you alone are God. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you (NAB, Est C:14)."
Let us pray.
Father, in the story that we rehearse, Queen Esther, desperate to save her people from slaughter, cries out to you as her only hope. We, your people, Lord, minister to one other in our interdependence. Each of us is his own person, distinct and separate, but we depend on one other for so many things. What we often overlook is that everything that we are and everything that we have comes from you. You, Lord, are the source of all. In certain moments, however, moments that only appear more critical than others, we become aware of ourselves as alone. The usual visible supports of our daily life melt away. Perhaps, like Jesus as he underwent his passion, we are even abandoned by all. There is no place and no one to whom we may turn.
Lord, we realized that every moment is crisis; every moment is privileged; but this is a reality that we often brush aside in the coming and going of everyday experience. It is only when all else has failed and we are thrown back upon ourselves with no other human, no other force, to help, that we finally face up to what is the reality of every moment. Ultimately, Lord, you are our only help in every situation. Your help is often mediated to us by others but in the end that assistance, the life and the power that are our salvation, comes from you.
Lord, may I learn from you what you always teach me through your Word that every moment is crisis, that all that I am and all that I have comes from you and that you never abandon me, ever, but are always there for me offering me your life and power in the Spirit through your Word.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.