(Google translation from Italian)
Saint Abraham - Patriarch of Israel
Ur of the Chaldees - Canaan, XIX century B.C.
In the Bible two titles primarily define the patriarch Abraham, a native of Mesopotamia, who settled in Haran, and from there emigrated to the land of Canaan. Friend of God, he is the father of all believers. As a friend of the gods, is a model of religious and moral life, who can intercede for himself and his allies. As a believer, lives in the tension between faith and promise.
He left his country guided by trust in the word of God, but circumstances seem to contradict the expectation: the patriarch is old, Sara is unable to have children.
"Abraham, however, believed in the Lord that him as righteousness." The dialectic of faith, however, is even more acute with the unprecedented demand to sacrifice Isaac. The journey of Abraham to Mount Moriah with his son becomes the paradigm of the dark night of the journey of faith into the darkness of God, who seems to deny the long-awaited promise and nurtured.
The obedience of the father answered the gesture of liberation of the Christian God is Paul in particular to reflect on the figure of Abraham. True to his conception, believes that the patriarch, justified by faith, is a source of blessing for humanity.
Also, just from a reflection on him Paul draws the conclusion that salvation comes not by works but by the gift of God accepted in faith. Luther insisted on this point, theologians, intellectuals and artists who were part of the reform of the sixteenth century. Model of faith for Jews and Christians, Abraham is revered by the followers of Islam.
Etymology: = great father Abraham, from Hebrew
Roman Martyrology: Commemoration of Saint Abraham, patriarch and father of all believers, who are called by God, left his home, Ur of the Chaldeans, and he set out for the land promised by God to him and his descendants. Appeared, then, all his faith in God, when, hoping against hope, he refused to sacrifice his only son Isaac, whom the Lord had given him an old man and a barren wife.
Father of all believers, so it is called the Old Testament patriarch Abraham and who represented humanity in the great covenant that God proposed.
With the story of Abraham begins the story of the patriarchs of Israel, which goes from the nineteenth to the seventeenth century BC, told from Chapter 12 to Chapter 50 in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.
He was a descendant of Shem, one of Noah's three sons and lived with his father Terah and with all the family in Ur of the Chaldeans, ancient city of Lower Mesopotamia (now Iraq).
Terah and Abraham and his wife Sarah and his nephew Lot, he left Ur to emigrate to the land of Canaan, until they came to Harran (Haran) and settled there for a long time, until the death of Terah, who lived 205 years. Here occurred the humanly inexplicable, God breaks into the ordinary life of Abraham and tells him calling him to a mission as big as mysterious: "Leave your country, your kindred and your father's house to the land I will show you. I will make of you a great nation and I will bless thee, and make thy name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and those who curse you, curse, and in you shall be blessed all the families of the earth. "
Abraham responds with faith, and always will be a man of faith, the first and the model of believers and as such is the father of all believers, not just the Jewish community, Christian and Islamic, but also to all human beings, a journey in search of God
At age 75 he took with him his wife Sarah and his nephew Lot, the son of the deceased brother Haran and moves in the manner of nomads with their livestock and servants, along the mountainous region of Palestine, reaching and staying in different places, Mamre near Hebron, Canaan, Sichen, Beersheba in the Negev, for a short time due to a famine in Egypt, and settled permanently in the desert south of the south.
As a result of disagreements between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot those who also had large herds and flocks, for the limited space available, Abraham and Lot parted, and Lot went then to the lush valley of the Jordan, planting his tents near Sodom, Abraham stayed in the land of Canaan.
At that time there was a raid across the Jordan and south of Palestine, a shipment of Eastern kings from the east of Babylon, where fighting and winning the petty kings of the Pentapolis (Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Sebain, Soar ) took booty and prisoners citizens, including Lot with his goods.
Abraham felt that, intervened with his men experienced in the arms and swooping at night on the invaders defeated them, freed Lot and the other captives, recovering the goods, chasing up over Damascus.
Of plunder, Abraham offered a tithe to Melchizedek, priest of the Most High King of Shalem, which had come to meet blessing and God confirmed the promise to give the land of Canaan to his descendants. Meanwhile, his wife Sarah being barren and old, to give him a son, gave to her husband's slave Hagar from which Ishmael was born, God renewed the covenant with Abraham, who was 99 years, and promised great rewards, then he said, "What will you give me? I do not see that you have given no seed: and that my house is my heir "and God in him" no man shall be your heir, but one that will be generated by you will be your heir, look at the sky and count the stars, the shall thy seed "and then through a sacrifice of animals, as was the custom among the Jews, God sealed his covenant with Abraham, sanctioned by the circumcision of Abraham, Ishmael and all the males of the group, to be perpetuated with every child born later.
God appeared to Abraham, yet the Oak of Mamre in the guise of three men to whom he offered food, drink and hospitality, the three predicted that Sarah would have a son from there one year, although very old, then said to be intended to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for the sins of their inhabitants.
Abraham interceded several times for them that were saved by virtue of the good present among them, the angels, because angels were, granted that even for only ten righteous people, they would have saved the city. But it is not found, the only Lot and his wife were spared, cities under a rain of fire and brimstone, burned all the inhabitants, and Lot and his wife fled, although it warned him not to, he looked back at the fire and turned into a pillar of salt.
Later Isaac was born, and Sarah gave away the slave Hagar and his son Ishmael, to the great sorrow of the patriarch, but to which the Lord also promised to Ishmael a great descent. At this point we arrive at the most dramatic moment in the life of Abraham, but also more revealing of his great faith in God, the Lord wanted to put it to the test yet, when Isaac was already called him and told him to take the child on the mountain in the territory of Moriah and sacrifice him, as it was used for animal sacrifices offered to God
Despite the pain for this request to sacrifice that one son was born so prodigiously in late old age and according to the promises of God, would have ensured his descendants, Abraham obeyed, but when he was about to accomplish with the knife, the ' killing of his son, an angel appeared stopped him saying, "Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him! Now I know that you fear God, seeing thou hast not withheld your only son. "
Looking up then Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns in the branches of a bush and took him, along with Isaac, I sacrificed on the altar improvised before. God through the angel promised him, for this obedience to His will, even when everything was questioned, every blessing, multiplication of seed as the sand of the beaches and the stars in the sky and be blessed all the nations of the earth.
Sarah died at 127 years, Abraham sent his servant Eliezer to Mesopotamia to find a wife for his son Isaac, who returned with Rebecca in the same family of Abraham. The patriarch then married Keturah, by whom he had six children, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah.
He died at 175 years in the land of Canaan, leaving heir Isaac and a privilege to other children. Her genealogy can be traced back to the Jews through Isaac, who lived 180 years and the Arabs through Ishmael, who lived 137 years, and its importance for Jews grew more and more, being considered the ancestor of man and the first covenant with God throughout the tradition that followed, the Lord is often called the "God of Abraham".
The dramatic episode of the sacrifice of Isaac, in which God manifests not like human sacrifice, has been at any time in the works of the greatest artists.
The Catholic Church reminds Abraham, father of all believers, to October 9.
Author: Antonio Borrelli