Genesis 22:2

He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you."

Today's passage is the first one in which the word "love" — the greatest of the three supernatural or "theological" virtues — is used in Scripture.  It is both telling and haunting that it is instantly coupled, not with warm and fuzzy platitudes about God as the big Care Bear in the Sky, but with the stark and frightening revelation that love means sacrifice.  For that is what love is: the offering of self for another.  Abraham had to learn and live this, not because God was a bloodthirsty monster (in fact, God stops the sacrifice once Abraham's test is complete), but because God was taking the first step toward revealing that it is He, not Abraham, Who was to offer His Son, His only Son, Whom He loved.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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