By Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, Catholic Archbishop of Sydney.

In our darkest hour faith can come back to life.

The poor and the needy ask for water, and there is none, their tongue is parched with thirst. I, the Lord, will answer them, I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them. I will make rivers well up on barren heights, and fountains in the midst of valleys; turn the wilderness into a lake, and dry ground into waterspring. Isaiah 41:17-18

Australia in is drought, terrible drought. Without major rains and major cuts in water consumption in the next few months and years, we may face more severe restrictions in the future. Only then, I suspect, will we really begin to appreciate the preciousness of water, begin to value it as the basis of all life.

Our ancestors interpreted drought as a sign, as a loving God’s attempt to shock Israel to her senses, to bring her to open her eyes and see how wonderfully generous God has been to her all along. At such times for us, as for Israel, our faith in loving providence is sorely tried; God can seem very distant, his promised coming to help us, rather slow and mysterious. It’s easy enough to love and trust God when things are going well; much harder when we feel abandoned, confused, dry, frightened. Yet ironically it is precisely when we are at our lowest ebb, our most desperate, that faith can come back to life; at the very point where we feel we can no longer cope on our own, that our own resources are not enough, that we lean on something – Someone – greater.

That Someone insists that fear and anxiety, darkness and death, can never be the last word. For Jesus Christ the Eternal Word is not darkness and death but Life and Light; the Word was and is the true light come into a darkened world, a light that shines in darkness, a light that darkness can never overpower. We have seen his glory, glory that is his as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. And so, as we join together in prayer, we as Christians are called to a sustained watchfulness and prayer, and to an active faith that makes God’s kingdom come now, on earth, as it is in heaven.

Holy One of Israel, we open ourselves to you; do not abandon us, but answer our prayer. Water and till the soil of our hearts, plant our seeds and seedlings; prepare us to receive you anew.

Great are You Lord – All Sons & Daughters