In light of remarks made by Francis the Loquacious on-board Spirit of Vatican II One en route to Krakow for Newchurch Woodstock 2016, I’d like to present a brief Biblical snapshot of the origins of Islam.
When asked to comment on the brutal murder of Fr. Jacques Hamel at the hands of faithful Muslims, His Humbleness said:
A word that – about what Father Lombardi was saying – is often repeated is ‘insecurity.’ But the real word is ‘war’… When I speak of war, I speak of real war, not of a war of religion, no. There is war for interests, there is war for money, there is war for the resources of nature, there is war for the domination of peoples: this is war. Someone may think: ‘He is talking about a war of religion.’ No. All the religions, we want peace. Others want war. Do you understand?
Turning now to Sacred Scripture, we discover that Abraham had two sons; Ishmael, who was born of the bondwoman, Agar, the other, Isaac, born of his wife, Sarah.
The former was the result of a human attempt at securing an heir, as well as the blessings that God had promised when first he called Abraham (then Abram) out of Ur; the latter was truly a miracle as God made good on His promises.
And what precisely were those promises?
And the Lord said to Abram: Go forth out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and out of thy father’s house, and come into the land which I shall shew thee. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and magnify thy name, and thou shalt be blessed. I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee, and in thee shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. (Gen 12:1-3)
Isaac – not Ishamel – is the son of promise; the one with whom and through whom the covenant would rest and endure.
This God made perfectly clear after the birth of Ishmael; even prior to the birth of Isaac:
And Abraham said to God: O that Ishmael may live before thee. And God said to Abraham: Sara thy wife shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name Isaac, and I will establish my covenant with him for a perpetual covenant, and with his seed after him. (Gen 17:18-19)
Isaac had two sons; fraternal twins, Jacob and Esau. At birth, there were indications that already in the womb the two were grappling with one another. Esau came first, but just behind was Jacob who was clutching his heel.
Esau, even though he was the firstborn, despised his birthright; he was far more concerned with satisfying his urges and other earthly matters.
Not only did Esau allow himself to be tricked out of his father’s blessing by Jacob, he married from among the Canaanites as an act of rebellion.
You see, there was a Divine prohibition against marrying from among the Canaanites and other nations of unbelievers, and for good reason:
Thou shalt make no league with them, nor shew mercy to them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them. Thou shalt not give thy daughter to his son, nor take his daughter for thy son: For she will turn away thy son from following me, that he may rather serve strange gods, and the wrath of the Lord will be kindled, and will quickly destroy thee. (cf Deuteronomy 2-4)
Precisely who among the Canaanites did Esau marry?
And these are the generations of Esau, the same is Edom. Esau took wives of the daughters of Chanaan: Ada the daughter of Elon the Hethite, and Oolibama the daughter of Ana, the daughter of Sebeon the Hevite: And Basemath, the daughter of Ishmael, sister of Nabajoth. (Gen 36:1-3)
That’s right; Esau (father of the Edomites) married the daughter of Ishmael. We’ll return to this unholy marriage later. For now, let’s jump forward to the fullness of time.
Writing to the Galatians, St. Paul recalled the origins of the lines of Isaac and Ishmael, and more importantly, he went on to tell of their relationship:
For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman and the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh: but he of the free woman was by promise. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born according to the flesh persecuted him that was after the spirit: so also it is now. (Gal 4:22-23, 28-29)
[NB: As is often the case, the passage cited above, in its fullness, is multi-layered. Verses 24-27 (not shown) speak to the relationship between those who cling to the earthly Jerusalem (in bondage under the Old Law) and those who dwell in the New Jerusalem (Christians) and are thus free. No doubt this is highly relevant considering the relationship between modern day churchmen and the Jews, but for the present discussion we’ll stay focused on the Ishmaelites.]
In this Epistle of St. Paul (inspired by Almighty God Himself) there is much insight to be gleaned concerning the relationship between Christians (the children of Isaac, the son of promise) and those in the line of Ishmael (son of the bondwoman).
It’s important to recognize that St. Paul isn’t speaking here of genetics. The opposition between the two parties as he describes it has its origins not in flesh and blood, nor in geographic, economic, political or any other such thing; rather, it concerns the relationship between the “spiritual” descendants of Isaac and Ishmael.
This is made clearer in St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans:
For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants; but “Through Isaac shall your descendants be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are reckoned as descendants. (Romans 9:6-8)
In other words, the relationship under discussion concerns religion, and it is a relationship defined by persecution such as it is inflicted upon the followers of Christ by those who serve “strange gods;” like the peoples who claim spiritual patrimony with Ishmael, the Muslims.
Even in St. Paul’s lifetime, that persecution sometimes involved beheading.
The family of Herod descended from among the Edomites; the tribe of Esau that by intermarriage is intertwined with the line of Ishmael.
Herod Antipas, who married his sister-in-law, Herodias (also of the family of Herod by birth), in violation of God’s law, imprisoned John the Baptist.
It was this same Herod who succumbed to the request of the daughter of Herodias for the head of John the Baptist, the cousin of Our Blessed Lord and the prophet who pointed to the long awaited Messiah saying, “Behold the Lamb of God.”
The beheading of St. John the Baptist was carried out for the simple reason that he defended God’s law in the face of Herod’s sin; i.e., he was killed for his religion, just as Fr. Hamel was.
Bear in mind, when St. Paul writes of the persecution, “so also it is now,” he isn’t suggesting that perhaps things will not be so tomorrow; rather, he is speaking of a tension that is an enduring reality in this life.
Certainly, the case can be made that the relationship between the followers of Christ and all who reject Him (i.e., not only the Muslims who proudly claim Ishmael as their own) is one characterized by persecution.
Even so, Sacred Scripture attests that this persecution relates to Muslims, the descendants of Ishmael, in a particularly profound way.
Speaking of Ishmael while he was still in Agar’s womb, God said:
He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen. (Gen 16:12)
What else did God have to say of this wild ass of a man who will be a menace to humanity?
And God heard the voice of the boy [Ishmael]: and an angel of God called to Agar [his mother] from heaven, saying: What art thou doing, Agar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the boy, from the place wherein he is. Arise, take up the boy, and hold him by the hand, for I will make him a great nation. (Gen 21:17-18)
Contrast this with the promise made to Abraham in Genesis 12 (referenced above) wherein “blessing” is mentioned no less than five times.
Notice that God (via His angel) does not say of Ishmael, “I will make him a great religion;” rather, He foretells only that a great “nation” will descend from his loins; one that is not described as a source of blessing.
Insofar as Scripture is concerned, the “greatness” of a given nation does not necessarily suggest virtue; rather, it may also refer to the greatness of its evil. For example:
Thus says the LORD: “Behold, a people is coming from the north country, a great nation is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth. They lay hold on bow and spear, they are cruel and have no mercy, the sound of them is like the roaring sea; they ride upon horses, set in array as a man for battle, against you, O daughter of Zion!” (Jeremiah 6: 22-23)
The “great nation” of which the Lord warns through the prophet Jeremiah is none other than Babylon.
“They lay hold on bow…”
As an aside: This might call to mind the vision that accompanied the Third Secret of Fatima:
…having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he [the Holy Father] was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him.
Alas, this is another story for another day.
So, where is modern day Babylon?
Iraq, the same land overrun by those in the line of that wild ass of a man, Ishmael, who was born of the bondwoman, the Muslims. Having drunk deeply from the demonic influence of the false prophet Muhammad, they are at war with the sons of the free woman – the same who profess Jesus Christ.
In his embarrassing attempt to insist that this war is not one of religion, Francis used the most telling of words. Did you notice?
“All the religions, we want peace.” (This, by the way, is an accurate translation of the Italian, “Tutte le religioni, vogliamo la pace.”)
Never mind that his assertion is utterly preposterous on its face; I’m more impressed by the way he made it:
“All the religions, we want peace.” [Emphasis added.]
There’s a glimmer of truth being revealed in this statement.
You see, in his heart of hearts, Francis numbers himself as one among the collective of all religions; i.e., the generic lot of humanist do-gooders whose earthbound creed can be boiled down to nothing more compelling than COEXIST or “Can’t we all just get along?”
He isn’t really “a son of the Church.” Far from it; he is part of a quasi-religious movement that concerns itself with such passing things as money, nature, and power.
Men like Francis have been telling us for years that Islam is a religion of peace, and that the evil deeds that are carried out by its followers – people who allegedly “together with us adore the one, merciful God” (cf LG 16) – have no religious motive, but rather are these acts committed in service to political, economic or social concerns.
Sacred Scripture (read: God) tells us otherwise.