One of the images that quickly comes to mind when someone mentions the word ‘covenant’ to me is ‘contract.’ But this word does not really capture the full meaning of what a covenant really is. A contract has too many business-like connotations to truly capture the essence of what making a covenant does to a person.

When someone enters into a covenant with someone else what occurs, to the best of my ability to explain it here in such a short space, an exchange of persons. It is one person giving his or her self to another person. That is why we speak of the marriage covenant and not just a contract or business arrangement between two people, one the husband and the other the wife. A covenant touches the essence of who we are and opens it up to another a person.

When God covenants himself to Abraham or Moses or even to you and me through the person of Jesus His Son, He gives Himself to us in a unique and permanent way. Once a covenant is made, a person cannot withdraw his or herself from it as they have irrevocably given themselves over to another person in such a way that it is no longer possible to pull out of the relationship. This is why the Church teaches that marriage is an indissoluble Sacrament – if a person gets an annulment, the annulment is a declaration that there never was a covenant in the first place! Similarly, both Baptism and Ordination are covenantal type agreements that cannot be undone once made.

The covenant that God makes with us, His People, is a covenant of love. He gives Himself to us in order to draw us into the eternal relationship within the Trinity. The Scriptures are a record of this self-giving of God that culminates in the definitive revelation of His love in the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. All that Jesus says and does on earth is an invitation to enter into a life-giving covenant with the God who created us in the first place! What will our response be to this offer?

What is my understanding of the covenant that God has made with me and all humanity? Do I need to study the idea of covenant more fully in order to grow in my relationship with God?

Holy Spirit, open my mind more fully to the truth of the beauty of the relationship that God the Father invites me to enter into through His on Jesus. Grant me the grace to full give myself to you in love.