CCC 210 After Israel’s sin, when the people had turned away from God to worship the golden calf, God hears Moses’ prayer of intercession and agrees to walk in the midst of an unfaithful people, thus demonstrating his love.1 When Moses asks to see his glory, God responds “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you my name ‘the LORD’ [YHWH].”2 Then the LORD passes before Moses and proclaims, “YHWH, YHWH, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”; Moses then confesses that the LORD is a forgiving God.3
CCC 2577 From this intimacy with the faithful God, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love,4 Moses drew strength and determination for his intercession. He does not pray for himself but for the people whom God made his own. Moses already intercedes for them during the battle with the Amalekites and prays to obtain healing for Miriam.5 But it is chiefly after their apostasy that Moses “stands in the breach” before God in order to save the people.6 The arguments of his prayer – for intercession is also a mysterious battle – will inspire the boldness of the great intercessors among the Jewish people and in the Church: God is love; he is therefore righteous and faithful; he cannot contradict himself; he must remember his marvelous deeds, since his glory is at stake, and he cannot forsake this people that bears his name.
1 Cf. Ex 32; 33: 12-17.
2 Ex 33:18-19.
3 Ex 34:5-6; cf. 34:9.
4 Cf. Ex 34:6.
5 Cf. Ex 17:8-12; Num 12:13-14.
6 Ps 106:23; cf. Ex 32:1-34:9.