Friday, September 9, 2011

The Cry of Job

The plaints of Job: how appropriate for sinful man.  To-day, being Friday in the first week of September, the Lessons at Matins in the Dominican Breviary are as follows:

Militia est vita hominis… usque ad tenebras.  (Job 7:1-4)

The life of man upon earth is a warfare, and his days are like the days of a hireling.  As a servant longeth for the shade, as the hireling looketh for the end of his work; so I also have had empty months, and have numbered to myself wearisome nights.  If I lie down to sleep, I shall say: When shall arise? and again I shall look for the evening, and shall be filled with sorrows even till darkness.

Induta est caro mea… et non subsistam. (Job 7:5-8) 

My flesh is clothed with rottenness and the filth of dust, my skin is withered and drawn together.  My days have passed more swiftly than the web is cut by the weaver, and are consumed without any hope.  Remember that my life is but wind, and my eyes shall not return to see good things.  Nor shall the sight of man behold me: thy eyes are upon me, and I shall be no more.

Sicut consumitur nubes… amaritudine animæ meæ. (Job 7:9-11)

As a cloud is consumed, and passeth away: so he that shall go down to hell shall not come up.  Nor shall he return my more into his house, neither shall his place know him any more.  Wherefore I will not spare my mouth, I will speak in the affliction of my spirit: I will talk with the bitterness of my soul.

When I took up the Office to pray, I was struck by these readings, which are so similar to those passages also from Job appointed for the Office of the Dead.  They are the cries, I repeat, of sinful man, sinful man awaiting his Redeemer: "I know that my Redeemer liveth..."

Only a few days ago, I heard from my sister a very sad tale: the 16 year old daughter of a friend's sister had done away with herself.  That poor lost soul had been most unhappy recently, lured into drink and drugs and treated cruelly.  Her mother found her body – she had hanged herself.

"...when a divine instruction and the hope of life eternal are wanting, man's dignity is most grievously lacerated, as current events often attest; riddles of life and death, of guilt and of grief go unsolved with the frequent result that men succumb to despair."  (Gaudium et spes, 21.)

Of your charity, dear reader, pray for God's mercy in this terrible circumstance.

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