Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Wednesday Of The Fifth Week Of Lent 2021

Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul;

21 Which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures;

22 Which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave?

23 Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?

24 For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters.

25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.

26 I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.

--Job 3:20-26 (KJV)

We have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, sot that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh.

--2 Corinthians 4:7-11

The scholar and bishop Krister Stendahl introduced me to the concept of Paul's "robust conscience."  He pointed out that Paul was not groveling when he wrote about the "miserable sinner that I am." It is Augustine who taught us to read Paul that wasy; a way wholly alien to Paul's understanding of his state.  The same "robust conscience" is seen in Job.  He moans aloud after everything is taken from him but his wife and three friends; who wouldn't?  But Job insists, to the end, that he is righteous and not at fault; And he is right; and he is proven right.

Observe those who hold erroneous opinions concerning the grace of Jesus Christ, which has come to us, and see how they run counter to the mind of God! They concern themselves with neither works of charity, nor widows, nor orphans, nor the distressed, nor those in prison or out of it, nor the hungry or thirsty.

--Ignatius of Antioch, 2nd century

It is in this darkness, when there is nothing left in us that can please or comfort our own minds, when we seem to be useless and worthy of all contempt, when we seem to have failed, when we seem to be destroyed and devoured, it is then that the deep and secret selfishness that is too close to us for us to identify is stripped away from our souls.  Is is in this darkness that we find liberty, it is in this abandonment that we are made strong.  This is the night which empties us and makes us pure.

--Thomas Merton

Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling?

2 As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work:

3 So am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me.

4 When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day.

5 My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome.

6 My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope.

Job 7:1-6 (KJV)

When we are really honest with ourselves, we must admit that our lives are all that really belong to us.  So it is how we use our lives that determines what kind of people we are.

--Cesar Chavez

No comments:

Post a Comment