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Job 28: The Hope of God’s Wisdom

Monday, August 20, 2018

God says: You have asked me this question many times and I delight in your curiosity. It gladdens my heart when I hear you ask for clarity. I praise you for your persistence, courage, and desire for authenticity. Hear now the voice of my servant Job.

Job says: But where, oh where, will [mortals] find Wisdom?
    Where does Insight hide?
Mortals don’t have a clue,
    haven’t the slightest idea where to look.

God says: Job knows that the search for wisdom tempts some to lose hope, others to argue over meaning, and still others to divide the faithful. When your search finds you creating sides and assigning blame, think about the origin of your emotions. Do they come from fear or from compassion? A willfulness to control or a willingness to collaborate?

Job says: So where does Wisdom come from?
    And where does Insight live?
It can’t be found by looking, no matter
    how deep you dig, no matter how high you fly.
If you search through the graveyard and question the dead,
    they say, ‘We’ve only heard rumors of it.

God says: Listen to the words of Job. He suffered great physical pain yet remained in me. His friends and family offered well-meaning advice based on confusion, still he relied on me. Job’s search for understanding and wisdom bring him directly to me.

Job says: God alone knows the way to Wisdom,
    God knows the exact place to find it.

God asks: Are you willing to listen to the knowledge Job gains about the path to wisdom?

Job says: Here it is!
    Fear-of-the-Lord—that’s Wisdom,
    and Insight means shunning evil.

God says: Come to me when burdens weigh you down. Rely on me when anger and anxiety take hold of you. Remain in me when revenge and fear push and pull you in the way of foolishness. Always rely on me.

Job’s search is long and arduous. The wisdom he finds is precious and pure. The lesson he teaches us may be difficult to take in, but it is reliable, full, and positive. Let us step into the hope of God’s wisdom today.


Tomorrow, thirsting for wisdom. 

Image from: https://chartcons.com/100-deep-philosophical-questions-may-just-never-answer/ 


Job 25-27The Storm Wind

Hurricane Gertrude hits the U.K. in 2017

Sunday, August 19, 2018

This weekend we have considered Job’s plight, and Job’s questions. We have observed Job’s interactions with his friends, and we have witnessed his fidelity, hope, and righteousness before insurmountable odds and circumstances. Today we return to a favorite from December 9, 2010 as we look at the next few chapters of this story.

Job refuses to bend to social pressure.  He refuses to cave in to public opinion.  He remains faithful to God.  He knows that only God has the power to give us immortal breath, only God has a love that will sustain us through all misery.   He knows that only God brings true and eternal serenity and joy.  Job responds to God’s call – even when this call comes to him through storm clouds.

Father Alfred Delp was a German priest condemned to death by Nazis in WWII.  He died in 1945.  His words are today’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation, and they refer to John the Baptist who, like Job, sought God, heard God, and were condemned for conveying God’s message. They were tossed by storms, but remained faithful to God.

When the Christian is asked, or asks himself, “Who are you?” this is primarily a questioning of his reality.  Are you a person whose concerns are with God?  Are you a person of whom it can be said that your heart and your mind are filled with a peace that surpasses all comprehension? . . . [T]he Calling-God [is one] who calls out in the midst of the wilderness through voices of men.  He has filled them, and their very being documents that such perfected people are among us, sent by God. 

Job tells us that only through, and with, and in God, can we weather the deadly winds whipped up by the storm.  His friends do not bring the voice of God to him, yet he persists in faith.

Fr. Delp and John the Baptist are destroyed by the winds.  Job is not.  Yet all three men tell us who God is by the manner in which they live their lives in the tempest, in the wilderness, and through the maelstrom.  What documentation of our faith to we show others when we weather the storms of life?  What is our story?  How do we live it when we are buffeted by the winds of the storm?


Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 9.12 (2010). Print. 

Tomorrow, in praise of wisdom.

Image from: https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/639377/Gertrude-chaos-hurricane-force-winds-transport-power-lines


Job 24: Violence on Earth

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Yesterday we reflected on Job’s desire to sit with the Creator in order to engage in an intimate conversation. In an age when suffering is connected with sin, Job suffers doubly, having to endure pain while at the same time defending his innocence to his family and friends. Yet he persists, remains faithful, and recognizes the small pearls of hope that come to him. When God has tested me, I shall come out like gold.

Today we watch as Job asks:

Why doesn’t God set a time for judging,
    a day of justice for those who serve him?

He observes a litany of violence taking place around him.

People move property lines to get more land;
    they steal sheep and put them with their own flocks.
They take donkeys that belong to orphans,
    and keep a widow’s ox till she pays her debts.
They prevent the poor from getting their rights
    and force the needy to run and hide. So the poor, like wild donkeys,
    search for food in the dry wilderness.

Evil people make slaves of fatherless infants
    and take the children of the poor in payment for debts.

The litany continues until Job’s friend Zophar intercedes with his own assertions and questions.

For a while the wicked prosper,
    but then they wither like weeds,
    like stalks of grain that have been cut down.
Can anyone deny that this is so?
Can anyone prove that my words are not true?

As Job struggles to understand the conflict between good and evil, so do we. We may be like Zophar who accepts the assumption that all evildoers suffer in God’s time rather than our own. Or we may be more like Job who wants a conversation with the Almighty as he looks for authentic answers to his questions. Zophar seems content with allowing evil to proceed unchecked and unchallenged while Job goes deeper. Perhaps this is because Job, the innocent, faithful, hopeful one, suffers while Zophar continues in a comfortable world that makes sense to him.

The lesson we might take away today is this . . . even if we cannot change the evil around us, we might still question God. Even if we do not engender or encourage the violence that surrounds us, we might still commit our own small acts of mercy and justice. And even if we cannot make sense of the world’s great economy and plan, we might keep in mind that all belongs to and is of God.

In La Biblia de América, Chapters 23 & 24 of Job bear a title that translates to: Between Desire and Fear of the Encounter. Not only do these words describe the viewpoints we see today, they also present us with significant questions . . . Are we content to remain in our comfort zone of knowing, or are we willing to step into the world’s violence to represent a path of peace? Do we look for an intimate encounter with God despite the suffering we see and experience, or do we fear this marvelous gift of intimacy with God? What is it we seek?

Job asks: Why doesn’t God set a time for judging, a day of justice for those who serve him?

Perhaps that time is now.


Tomorrow, Bildad asks, how can a mortal be righteous before God?

When we compare various translations with the citations from THE GOOD NEWS TRANSLATION above, we open a dialog with God. 

LA BIBLIA DE LA AMÉRICA. 8th. Madrid: La Casa de la Biblia, 1994. Print.

Image from: https://www.sapiens.org/evolution/human-violence-evolution/


Job 23: Bitter Complaint

Jan the Elder Lievens: Job

Friday, August 17, 2018

It is a good idea to visit the story of Job once in a while. This book of wisdom has so much to tell us beyond the casual glance. Who among us has not felt abandoned by God, or believed that life has asked too much of us? Job longs for an intimate conversation with God through which he might lay out his case and be acquitted forever by [his] judge.

Job knows that somewhere there is a reason for the injustice he suffers, and he is persistent in his quest. It seems that his fidelity does not serve him. His innocence goes unnoticed. His search for the almighty continues, and in this seeking we find seeds of hope.

If I go forward, he is not there;
    or backward, I cannot perceive him;
on the left he hides, and I cannot behold him;
    I turn to the right, but I cannot see him.
But he knows the way that I take;
    when he has tested me, I shall come out like gold.

The marvel of the New Testament story is that – as if in answer to Job’s bitter plaint – the God this wise man seeks comes to walk among us as one of us. The miracle of the resurrection brings us hope that Job lives in such a unique way. The promise of the Pentecost brings us healing and mercy in the person of the Spirit who dwells in us every moment and accompanies us in every location of our lives . . . forward, backward, to the right and to the left.

Job cries out,

Oh, that I knew where I might find him,
    that I might come even to his dwelling!

Morgan Weistling: Walking with God

Today, in our world that broadcasts its pain on more than a billion and half television screens and nearly two billion smartphones in a non-stop cycle of violence, we might join Job in his sad moaning. The evidence seems to great for us to explain away or comprehend. Fidelity does not serve him, innocence counts for nothing; yet Job holds out hope . . . as we might also do when we remember the story of the Christ child. Light comes into the darkness. God’s love is manifest in the persona of Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit. yet . . .

I still rebel and complain against God;
    I cannot keep from groaning.
How I wish I knew where to find him,
    and knew how to go where he is.

Job had only the Old Testament promise of a coming Messiah. We have that Messiah’s presence today. Oh that we might remember this when we look forward, backward, to our right and our left as we continue our bitter complaint.


Tomorrow, Job 24, a violent world.

Images from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Job_(biblical_figure) and https://www.lordsart.com/wawigodbymow.html


Ezekiel 28: The King of Tyre

Ruins of ancient Tyre

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The prophet Ezekiel speaks to the chosen people who live exiled in Babylon. He tells his people that they will not be returning to Jerusalem; and he also prepares them for the heartbreaking news that the Jerusalem they know will be fully and totally destroyed. Corruption has brought them to a dismal, painful place. The chase after power over others, world-wide fame, and wealth beyond imagining has distorted the collective vision.

Puffed up with pride, you claim to be a god. 

Ezekiel speaks to the broken-hearted and he also speaks to us when he condemns those who spoil God’s gift of creation and who bring the faithful to ruin.

Your wisdom and skill made you rich with treasures of gold and silver. You made clever business deals and kept on making profits. How proud you are of your wealth!

Ezekiel reminds us that the gift of our creation is wondrous, and that we are well-loved children of God who have in our hands more than we understand.

You were once an example of perfection. How wise and handsome you were! You lived in Eden, the garden of God, and wore gems of every kind: rubies and diamonds; topaz, beryl, carnelian, and jasper; sapphires, emeralds, and garnets. You had ornaments of gold. They were made for you on the day you were created. 

Britannica online: Main road through ancient Tyre, Lebanon

What are the gems we overlook each day? Who are the wise and handsome among us and where is this Eden? What have we done with the ornaments of gold we are gifted?

Your conduct was perfect from the day you were created until you began to do evil. You were busy buying and selling, and this led you to violence and sin. You were proud of being handsome, and your fame made you act like a fool. 

History tells us that Ezekiel’s people will eventually return to their promised city and they will rebuild the sacred Temple. It also tells us that this will all again be lost. Perhaps the most valuable lesson we can take away from these words is this . . . that just as the King of Tyre misjudges the source of his wealth, power and fame, so might we.  Unlike King Hiram, might we make the most of the riches we have at hand without worrying about increasing our wealth? Might we rely on God and praise God for turning harm into good? Might we give thanks for all we have and all we are to the one who loves us more than we imagine?


When we find the time to compare other translations with these words from The Good News version, we give ourselves the gift of understanding Hiram, Ezekiel, and the nature of beauty, fame, power and wealth. 

Hiram (or Huram, or Ahiram), The King of Tyre, lived from 969-936 B.C.E. He was an ally of Kings David and Solomon, and provided many of the materials needed to build the Temple in Jerusalem. Visit Britannica online at: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Hiram-king-of-Tyre

Tyre was a town on the Mediterranean coast with two harbors and so was able to gain predominance in the region. To read more about the city’s importance and history, click on the image above, or visit: http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2010/01/26/The-Biblical-Cities-Of-Tyre-And-Sidon.aspx or https://www.ancient.eu/Tyre/ 


Deuteronomy 4:1-8The Advantages of Fidelity

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

For what great nation is it that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him?

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  She is considered by most to be the first Apostle of Christ when she proclaimed the Magnificat which we hear in Luke 1:46-55.  With the giving of her fiat, her statement to God that his will be done in her, the completion of the world’s salvation is assured.

For what great nation is it that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him?

We have been reflecting lately on our willingness to believe that God accomplishes all that God promises and we realize that sometimes we have difficulty believing that God actually walks among us.

For what great nation is it that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him?

When we consider the message of this portion of Deuteronomy we also think about the enormity of all that is promised to us in the covenant, that we might be sisters and brothers in and of Christ.

For what great nation is it that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him?

Fidelity is a quality found infrequently in our society in which some of us change friends and intimacy as often as we change shoes.  The fidelity we see in the young girl Mary is astounding when we consider the usual consequence of stoning to death for a girl who conceives without being married.  The fidelity we hear about in the covenant entered into by Abraham, mediated by Moses, and brought to fruition through Mary is something too great and too wonderful to be believed . . . and yet the benefits are so abundant to us that we cannot take in their enormity.

For what great nation is it that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him?

Calling on God is something that some of us do too seldom.  God wants nothing more than to help, to heal, to transform . . . and to keep the promises God has made.  God accompanies us in our journey and rejoices when we ask for help, celebrates when we return home, and sings with joy when we remind others of how much we are loved by God.

For what great nation is it that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him?

God’s story is almost too wonderful to tell.  It is certainly too wonderful to be believed and yet . . . we are assured daily of God’s presence.  Let us delight in the promise of great reward for fidelity.

For what great nation is it that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him?

Our God is a faithful and patient, forgiving and just God.  Our God moves among us, keeping the promises he has made.  Our God awaits our call.

A Favorite from August 15, 2010. 


Image from: http://www.laywhispers.com/blog-daily-readings/february-27-2013-wednesday-2nd-week-of-lent


  1. Ezekiel 37Deliverance and Reunion

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Today we read about the dry bones brought to life out of the dust of nothingness . . . about Israel and Judah reuniting in the metaphor of the two sticks . . . and the promise to us of deliverance and reunion.

Oh my people!  I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the Lord.  I have promised, and I will do it, says the Lord. 

From yesterday’s MAGNIFICAT Evening Prayer Mini-reflection: Because we have been forgiven, we know the way of forgiveness; because we have been healed, we know the way of healing; because we have known God, we know the way of God.  The gifts given to us are gifts for us to give.  This introduces Psalm 86:11-17, and James 2:12-13.  The citations are worth reading.  These are the intercessions.

The Lord commanded us to show to one another the love that he has shown to us.  Let us pray earnestly for the gift of charity made real in our daily lives, saying:  O God, give us your help. 

You have said: do not judge, and you will not be judged – grant us the compassion to seek what is good in others as you have sought what is good in us.  O God, give us your help. 

You have said: do not condemn, and you will not be condemned – grant us the mercy to build up others as you have built us up.  O God, give us your help. 

You have said: pardon and you shall be pardoned – grant us the grace to forgive as you have forgiven us.  O God, give us your help. 

Maximilian Kolbe

Today we celebrate the life of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, a Franciscan, who was held at Auschwitz and died on this date in 1941 when he took the place of another who was condemned to death.  Kolbe acts on the hope expressed by the image in Ezekiel today, he follows Christ’s request that we refrain from judging and condemning, and he pardons those who enslave and murder their fellow countrymen.  Kolbe knew – and we know – that God promises rebirth, new life, reunion and new life to each of us.

I have promised, and I will do it, says the Lord. 

Ezekiel uses a story of desiccated bones and broken pieces of wood to prophesy our future.

I have promised, and I will do it, says the Lord.

Let us think of all that troubles and divides us, and hand it over to God.

I have promised, and I will do it, says the Lord. 

Let us think of all that breaks us and brings harm, and hand our anger over to God.

I have promised, and I will do it, says the Lord. 

Let us think of all that pains us and is sorrowful, and hand the sadness over to God.

I have promised, and I will do it, says the Lord. 

Oh my people!  I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the Lord.  I have promised, and I will do it, says the Lord.  Amen. 

A Favorite from August 14, 2010.


Cameron, Peter John, Rev., ed. “Mini-Reflection.” MAGNIFICAT. 13 August 2010. Print.

Visit the Maximilian Kolbe site at: https://kolbeshrine.org/about-saint-maximilian 

Image from: 


Proverbs 2:1-5: My Child

Monday, August 13, 2018

I have always liked the simple wisdom of Proverbs for Lady Wisdom has much to teach us.

My child, learn what I teach you and never forget what I tell you to do. Listen to what is wise and try to understand it. Yes, beg for knowledge; plead for insight. Look for it as hard as you would for silver or some hidden treasure. If you do, you will know what it means to fear the Lord and you will succeed in learning about God. (GNT)

As a child, I never understood why we were to fear God. As I grew, I came to recognize fear as a sense of awe. As an adult, the verses of Proverbs bring God’s overwhelming love to our hearts.

Good friend, take to heart what I’m telling you;
    collect my counsels and guard them with your life.
Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom;
    set your heart on a life of Understanding.
That’s right—if you make Insight your priority,
    and won’t take no for an answer,
Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold,
    like an adventurer on a treasure hunt,
Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours;
    you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God. (MSG)

Friends offer words of advice, Wisdom found close to home and near to the heart. I take in the wisdom my own friends offer. And as a friend to others, I search for counsel in this practical, and often humorous, book of instruction.

My son, if you will receive my words
and store my commands inside you,
paying attention to wisdom
inclining your mind toward understanding —
yes, if you will call for insight
and raise your voice for discernment,
if you seek it as you would silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure —
then you will understand the fear of Adonai
and find knowledge of God. (CJB)

Ancient words are frequently apt, gathering past and future into a fruitful present when we share them with our children. Old axioms bring pearls of wisdom, offering respite in the storm, refuge in combat.

Good friend, take to heart what I’m telling you;
    collect my counsels and guard them with your life.
Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom;
    set your heart on a life of Understanding.
That’s right—if you make Insight your priority,
    and won’t take no for an answer,
Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold,
    like an adventurer on a treasure hunt,
Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours;
    you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God. (MSG)

Wisdom, Understanding, Insight. These are the gems we unearth when we spend time with these sayings. Searching, prospecting, seeking. These are the actions we take as children of God. Counsels, gold, gems. These are the treasures we unearth when we answer the call of Christ. Beseeching, learning, healing. This is the transformation we experience when we rest in the Spirit of the Lord.

My child, learn what I teach you and never forget what I tell you . . .


When we compare translations of these verses, we find safety in the Lord’s awesome love. We find refuge as children of God.

Image from: http://www.heartandsoulcompany.com/ 


2 Corinthians 4: Keeping Ourselves in the Light

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Paul tells the people of Corinth – and he tells us – if the gospel we preach is hidden, it is hidden only from those who are being lost. They do not believe, because their minds have been kept in the dark by the evil god of this world. (Verses 3 & 4)

Paul reminds us that despite knowing that God chooses to walk among us, and despite knowing that we are spiritual treasure in common clay pots, we still doubt the presence, power and fidelity of Christ.

We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed. (Verses 7-9)

Paul tells us firmly that while the world tells us that we are powerless, hopeless and unloved, we in fact have the source of all power at our side. We have the generator of all hope in our person. And we have the spirit of justice paired with mercy in our hearts.

When we spend time with Christ, we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day. And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever.  (Verses 16-18)

The evil one represents himself in our desire for fame, wealth, and power, and lures away from goodness. The evil one uses our fears against us and fires the anxieties that divide us.  The evil one of this world is any one or any circumstance that draws us into the darkness so that we forget to look for the light. Paul knows that our gratitude heals our disconnection from the light, and so he reminds us that, All this is for your sake; and as God’s grace reaches more and more people, they will offer to the glory of God more prayers of thanksgiving. (Verse 15)

How to remain in the light? Where to find resources? How to live through the darkness of days and the fears of nights? Paul reminds the Corinthians – and he reminds us – that gratitude for the light of Christ is imperative if we are to remain in the light.


Today we find the time to give thanks as we explore chapter 4 of this letter. When we study other translations of these verses, we invite the light into our minds and hearts.

Image from: https://islampeace1.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/verse-of-the-day/ 

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