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Job 22: Beyond Human Limits – Part III

Friday, February 9, 2018

Léon Bonnat: Job

Job understands the freedom God gives him to choose divinity, and it is the reason and foundation on which he stands.  Job knows in his bones that he is good and that he suffers innocently, mysteriously.  He knows nothing of the conversation that passed between Satan and God and still he persists in this endless and limitless hope.  He expands his own horizons and rises above them.  And it is in this expansion of his human self that he meets God.  It is through his defense of his innocence against the false sympathy of colleagues that he rises to this divinity planted in him by God.  He goes out of and beyond his former limits.

Fr. Alfred Delp, who died in a Nazi death camp,  concludes . . . Human freedom is born in the moment of our contact with God.  It is really unimportant whether God forces us out of our limits by the sheer distress of suffering, coaxes us with visions of beauty and truth, or pricks us into action by the endless hunger and thirst for righteousness that possess our soul.  What really matters is that we are called and we must be sufficiently awake to hear the call. 

On this last Sunday before we enter into the season of Lent, we will want to spend time with Job to see how he stretches himself beyond his humanity to meet his divinity.

When we use the scripture link and the drop-down menus to explore the story of Job, we find wisdom, strength, courage, and the freedom to choose the gift of humanity offered to us by God. 

Adapted from a reflection written on February 21, 2010.

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 21.2 (2010). Print.  

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Job 22: Beyond Human Limits – Part I

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Alfred Delp, SJ

When you make a decision, it shall succeed for you, and upon your ways the light shall shine. 

The Book of Job speaks to those who suffer innocently; and thus it prepares us to better understand the great sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf.  Today we read the words of Eliphaz who urges Job to admit guilt so that he may prosper, and we understand that Job’s true freedom comes not from avoiding his calamity, but through going beyond human limits, by turning to God in the midst of this personal cataclysm.

Many times we witness God’s hand in turning harm into goodness. We see those who walk in pride fall by their own hands.  We listen attentively to the stories people tell of having been saved, converted or transformed.  Through these stories, it is easy to fall into the thinking that those who suffer must have somehow brought the negative consequences they endure upon themselves. We have heard – or we have thought – if the poor would only work they would not be poor, if that woman had not worn that dress she would not have been raped, if the people in that country would choose good leaders they would not experience famine, if people would just behave there would be no genocide.  This is simplistic, black/white, off/on, binary thinking.  Situations are either good or bad; decisions are either yes or no.  With this kind of absolutism, there is no room for the in-between-ness that is the reality of human existence.  Nor is there much of a reason to invite Christ into our lives because this kind of living follows a rulebook of regulations and checklists that lead us to see life as best lived by following rules; and this stiffness leads us to think of ourselves first.  Christ calls us to liberate ourselves from this bondage and it is this kind of “setting free” that is addressed in yesterday’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation from the writings of Father Delp.  He died in 1945, condemned to death in a wave of frenzy in Germany during World War II.  He writes about the freedom Jesus offers to Levi, the tax collector, in Matthew 5:27-32Humans need freedom.  As slaves, fettered and confined, they are bound to deteriorate.  We have spent a great deal of thought and time on external freedom; we have made serious efforts to secure our personal liberty and yet we have lost it again and again.  The worst thing is that eventually humans come to accept this kind of bondage – it becomes habitual and they hardly notice it.  The most abject slaves can be made to believe that the condition in which they are held is actually freedom. 

Tomorrow, Job’s goodness amidst evil, and more from Father Delp.

Adapted from a reflection written on February 21, 2010.

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 21.2 (2010). Print.  

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