"If you really want to love Jesus, first learn to suffer, because suffering teaches you to love." - St. Gemma Galgani
(Scripture Text: JB 1:6-22)
One day, when the angels of God came to present themselves before the LORD, Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, "Whence do you come?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From roaming the earth and patrolling it." And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you noticed my servant Job, and that there is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil?" But Satan answered the LORD and said, "Is it for nothing that Job is God-fearing? Have you not surrounded him and his family and all that he has with your protection? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock are spread over the land. But now put forth your hand and touch anything that he has, and surely he will blaspheme you to your face." And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand upon his person." So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. And so one day, while his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were ploughing and the asses grazing beside them, and the Sabeans carried them off in a raid. They put the herdsmen to the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you." While he was yet speaking, another came and said, "Lightning has fallen from heaven and struck the sheep and their shepherds and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you." While he was yet speaking, another messenger came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three columns, seized the camels, carried them off, and put those tending them to the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you." While he was yet speaking, another came and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, when suddenly a great wind came across the desert and smote the four corners of the house. It fell upon the young people and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you." Then Job began to tear his cloak and cut off his hair. He cast himself prostrate upon the ground, and said, "Naked I came forth from my mother's womb, and naked shall I go back again. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!" In all this Job did not sin, nor did he say anything disrespectful of God.
Today’s reading relates the story of Job. Job was a blessed man. The devil brought great suffering on Job and his family attempting to prove to God Job’s loyalty was rooted only in his blessings. Heroically, Job passed the test of faith. Because of this, he has become the icon for enduring faith despite struggles. In the moments of his deepest grief, Job proclaimed, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!”
I have always wished I had the acceptance of Job, but now I realize for some of us, especially myself, that acceptance is a process. It is one I work on constantly. Trying to justify an all loving God with an imperfect world is a problem philosophers, theologians, and individuals have grappled with throughout the centuries. Job’s model is a reassuring one. Absolute faith, the faith of a little child, is possible. With every prayer, every mass, every confession, every good act or wondrous instance of creation I witness I come closer to being able to proclaim,
“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!”