As we begin our series, we discover the author of Job seems to be attempting to explain to his audience how the Babylonian catastrophe could happen to “good” people too, why faithful Hebrews can suffer with the bad, how the innocent get caught up in the painful judgments of the wicked.
I certainly had no idea that any of our current events would occur when I chose this new study series, but I think the state of our Church is exactly why the Holy Spirit guided us to this biblical contemplation of suffering. Perhaps He is guiding us away from a focus on our Church’s catastrophe, to that of our individual faith and purity, and back again to a collective view. How faithful are we, as the American Catholic Church? How and why am I suffering, myself? How alive is my personal faith, really? When was my faith pur-er and real-er?
Job is a pointed finger into the awfullest parts of our lives. I think we are going to find a great deal of hope in this series for these worrisome times.
Thank you, Lori S and Elizabeth P, my newest Friends of the Show, for loving and lifting me!
LOVE the Word® is a Bible study method based on Mary's own practice: lectio without the Latin.
L – Listen (Receive the Word.)
O – Observe (Choose one or more of the following personality approaches to connect the passage to your life and recent events.)
F | Franciscan – If, for some reason, like Pope Francis, you feel inclined to remain silent in the face of someone else's suffering, I pray you resist that temptation. As you listened to this week's show about the development of suffering as a theology, whose suffering came to mind? What action did you feel inspired to take to help ease that suffering? Take the time, now or sometime this week, to do what was in your heart.
I | Ignatian – Imagine you are the author of Job, hoping to comfort your people after a national religious catastrophe. Try to see your parish church raided and destroyed by people with total contempt for your faith. Imagine the tabernacle, altar, statues – everything – desecrated. Using all your senses in turn – sight, sound, touch, taste, smell – how do you feel? What might you say in an effort to comfort others and help them through the tragedy you are all experiencing?
A | Augustinian – The Catholic Church is experiencing an upheaval similar to what the author of Job experienced and attempted to address. It has been said that if the priest is a saint, his people will be holy; if the priest is holy, his people will be good; if he is good, his people will be lukewarm; if he is lukewarm, his people will be bad; if the priest is bad, his people will go to hell. How does this “wisdom maxim” apply to your own family?
How can you get back to a pur-er faith with God? What small, additional action can you take to cover your priest in prayer?
T | Thomistic – Define the biblical wisdom genre in your own words. How does this genre uniquely address the deepest human experiences, such as suffering? What can you do to support your parish priest?
V – Verbalize (Pray about your thoughts and emotions.)
Remembering that He loves you and that you are in His presence, talk to God about the particulars of your O – Observe step. You may want to write your reflections in your LOVE the Word® journal. Or, get a free journal page and guide in the right-hand margin.
E – Entrust (May it be done to me according to your word!)
Thank you Lord Jesus for giving us your word to help us through this valley of tears, when the foundations of our faith are shaken by our own unfaithfulness and the unfaithfulness of others. Amen +
*LOVE the Word® exercises are offered according to FIAT: the four personalities, or “prayer forms,” explored in Prayer and Temperament, by Chester Michael and Marie Norrisey: Franciscan, Ignatian, Augustinian, and Thomistic: FIAT! These prayer forms correspond to the Myers-Briggs personality types.