For a couple of weeks now we have all been lamenting the fact that some of our clergy have betrayed our trust. I read an editorial over the weekend by Mike Eisenbath in our diocese’s newspaper – the St. Louis Review. As you can see, Mike (and I believe many more than Mike) are struggling with the thought as to remain Catholic or not. Many left the Church in 2002 when the scandal originally rocked the Church as it came to light that some of the clergy had committed heinous crimes against the innocent. I myself was furious then – as I am now – about the behavior of these men who committed these crimes against the innocent. But I still stand strong in the belief that the Church – the bride of Christ – remains pure in her mission. I am convinced that these men gave in to the temptations of Satan himself and the Church, along with all of the faithful of the Church, are all now suffering from these hateful acts.
Whenever I find myself challenged by the works of Satan, I have always found the book of Job the necessary inspiration I need to carry on with my work for the Lord. I would challenge anyone who reads this post to take the time to read this book from our Bible – I’ll even save you the time of finding it by posting this hyperlink for you to use.
The Book of Job, named after its protagonist (apparently not an Israelite; cf. Ez 14:14, 20), is an exquisite dramatic treatment of the problem of the suffering of the innocent. The contents of the book, together with its artistic structure and elegant style, place it among the literary masterpieces of all time. This is a literary composition, and not a transcript of historical events and conversations.
The prologue (chaps. 1–2) provides the setting for Job’s testing. When challenged by the satan’s questioning of Job’s sincerity, the Lord gives leave for a series of catastrophes to afflict Job. Three friends come to console him. Job breaks out in complaint (chap. 3), and a cycle of speeches begins. Job’s friends insist that his plight can only be a punishment for personal wrongdoing and an invitation from God to repent. Job rejects their inadequate explanation and challenges God to respond (chaps. 3–31). A young bystander, Elihu, now delivers four speeches in support of the views of the three friends (chaps. 32–37). In response to Job’s plea that he be allowed to see God and hear directly the reason for his suffering, the Lord answers (38:1–42:6), not by explaining divine justice, but by cataloguing the wonders of creation. Job is apparently content with this, and, in an epilogue (42:7–17), the Lord restores Job’s fortune.
The author or authors of the book are unknown; it was probably composed some time between the seventh and fifth centuries B.C. Its literary pattern, with speeches, prologue and epilogue disposed according to a studied plan, indicates that the purpose of the writing is didactic. But the lessons that the book teaches are not transparent, and different interpretations of the divine speeches and of the final chapter are possible. The Book of Job does not definitively answer the problem of the suffering of the innocent, but challenges readers to come to their own understanding.
The Book of Job does not definitively answer the problem of the suffering of the innocent, but challenges readers to come to their own understanding.
Satan was convinced that all he needed to do was take away what he thought made Job happy and once he did that, Job would curse the name of the Lord. What Satan didn’t not take into account, what I believe Satan didn’t truly understand, was that Job, although proud of his many blessings from God, truly knew that source of all of his blessings were from God and God alone and that God – at anytime – could take those blessings back from him. Satan’s “heart” couldn’t allow him to understand this because he too was given many blessings by God. But unlike Job, Satan’s arrogance separated him from God…
* You were a seal of perfection,
full of wisdom, perfect in beauty.d
13In Eden, the garden of God, you lived;
precious stones of every kind were your covering:
Carnelian, topaz, and beryl,
chrysolite, onyx, and jasper,
sapphire, garnet, and emerald.
Their mounts and settings
were wrought in gold,
fashioned for you the day you were created.e
14With a cherub I placed you;
I put you on the holy mountain of God,*
where you walked among fiery stones.
15Blameless were you in your ways
from the day you were created,
Until evil was found in you.
16Your commerce was full of lawlessness, and you sinned.
Therefore I banished you from the mountain of God;
the cherub drove you out
from among the fiery stones.f
17Your heart had grown haughty
because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom
because of your splendor.
I cast you to the ground,
I made you a spectacle
in the sight of kings.g
18Because of the enormity of your guilt,
and the perversity of your trade,
you defiled your sanctuary.
I brought fire out of you;
it devoured you;
I made you ashes on the ground
in the eyes of all who see you.h
19All the nations who knew you
are appalled on account of you;
You have become a horror,
never to be again.i
So as I begin to move forward from this scandal, I will move forward with the faith shown to me by Job…because it is the Lord who gives and it is the Lord who takes away. Whatever the Lord chooses – BLESSED BE THE LORD! I remain strong in my faith and strong in my love for the works of the true Church – the bride of Christ. I will not follow the folly of sinful men who have betrayed the Church, betrayed God and betrayed their fellow man. My last thought comes from today’s first reading. Who is it that I belong to? Do I belong to men or do I belong to God and His Church?
Do something great for our Lord today – pray for healing.
God’s will, not mine, be done.
Be not afraid; just have faith.
Jesus, I trust in You.