Lent with the Book of Job (Ch 4)
February 25, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.


Chapter 4 (Saturday after Ash Wednesday)

Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered: 
‘If one ventures a word with you, will you be offended?
   But who can keep from speaking? 
See, you have instructed many;
   you have strengthened the weak hands. 
Your words have supported those who were stumbling,
   and you have made firm the feeble knees. 
But now it has come to you, and you are impatient;
   it touches you, and you are dismayed. 
Is not your fear of God your confidence,
   and the integrity of your ways your hope? 

‘Think now, who that was innocent ever perished?
   Or where were the upright cut off? 
As I have seen, those who plough iniquity
   and sow trouble reap the same. 
By the breath of God they perish,
   and by the blast of his anger they are consumed. 
The roar of the lion, the voice of the fierce lion,
   and the teeth of the young lions are broken. 
The strong lion perishes for lack of prey,
   and the whelps of the lioness are scattered. 

‘Now a word came stealing to me,
   my ear received the whisper of it. 
Amid thoughts from visions of the night,
   when deep sleep falls on mortals, 
dread came upon me, and trembling,
   which made all my bones shake. 
A spirit glided past my face;
   the hair of my flesh bristled. 
It stood still,
   but I could not discern its appearance.
A form was before my eyes;
   there was silence, then I heard a voice: 
“Can mortals be righteous before God?
   Can human beings be pure before their Maker? 
Even in his servants he puts no trust,
   and his angels he charges with error; 
how much more those who live in houses of clay,
   whose foundation is in the dust,
   who are crushed like a moth. 
Between morning and evening they are destroyed;
   they perish for ever without any regarding it. 
Their tent-cord is plucked up within them,
   and they die devoid of wisdom.” 

In what place then did I find you to learn of you? For you were not in my memory, before I learned of you. Where did I find you to learn of you, save in yourself, above myself? Place there is none, we go this way and that, and place there is none. You, who are Truth, reside everywhere to answer all who ask counsel of you, and in one act reply to all though all seek counsel upon different matters.
And you answer clearly, but all do not hear clearly. All ask what they wish, but do not always hear the answer that they wish. That man is your best servant who is not so much concerned to hear from you what he wills as to will what he hears from you. 
Late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient and so new; late have I loved you! For behold you were within and I outside; and I sought you outside and in my ugliness fell upon those lovely things that you have made. You were with me and I was not with you. I was kept from you by those things, yet had they not been in you, they would not have been at all. You called and cried to me and broke open my deafness: and you sent forth your beams and shone upon me and chased away my blindness: you breathed fragrance upon me, and I drew in my breath and do now pant for you: I tasted you, and now hunger and thirst for you: you touched me, and I have burned for your peace.
When once I shall be united to you with all my being, there shall be no more grief and toil, and my life will be alive, filled wholly with you. You raise up him whom you fill; whereas being not yet filled with you I am a burden to myself. The pleasures of this life for which I should weep are in conflict with the sorrows of this life in which I should rejoice, and I know not on which side stands the victory.
Woe is me, Lord, have pity on me! For I have likewise sorrows which are evil and these are in conflict with joys that are good, and I know not on which side stands the victory. Woe is me, Lord have mercy upon me! Woe is me! See, I do not hide my wounds: you are the physician, I the sick man; you are merciful, I need mercy. Is not the life of man on earth a trial? Who would choose trouble and difficulty? You command us to endure them, not to love them. No one loves what he endures, though he may love to endure. For though he rejoices at his endurance, yet he would rather that there were nothing to endure. In adversity I desire prosperity, in prosperity I fear adversity. Yet what middle place is there between the two, where man’s life may be other than trial? There is woe and woe again in the prosperity of this world, woe from the fear of adversity, woe from the corruption of joy. There is woe in the adversity of the world, and a second woe, and a third, from the longing for prosperity, and because adversity itself is hard, and for fear that endurance may break! Is not man’s life upon earth trial without intermission? All my hope is naught save in your great mercy. (St. Augustine, Confessions).
Musical Selection (Daniel Schutte)
How long, O Lord, will you hide Your face?
How long will the heavens be silent?
How long, O Lord, must we call out Your name?
‘til You hear us and reach out Your hand?

Behold Your children, forgotten, forsaken,
Lost in our shame and our sadness.
Our hearts are barren, our spirits are are broken.
Where is the love that You promised?

Our hope is shaken, poured out for water,
Dried like the sand in the desert.
Our hearts are hungry, famished and frightened.
Where is the love that You promised?
Strong and faithful God,
look with mercy upon our human frailty,
and stretch forth your powerful right arm
to shield us from every danger.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.