Lent with the Book of Job (Ch 6)
February 27, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Chapter 6 (First Monday of Lent)

Then Job answered: 
‘O that my vexation were weighed,
   and all my calamity laid in the balances! 
For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea;
   therefore my words have been rash. 
For the arrows of the Almighty are in me;
   my spirit drinks their poison;
   the terrors of God are arrayed against me. 
Does the wild ass bray over its grass,
   or the ox low over its fodder? 
Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt,
   or is there any flavour in the juice of mallows? 
My appetite refuses to touch them;
   they are like food that is loathsome to me.

‘O that I might have my request,
   and that God would grant my desire; 
that it would please God to crush me,
   that he would let loose his hand and cut me off! 
This would be my consolation;
   I would even exult in unrelenting pain;
   for I have not denied the words of the Holy One. 
What is my strength, that I should wait?
   And what is my end, that I should be patient? 
Is my strength the strength of stones,
   or is my flesh bronze? 
In truth I have no help in me,
   and any resource is driven from me. 

‘Those who withhold kindness from a friend
   forsake the fear of the Almighty. 
My companions are treacherous like a torrent-bed,
   like freshets that pass away, 
that run dark with ice,
   turbid with melting snow. 
In time of heat they disappear;
   when it is hot, they vanish from their place. 
The caravans turn aside from their course;
   they go up into the waste, and perish. 
The caravans of Tema look,
   the travellers of Sheba hope. 
They are disappointed because they were confident;
   they come there and are confounded. 
Such you have now become to me;
   you see my calamity, and are afraid. 
Have I said, “Make me a gift”?
   Or, “From your wealth offer a bribe for me”? 
Or, “Save me from an opponent’s hand”?
   Or, “Ransom me from the hand of oppressors”? 

‘Teach me, and I will be silent;
   make me understand how I have gone wrong. 
How forceful are honest words!
   But your reproof, what does it reprove? 
Do you think that you can reprove words,
   as if the speech of the desperate were wind? 
You would even cast lots over the orphan,
   and bargain over your friend. 

‘But now, be pleased to look at me;
   for I will not lie to your face. 
Turn, I pray, let no wrong be done.
   Turn now, my vindication is at stake. 
Is there any wrong on my tongue?
   Cannot my taste discern calamity? 

It is because the ancient Fathers resemble trees bearing abundant fruit, being not merely attractive figures in themselves but productive also of positive results, that their lives are so well worth considering. For in so doing, we realise, as we wonder at the freshness and originality of people in history, how much fecundity there is in allegory, and how the sweetness of fruit to the taste can be anticipated from the allurement of fragrant leaves. No one has ever had the grace of supernatural adoption except through his acknowledgment of the Only-begotten. And so it is fitting that he who enlightens men that they may merit to shine forth should himself be manifest in their lives and their words. For when a lantern is lit in the darkness it is the lantern itself which is seen before all the rest, everything else that it lights up. Hence if we really wish to discern what has been made visible, we must try to open the eyes of our minds to the light itself. This lesson shines through the speeches of the blessed Job, like a fleeting twinkle, even when those involved allegories are edited out and forgotten, and the shadows of the darkest hours of night are as it were removed. For he says: I know that my Redeemer lives, and in my flesh I shall see God.

Indeed Saint Paul had found this same light in the night of history, when he said: All were baptized in the power of Moses, in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink. But they drank of the spiritual rock which lay in their path: and the rock was Christ. If, then, the rock was a type or figure of the Redeemer, why should not the blessed Job apply and use a figure of him whom he foretold and marked, indeed identified, with suffering? Wherefore Job is not without reason said to be grieving precisely because he bears in himself the likeness of him whom Isaiah had long ago announced as taking our sorrows on himself. Moreover our Redeemer showed himself to be one and the same person identified with his Holy Church which he took up and manifested. For of him it is said: He is the head, Christ himself. And again, of his Church it is written: And the body of Christ, which is the Church. Hence the blessed Job, who presented the type and bore the mark of the Mediator all the more faithfully for having prefigured his passion not merely in speech but even in suffering, since in his words and deeds he finds support in the idea of a redeemer, has lighted in a flash on the very significance of the body itself. Believing Christ and his Church to be one person, let us view it in the light of one person and everything he does, the body and its every act. (St. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job)

Musical Selection (Horatio Gates Spafford)

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
"It is well, it is well with my soul."

It is well with my soul;
it is well, it is well with my soul.

 Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control:
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and has shed his own blood for my soul.

 My sin oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
my sin, not in part, but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more;
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

 O Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
the trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend;
even so, it is well with my soul.


Turn back our hearts to you, O God our Saviour,
and instruct our minds in heavenly wisdom,
that through the practices of Lent
we may advance in your love and favour.
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.