Lent with the Book of Job (Ch 7)
February 28, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Chapter 7 (First Tuesday of Lent)

‘Do not human beings have a hard service on earth,
   and are not their days like the days of a labourer? 
Like a slave who longs for the shadow,
   and like labourers who look for their wages, 
so I am allotted months of emptiness,
   and nights of misery are apportioned to me. 
When I lie down I say, “When shall I rise?”
   But the night is long,
   and I am full of tossing until dawn. 
My flesh is clothed with worms and dirt;
   my skin hardens, then breaks out again. 
My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle,
   and come to their end without hope. 

‘Remember that my life is a breath;
   my eye will never again see good. 
The eye that beholds me will see me no more;
   while your eyes are upon me, I shall be gone. 
As the cloud fades and vanishes,
   so those who go down to Sheol do not come up; 
they return no more to their houses,
   nor do their places know them any more. 

‘Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;
   I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
   I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. 
Am I the Sea, or the Dragon,
   that you set a guard over me? 
When I say, “My bed will comfort me,
   my couch will ease my complaint”, 
then you scare me with dreams
   and terrify me with visions, 
so that I would choose strangling
   and death rather than this body. 
I loathe my life; I would not live for ever.
   Let me alone, for my days are a breath. 
What are human beings, that you make so much of them,
   that you set your mind on them, 
visit them every morning,
   test them every moment? 
Will you not look away from me for a while,
   let me alone until I swallow my spittle? 
If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of humanity?
   Why have you made me your target?
   Why have I become a burden to you? 
Why do you not pardon my transgression
   and take away my iniquity?
For now I shall lie in the earth;
   you will seek me, but I shall not be.’ 

My flesh is clothed with corruption and foulness of dust. If we take Job’s words as the voice of the holy Church universal, doubtless we find it at one time sunk to the earth by the corruption of the flesh, at another time by the defilement of dust. For the Church has many within it who, while devoted to the love of the flesh, become corrupted by the putrefaction of excess. In addition, there are some people who certainly keep from the gratification of the flesh, yet grovel with all their heart in earthly practices. So let holy Church speak through the words of one of its members, let it express what it endures from either sort of person. My flesh is clothed with corruption and the defilement of dust. It is as if the Church said in plain words, ‘There are many who are members of me in faith, yet these are not sound or pure members in practice. For they either are mastered by foul desires and run to and fro in corruption’s rottenness, or, being devoted to earthly practices, they are soiled with dust. For in those whom I have to endure, people filled with wantonness, I do plainly lament for the flesh turned corrupt. And in those from whom I suffer, those who are seeking the earth, what else is this but the defilement of dust that I bear?’
My days pass more swiftly than the weaving of cloth by the weaver. In a very suitable image, the time of the flesh is compared with a cloth web. As the web advances thread by thread, so this mortal life passes day by day; in proportion as the web increases, so it advances to its completion. Just as we said before, while the time in our hands passes, the time before us is shortened. Moreover, of the whole length of our lives, the days to come are proportionally fewer to those days that have gone by. 

Job says that, The eye of him who sees me will behold me no more; while your eyes are upon me, I shall be gone. For the human eye is the pity of the Redeemer that softens the hardness of our insensibility when it looks upon us. Hence, as the Gospel witnesses, it is said, And the Lord turned, looked upon Peter, and Peter remembered the word of the Lord. And he went out, and wept bitterly. However, when the soul is divested of the flesh, the human eye henceforth does not see anything. The Redeemer’s pity never delivers anyone after death whom it has not gracefully restored to pardon before death. (St. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job).

Musical Selection

Memento mei Deus
quia ventus est vita mea
nec aspiciat me visus hominis.
De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine:
Domine, exaudi vocem meam. Kyrie, eleison.
Be mindful of me, for that my life is but wind, 
Nor the sight of man may behold me.


From the depths I did cry to thee, 

O Lord Hear my voice. Lord, have mercy.


Look mercifully, Lord, upon your family,
that, as we discipline our desire for earthly things,
a longing for you may grow in our hearts.
Grant 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.