Office of Readings for Friday 8 June 2007

Reading: Job 40:1 – 42:6

The Lord turned to Job, and he said:
Is Shaddai’s opponent willing to give in?
Has God’s critic thought up an answer?

Job replied to the Lord:
My words have been frivolous: what can I reply?
I had better lay my finger on my lips.
I have spoken once… I will not speak again;
more than once… I will add nothing.

The Lord gave Job his answer from the heart of the tempest. He said:
Brace yourself like a fighter,
now it is my turn to ask questions and yours to inform me.
Do you really want to reverse my judgement,
and put me in the wrong to put yourself in the right?
Has your arm the strength of God’s,
can your voice thunder as loud?
If so, assume your dignity, your state,
robe yourself in majesty and splendour.
Let the spate of your anger flow free;
humiliate the haughty at a glance!
Cast one look at the proud and bring them low,
strike down the wicked where they stand.
Bury the lot of them in the ground,
shut them, silent-faced, in the dungeon.
I myself will be the first to acknowledge
that your own right hand can assure your triumph.

This was the answer Job gave to the Lord:
I know that you are all-powerful:
what you conceive, you can perform.
I am the man who obscured your designs
with my empty-headed words.
I have been holding forth on matters I cannot understand,
on marvels beyond me and my knowledge.
Listen, I have more to say,
now it is my turn to ask questions and yours to inform me.
I knew you then only by hearsay;
but now, having seen you with my own eyes,
I retract all I have said,
and in dust and ashes I repent.

A treatise of Bishop Baldwin of Canterbury
The Lord sees our thoughts and the intentions of our hearts

The Lord knows the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. Without a doubt, every one of them is known to him, while we know only those which he lets us read by the grace of discernment. The spirit of man does not know all that is in man, nor all of the thoughts which he has, willingly or unwillingly. Man does not always perceive his thoughts as they really are. Having clouded vision, he does not discern them clearly with his mind’s eye.

Often under the guise of devotion a suggestion occurs to our mind – coming from our own thoughts or from another person or from the tempter – and in God’s eyes we do not deserve any reward for our virtue. For there are certain imitations of true virtues as also of vices which play tricks with the heart and bedazzle the mind’s vision. As a result, the appearance of goodness often seems to be in something which is evil, and equally the appearance of evil seems to be in something good. This is part of our wretchedness and ignorance, causing us anguish and anxiety.

It has been written: There are paths which seem to man to be right, but which in the end lead him to hell. To avoid this peril, Saint John gives us these words of advice: Test the spirits to see if they are from God. Now no one can test the spirits to see if they are from God unless God has given him discernment of spirits to enable him to investigate spiritual thoughts, inclinations and intentions with honest and true judgement. Discernment is the mother of all the virtues; everyone needs it either to guide the lives of others or to direct and reform his own life.

In the sphere of action, a right thought is one ruled by the will of God, and intentions are holy when directed single-mindedly toward him. In a word, we could see clearly through any action of ours, or into our entire lives, if we had a simple eye. A simple eye is an eye, and it is simple. This means that we see by right thinking what is to be done, and by our good intention we carry it out with simple honesty, because deceitful action is wrong. Right thinking does not permit mistakes; a good intention rules out pretence. This then is true discernment, a combination of right thinking and good intention.

Therefore, we must do all our actions in the light of discernment as if in God and in his presence.

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Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us

Stella Matutina, ora pro nobis

Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, pray for us

St Michael the Archangel, pray for us

St Jude, pray for us

St Benedict, pray for us

St Dominic, pray for us

St Anthony, pray for us

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