At his regular blog at the Madison Catholic Herald, Bishop Robert C. Morlino of the Diocese of Madison (Wisconsin) posted a Lenten observation relating to the Book of Job, a literary masterpiece from the Old Testament that deals with the suffering of the innocent.
The summary at the Website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops describes Job as follows:
The prologue (chaps. 1–2) provides the setting for Job’s testing. When challenged by 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.
Bishop Morlino comments:
And Job finally got the message that he was nothing and that he was entitled to nothing. He repented, to dust and ashes, and in return, he got everything back! He put aside his whining to recognize that God was God, and he was not, and God blessed him.
We need to realize that apart from God, we are, can do, and deserve nothing. If we get back to that, then we don’t whine, and further, we realize all that we do have. We only whine when we focus on what we don’t have and somehow think we have a right to what we don’t have.
And that’s another big theme in our culture. If somebody wants something, the next thing they do is put together a group to demonstrate that they have a right to it. (And I’m not talking about things that are actual, fundamental rights, I’m talking about wants.)
There is so much whining in our culture; even at the highest political levels. Both Democrats and Republicans do a lot of whining, focusing on what we don’t have, and just under the surface lays the conviction that we have a right to that which we don’t have — that we’re entitled to it. And that makes us whine all the more!
Click here to read the rest. All good stuff.
Image: My photo of a statue of Job, taken Monday, Feb. 23, on the grounds of Christ Cathedral (the former Crystal Cathedral) in Garden Grove, California.