Recently I referred to Pope Francis’ saying that we as a Christian people have to rediscover a proper sense of divine worship. This includes having a profound reverence for God’s holiness, sovereignty and what it is for a creature to come before the Creator of all reality. This comes across powerfully in today’s Office of Readings when Job complains to God about his bad fortune: Why has all this happened to me who did so much to live a righteous life?
Read the following passage (Job 38:1-30) slowly while appreciating its poetic beauty.
Then from the heart of the tempest the Lord gave Job his answer. He said:
Who is this obscuring my designs
with his empty-headed words?
Brace yourself like a fighter;
now it is my turn to ask questions and yours to inform me.
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations?
Tell me, since you are so well-informed!
Who decided the dimensions of it, do you know?
Or who stretched the measuring line across it?
What supports its pillars at their bases?
Who laid its cornerstone
when all the stars of the morning were singing with joy,
and the Sons of God in chorus were chanting praise?
Who pent up the sea behind closed doors
when it leapt tumultuous out of the womb,
when I wrapped it in a robe of mist
and made black clouds its swaddling bands;
when I marked the bounds it was not to cross
and made it fast with a bolted gate?
Come thus far, I said, and no farther:
here your proud waves shall break.
Have you ever in your life given orders to the morning
or sent the dawn to its post,
telling it to grasp the earth by its edges
and shake the wicked out of it,
when it changes the earth to sealing clay
and dyes it as a man dyes clothes;
stealing the light from wicked men
and breaking the arm raised to strike?
Have you journeyed all the way to the sources of the sea,
or walked where the Abyss is deepest?
Have you been shown the gates of Death
or met the janitors of Shadowland?
Have you an inkling of the extent of the earth?
Tell me all about it if you have!
Which is the way to the home of the light,
and where does darkness live?
You could then show them the way to their proper places,
or put them on the path to where they live!
If you know all this, you must have been born with them,
you must be very old by now!
Have you ever visited the place where the snow is kept,
or seen where the hail is stored up,
which I keep for times of stress,
for days of battle and war?
From which direction does the lightning fork
when it scatters sparks over the earth?
Who carves a channel for the downpour,
and hacks a way for the rolling thunder,
so that rain may fall on lands where no one lives,
and the deserts void of human dwelling,
giving drink to the lonely wastes
and making grass spring where everything was dry?
Has the rain a father?
Who begets the dewdrops?
What womb brings forth the ice,
and gives birth to the frost of heaven,
when the waters grow hard as stone
and the surface of the deep congeals?
What right have you, a human being, to cross-examine God? Has the pot any right to say to the potter, Why did you make me this shape?
Gird up your loins now, like a man. I will question you, and you tell me the answers: Has the pot any right to say to the potter, Why did you make me this shape?