Friday, 3 October 2008

An excellent reading from Job

From the heart of the Tempest the Lord gave Job his answer. He said:

'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 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!'

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.'

This was the first reading of the Mass of today. I haven't read Job in ages, and this just reminded me to go back and read it again. The symbolism and imagery here is amazing. Writers of all ages have picked up on it: the janitors of Shadowland, the Abyss, the idea of giving orders to the Sun; Job the man who argues with God, Brilliant.

I also thought it was appropriate material for reflection for me - going off to study a PhD and all. No matter how much you can teach yourself about something, it is never ever going to be possible to know very much at all.

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