Do not human beings have a hard service on earth, and are not their days like the days of a laborer? Like a slave who longs for the shadow, and like laborers 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 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.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Job’s words sound like despair or clinical depression. Maybe I’ve been there or close. Or immersed in a moral hopelessness: “How can I ever get out of this pit I’ve dug myself into?” Or profound failure, worse is failure exposed; I become so small that I fit under the couch in the living room.
Yet having faith means I somehow sense that being immersed in such experience is not everything; I don’t move to suicide. It is as if I’m in an enormous pitch black room and I have no idea where the light switch is, but I find the courage to keep groping for its location. Or if I need to, I can remain in my misery for the needed time before it is right to even begin to move on. Job in the midst of his anguish came to the realization, “I know my Redeemer lives!”
—Fr. Terry Charlton, SJ, joined the Chicago province and now serves as assistant provincial in Eastern Africa. He is the co-founder and chaplain of St. Aloysius Gonzaga High School for AIDS orphans from the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya.
O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of Your presence, Your love, and Your strength. Help us to have perfect trust in Your protecting love and strengthening power, so that nothing may frighten or worry us, for, living close to You, we shall see Your hand, Your purpose, Your will through all things.
—St. Ignatius Loyola, Click here for the downloadable prayer card.
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