|Icon, Job, the Long-Suffering One, drawn by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012|
The story of Job is an early biblical introduction to one of the basic tenents of what I call the Catholic "theology" of suffering (something I have spoken about previously): that all people suffer regardless of how righteous, rich, humble or holy they are. What Job could not know and what we know now is that this inevitable suffering, joined to the sufferings of Christ, has value for us and for all those who are dear to us, living and deceased.
In his many long days and weeks of trial -- as his wife tells him to curse God and die and as his three friends (see the 3 figures in the icon) tell him over and over again that he must be suffering because he, Job, has sinned and that if he will only repent, God will bless him again -- Job never deviates from his belief that he is not suffering because of something he has done or failed to do. As we know, he is right. His story teaches us that even the righteous suffer and that no matter how severe our sufferings may be, God does not owe us an explanation -- even though most of us think, for some reason, that God has to explain His permissive will to us!
ORTHODOX HYMN ABOUT JOB (original in Serbian)
Well today is Clean Monday, tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday and then we have Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. I have been looking forward to this week for some time now as the Lenten Season is my favourite season of the Church Year. I am a bit weird that way -- it is similar to liking to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary more than the other three sets of Mysteries. I am not a morbid person nor do I enjoy suffering. I think it has more to do with the way my life experiences seem to enable me to identify more clearly with the Passion of Christ than with any other part of His experience. Whatever the case may be, let's forget all that for now while I talk a bit about these 3 days.
A task for Clean Monday
O Lord and Master of my life, keep from me the spirit of indifference and discouragement, lust of power and idle chatter. [kneel/prostration]Shrove Tuesday, as the name suggests, is the day for people to be shriven.
Instead, grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humble-mindedness, patience, and love. [kneel/prostration]
O Lord and King, grant me the grace to be aware of my sins and not to judge my brother or sister; for You are blessed now and ever and forever. Amen. [kneel/prostration]
|"Remember that you |
are dust and unto dust
you shall return."
SUKI AND SALLIE
the idea of giving up
something for Lent!
I have been speaking to Suki about this, but so far she has shown little interest in making a decision. I suggested she consider doing a bit of fasting (since she is overweight it couldn't hurt); however, she gave that idea an absolute thumbs down (or paws down as the case may be). I have pointed out that Wednesday is just two days away, but so far she refuses to discuss the matter further!
As for myself, I have decided that I will donate a certain amount of money each time I speak in a certain way. This is something I have an ongoing problem with and so it is quite possible that I will have collected a goodly sum by the time Easter arrives! I will also try to do the normal fasting and abstinence of the Lenten Season. Of course, this depends on how my health is during these next 40 days, but I am determined to do what I can to stay mindful of Our Lord's Passion, suffering and death and to spend extra time in prayer.
I asked Suki if she wanted to go to Mass with me on Wednesday and get ashes. She pointed out that since she is black already, the ashes wouldn't really show up at all. Thus, no one would be impressed by seeing this sign of her piety so she is just going to stay at home and sleep! I tried to explain to her that the purpose of the ashes is not to impress other people but to remind ourselves of our mortality and the need to prepare ourselves for eternity. This is one more topic which she is refusing to discuss any further -- she says all this talking is interrupting her sleep! What a cat!!
I wish you all a blessed Ash Wednesday and a holy Lenten Season. May the peace of God be with us all.