In the face of suffering and injustice, people may and should also quarrel with God, criticize him and protest.
Loud protest and silence are often preferable to God than pre-formulated prayer texts; Pope Francis said Wednesday at the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square.
In his series of catecheses on old age, Francis dealt with the biblical figure of Job, to whom much suffering and injustice happened and who quarreled with God. In the Book of Job, readers encounter a profoundly faithful person “who does not accept a caricature of God, but cries out his protest until God shows himself.”
It’s good to learn from Job. He said, “to resist the temptation to moralize in the face of despair and pain over the loss of everything.” Job’s friends had also presumed to “know everything, about God and pain.” But after trying to comfort Job with this, they would have “ended up condemning him with their preconceived plans. God save us from such hypocritical and presumptuous pietism,” the Pope warned.
Many people have to bear suffering like Job: parents with a severely handicapped child, for example, or people with a seriously ill relative in need of care. Sometimes, such suffering becomes more frequent, for instance, in the pandemic or wars like the one in Ukraine. As in the case of Job, however, such excesses should not be interpreted “as a superior rationality of nature and history” and certainly should not be given religious blessing “as a deserved response to sins of the victims.” In the book of Job, God rejects exactly this request to make him the persecutor or punisher.
- source: kurier.at/picture: pixabay.com
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