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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Patience of Job-from Aquinas

Aquinas notes that wisdom teaches us to be steadfast and cling to God in prosperity and in sorrow. The only way this happens is if we see ourselves as the lowly creatures we are, full of sin and pride. How is it that he did not sin? Patience comes from humility. If one becomes impatient, it is because we think that we are worthy of good things and that God owes us blessings.
Not so.
One of the worst sufferings comes from the misunderstanding of others concerning one's choices for God.
The holy man who had born his troubles patiently, could not bear the injury done to God, for there follows, “But he said to her: You have spoken like one of the foolish women speaks.” He rightly accuses of foolishness one speaking against the divine wisdom. He shows that she spoke foolishly when he adds, “If we received good at the hand of the Lord and shall we not tolerate evil?” In this he teaches the perfect wisdom of man, for since temporal and corporeal goods should not be loved except because of spiritual and eternal ones, when the latter are conserved as the more principal ones, man should not be dejected if he is deprived of the former nor puffed up if he has an abundance of them. Job teaches us therefore that we should have such a steadfastness of spirit that both if temporal goods are given to us by God, we should so use them that we are not puffed up in pride from them, and we would so sustain the contrary evil that our soul is not dejected from their lack. This accords with what St. Paul says in Phillipians in the last chapter, “I know how to be humbled and how to enjoy prosperity.” (4:12) and further on, “I can do all things in him who gives me comfort.” (4:13) Finally the conclusion is Job persevered in innocence when it is said, “In all these things Job did not sin with his lips.”