A Reading from Job
Where were you when I founded the Earth?
Or who tilts the water jars of heaven
Do you give the horse his strength,
Is it by your discernment that the hawk soars,
Then Job answered God and said :
I have dealt with great things that I do not understand;
I had heard of you by word of mouth,
How beautiful is this day when so many of us from different parts of the Dominican Family are gathered together in this sacred place to pray for peace – to pray for an end to violence and war on our Earth.
From throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Iraq, Argentina, Germany, and elsewhere, we are here … adding our voices to those of our Dominican ancestors … forming an unbroken 800-year stream of prayer to God … for an end to war, for reconciliation, for freedom, for forgiveness, for justice.
For 800 years we have been praying. And yet wars continue. Violence is unabated. Systems of domination oppress people and ravage Earth. “Why?” we ask, often in desperation. Why doesn’t God intervene?
Job was a man of prayer who walked humbly with God. A righteous man, Job was totally confounded by the sudden and terrible turn of events that saw him lose his wife, his children, his lands, his health.
As we know, when Job finally asked to see God and hear the cause of his suffering, Job was given no direct answer. Instead, he was given a glimpse of “things too wonderful for him to know” about God’s majestic work of Divine Creation. Job came to understand that “God can do all things” and that no purpose of God’s “can be hindered.”
Job came to understand in an entirely new way that he was one part of a much, much bigger story.
Today, as the U.S. war in Iraq continues to claim so many lives and wreak such havoc … as warfare in Darfur leaves thousands homeless and brutalized … as fighting is renewed in the Holy Land … and as the violence of our mindless and sacrilegious exploitation of God’s creation imperils the very life that sustains us … we continue to pray, knowing there is a much, much bigger story going on.
Thanks to study and the probing of our God-given intellect, we now have empirical knowledge, for the first time in human history, about the way God created our Earth, our universe. Our eyes now see.
It is a 14-billion-year story of such majesty and awe that it leaves us, like Job, marveling at “things too wonderful for us to know.”
This Universe God created is immense, spanning billions of light years – totally beyond our fathoming. And yet it is also minutely calibrated. If the universe had expanded one-fraction of a second faster or one-fraction of a second slower, we would not be here today.
Our scientific knowledge now affirms many insights of our mystics … of our faith. In the profound immensity of God’s creation, the most minute detail counts. The sparrow matters. As do we.
As does our prayer, in ways we cannot fathom. In ways, perhaps, “too wonderful” for us to know.