Tomorrow Traditionalists begin the observance of the three Sundays, instituted probably by Pope S Gregory I, the Great, at a time of enormous tribulation for Rome, Italy, and the World: Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima.
On these three Sundays, Pontiff and Clergy and People went out in turn to the three great basilicas outside the City walls, dedicated to S Lawrence, S Paul, and S Peter - which stood as mighty fortresses of prayer and of divine power defending the City.
There they prostrated themselves before the Lord and sought Mercy, in the times of floods, pestilence, and war.
Strangely, they refrained from asking interesting questions about how the catastrophes which hung over them could be reconciled with the existence of a Loving God!! (Indeed, were you to ask me, I would hazard a guess that they would not even have been able to understand the terms of such a question, let alone its overweening hubris.)
That sort of stuff ... sometimes called Theodicy ... is a neat device of the Enemy.
I hope you will, on Septuagesima Sunday, begin reading, in accordance with the immemorial Tradition of the Latin Church, the Book of Genesis. You can do this liturgically in an old Roman Breviary, or in the"1961" Lectionary of Church of England Anglican origin, now happily authorised for use in the Ordinariates.
Or you could just read it in your Bible!!
If you want a 'poetic' commentary on 'the Fall', I commend Perelandra, aka Voyage to Venus, by C S Lewis.
Jam-packed full of thought-provoking theology!
Dear Father. Because we own it lock stock and barrel, us Catholics should be reading the Bible ever single day for it is God's word and our story.
Right now I am reading Exodus, Psalms and Matthew, for instance.
It is easy for Catholics to being the process of reading every single word on the Bible (it is easier if one began on Jan 1) by downloading this reading plan
I have been following it for years and, as you well know Father, every time one reads the word of God, one learns some new truth or sees something he missed or overlooked the first several times.
Love the Space Trilogy. These days, That Hideous Strength should be required reading.
I also love the Haydock Bible and highly recommend it. Packed to the rafters with Fr. Haydock's extremely helpful commentary.
Fr. Schmitz' Bible in a Year podcast has been very good for me.
I had read the whole Bible before a few times, but not systematically. And after years of listening and reading various Bible stuff as I happened across it, I am able to see the connections a lot better than I could as a kid.
I have been working my way through the Old Testament using Bergsma and Pitre's excellent "A Catholic Introduction to the Bible". Currently at Jeremiah which I was dreading expecting it to be full of gloom and doom which it is but is very pertinent for our time as we like Israel and Judah have definitely strayed from God's plan for us.
If only we in the Church could be like those in medieval times who prostrated themselves and asked for God's mercy. But no, we are in the New Springtime, bring on the Synods!
The thing is, a very similar question to the one of the "catastrophes and loving God" thing is well known from Biblical times, so it would have been known to the Popes as well.
Job, granted, did not ask how his afflictions squared with the Love of God, specifically. He asked how the fact that specifically he, as a not-sinner (that is to say, as later found out, a comparatively-little-sinner), has to bear these afflictions squared with the Justice of God. But there are obvious similarities.
The thing here also is that God Himself enters the discussion and is quite like "All right: let's talk; I want to ask thee, thou give information", and rather playfully if forcefully at that. Job misunderstands Him and says "I have opened my mouth but shall not do so again; I have even opened it now for this sentence, but that was the last." This answer was wrong; it is what makes him receive the Second Speech of God, which is a reproof, which the First Speech, despite using a bit of the form of one, was not so really. "Art thou really going to break my rights? Art thou you really going to pronounce Me guilty [that is to say, by thy silence], proving thyself correct to thee" etc. etc. - After which Job finds what is the right answer: "So, listen then. I do, Lord, want to talk now. I want to ask Thee, Thou give information."
This is an answer to the Theodicy question: "I want to ask Thee, Thou give information", adressed to God. With all due respect, opposing the question is not, even if (as it obviously does) in the realm of practical affairs it often comes with dangers for the soul trailing in its wake.
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