Wednesday, July 11, 2007

11/07/07 Feast of St. Benedict

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 The
Great-Martyr Euphemia, the All Praised
Kellia: Job 38:31-41 Epistle: 1 Corinthians7:12-24
Gospel: St. Matthew 14:15-15-11

The Lord IV ~ Who Governs: Job 38:31-41 LXX, especially vs. 35: "And
wilt thou send lightnings, and they shall go? And will they say to
thee, What is thy pleasure?" The Orthodox Christian will readily
recognize similarities between this passage in Job and the Vesperal
Psalm (103 LXX), both of which declare: "How magnified are Thy works, O
Lord! In wisdom hast Thou made them all; the earth is filled with Thy
creation" (Ps.103:26 LXX). Both reflect on the array of the heavens
stretched out across the sky "as it were a curtain," moving in precision
with the seasons on earth (Ps.103:3,21; Job 38:31-33 LXX). Both speak
of the mantle of clouds that water and satisfy all life on earth
(Ps.103:7-14; Job 38:34-35,37 LXX). Likewise, both mention that the
Lord, in His good governance, looks after even the wild beasts that
"fear in their lairs" (Job 38:39-41) or seek "their food from God"
(Ps.103:23 LXX). Even the gifts of creativity that God gives to
mankind receive mention in both passages (Ps.103:15-17; Job 38:36 LXX).

The finely tuned details of the created order that God establishes and
controls manifest His governance of the entire universe. Whether one
gazes day and night into the changing skies as the ancients did to mark
the progression of seasons and years, or one peers through great
telescopes as do our scientific astronomers on mountain tops and via
satellites in space, the order of the universe remains a matter of awe
and wonder. A major role of Holy Scripture is to announce the Governor
Who directs the whole, and to teach each and every person to say, "Bless
the Lord, O my soul, Who establisheth the earth in the sureness thereof"
(Ps.103:1,6 LXX).

Look closely as the Lord calls to Job in the present verses, as God
directs his and our attention to the constellations of the night sky.
Ancient men wondered at the seven stars of the Pleiades (Job 38:31), and
told stories to explain the cluster. To the Greeks, they were seven
maidens, although one is virtually invisible to the naked eye and was
said to hide her light because of her shame for marrying a mortal. On
the other hand, the Greek seamen would only set sail when the Pleiades
were visible, for they knew that otherwise they would be liable to great
storms; and ancient farmers knew that the appearance of the Pleiades
marked the planting season.

The constellation Orion played a similar role, announcing the season of
storms, and each constellation or Mazzuroth "in his season" (vs. 32)
provided guidance for the various activities of man for maintaining
life. Through the centuries, astronomers have mapped and identified
many of the stars, but it is an accumulative work continuing to this
day. Mankind still has not learned all "the changes of heaven, or the
events which take place together under heaven" (vs. 33). We certainly
cannot call the clouds or make them obey us "with a violent shower of
much rain, and send...lightnings" (vss. 34,35). Our forecasts are, at
best, simply improved estimates.

God is the Governor of earth and sky and of all that is in the vast
reaches of space. Yet, He it is Who has "given to women skill in
weaving or the knowledge of embroidery" (vs. 36), as He gives artistic
ability to every person as He chooses. "Mark it," says St. John
Chrysostom, "He is also speaking of the practical. He mingles the small
with the grand.....But would the works of this craft be as remarkable if
they were not a gift?" God is, as St. Gregory the Great has said, "the
Cause of causes, and as He is the Life of the living, so is He the
Reason of reasonable creatures." He provides for the whole earth, this
tiny jewel spinning around the sun, and without fail governs what He has
made, bringing the seasons for encouraging growth, planting, and
harvesting. Let us be faithful witnesses to His governance over the
ineffable world He gives us.

For healthful seasons, for the abundance of the fruits of earth and for
peaceful times, and for our deliverance from all dangers and
necessities, receive our humble thanks, O Lord.



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