I felt like the rug had been ripped out from under me.
My son’s beloved school closed its doors for the foreseeable future. A carefree stop at the grocery store was a thing of the past, let alone meeting my sister to share a cup of coffee and each other’s company.
I was most heartbroken that we could no longer attend public Mass to receive our beloved Jesus in the Eucharist. Still, we counted ourselves fortunate. My family members still had their jobs and their health, at least for now.
While our individual experiences of the pandemic are many, we are united in a collective suffering which has shaken many, including myself, to their core.
In today’s First Reading (Job 1:6-22) we see God’s faithful servant Job as he faces tremendous adversity. Without warning, his livelihood is stolen and his children are killed.
Yet, how does he respond? Job blesses God, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21)
I try to absorb Job’s words, seemingly simple, yet deeply profound. Immediately I recognize his faith and that my own response to hardship is not so saintly. I hear the heart of a grateful man. Job knows well that everything in his life is a gift from the Lord.
Beyond this, Job’s words illuminate his detachment from the world. As challenging as it can be, we are all called to this detachment from our life circumstances, our health, our relationships.
Most beautiful, perhaps, is the glimpse of how unconditionally Job loves the Lord. He doesn’t love God because of the abundantly blessed life God has given him. Job loves God for Who He is, not for what He does.
As for me, I often forget to express my gratitude to the Lord. I am attached to many worldly things, as was clearly illustrated by my reaction to the pandemic turning my expectations for 2020 upside down.
But more than anything, I want to love the Lord with a deeper, more pure love.
Thankfully, I know that is His desire for me, too. Blessed be the name of the Lord.