Scripture for the Sick or Dying: Job 7:1-4

A thought experiment: ask some occasional Christians or non-believers to name off books of the Old Testament. My guess is that Job would place close behind first-place Genesis.

It’s a complex work. Scholars place it among the poetic literature. It’s a long 42-chapter lyric addressing the basic question of human pain: why do good people suffer?

It’s also a human work, as it depicts the “good” person as flawed, imperfect, and even prone to sin. Job doubts, rages, and asks questions of God. Here are some of them:

Is not life on earth a drudgery,
its days like those of a hireling?
Like a slave who longs for the shade,
a hireling who waits for wages,
So I have been assigned months of futility,
and troubled nights have been counted off for me.
When I lie down I say, “When shall I arise?”
then the night drags on;
I am filled with restlessness until the dawn.

For a home visit to anoint the sick, maybe a minister and recipient want something this honest. The disruption of sleep is a real problem for many ill people. We know a body needs rest. And yet, difficulties in getting that rest certainly give rise to the complaints uttered above. If an illness and accompanying insomnia do last weeks and months, that is certainly an obstacle to both health and spiritual calm.

For an in-depth treatment of the Pastoral Care rites, check this page that outlines our examination from a decade ago.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Pastoral Care of the Sick, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

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