31 July, 2006

While I'm rambling on about Ecclesiastes...

While ransacking Ecclesiastes for that last verse (I can never remember chapter & verse, only vague locations), I stumbled again across the following verse. It reminds me of current events:

As for the children of men, it is God's way of testing them and of showing that they are in themselves like beasts.
Yet God became man in Christ, and delivered himself up to these beasts. He loves us because he knows us and sorrows over us.

Meanwhile I saw wicked men approach and enter; and as they left the sacred place, they were praised in the city for what they had done. This also is vanity. Because the sentence against evildoers is not promptly executed, therefore the hearts of men are filled with the desire to commit evil — because the sinner does evil a hundred times and survives. ...This is a vanity which occurs on earth: there are just men treated as though they had done evil and wicked men treated as though they had done justly. This, too, I say is vanity.
(from 8·10-14)
Yet he continues,
Therefore I commend mirth, because there is nothing good for man under the sun except eating and drinking and mirth: for this is the accompaniment of his toil during the limited days of the life which God gives him under the sun.
I'm sure that one could find many verses like that elsewhere in the Scriptures. Immense swaths of the Bible (and of history) give testament of the bestiality of man, even of those who claim to be God's children. Yet they always, always counsel hope.

Today is the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, a wounded soldier who realized that the passions he felt when hearing stories of military exploits faded quickly and left him depressed, whereas the passions he felt while hearing stories of the saints remained to inspire and illumine his heart. He embraced Christ radically, becoming one of the founders of the Society of Jesus. We could use many more like St. Ignatius today, who turn from the temptations of the fiery passions of conflict towards the spiritual combat of love.

St. Ignatius, pray for us.

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