Job: good in the midst of the wicked

I Sunday of September From the Book of Moral Reflections by St Gregory the Great, Pope & Doctor of the Church

Holy Scripture is put before the eyes of our mind somewhat after the fashion of a looking-glass, that we may see therein the aspect of our inward man.  Therein we see what traits of ours are unsightly, and what are comely; thereby we judge how we are growing, and how far as yet we are from fulness of stature.  Holy Scripture tells of the doings of the Saints, and stirs up the heart of us weaklings to follow them.  While it makes memorial of their victorious deeds, it strengthens our frailty to strive against sin.  And so by the words of the Scripture it comes to pass that the soul trembles less at the battle, inasmuch as it sees how often the enemies have in former times been beaten by brave men.

And sometimes Holy Scripture shows unto us, not only how the Saints fought bravely, but also how they fell, that we may see by the example of the mighty, not only what weapons we must take, if we would conquer, but also what snares we must keep clear of, if we would avoid falling.  For example: on the one hand, there is Job, waxing nobler under trial; and on the other hand, there is David, tried, and failing utterly.  And so the glory of God's great ones strengthens our hope, and the backsliding of the same stirs us up to be watchful and lowly.  Thus the one cheers us with gladness, and the other puts us on our guard through fear; so that the soul of him that hears of these things may by the one gain sure and certain hope, and by the other be stirred to fearfulness and watchfulness; and on this wise the soul is not rashly puffed up, nor is it hopelessly cast down, or faint under the weight of dread, forasmuch as it is kept in trustfulness by the example of him who triumphed.

“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job.”  We are thus told where this holy man lived, that thereby we may gauge the worth of his bravery.  Who knows not that Uz is a place in the countries of the Gentiles?  The Gentile world had been so degraded and corrupted by sin, that they had ceased to know that they had a Maker.  Therefore is it told us where Job dwelt, that it may redound to his praise that he was good in the midst of the wicked.  It is not so praiseworthy to be good among the good, as it is to be good among the bad.  For even as it is more grievous to be bad among the good, so is it right praiseworthy to have remained good among the bad.

Responsory.  Blessed be the man || that trusteth in the Lord, and the Lord shall be his confidence. * And he shall be as a tree that is planted by the waters, that spreadeth out its roots towards moisture: and it shall not fear when the heat cometh.  V. We know that whosoever is born of God, sinneth not: but the generation of God preserveth him, and the wicked one toucheth him not. * And he … Glory be … And he …