Night Office, Monastic Lectionary of the Divine Office,
THIRTY-FIRST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Jeremiah 42:1-16; 43:4-7
Responsory Ps 146:5-7; 118:8-9
Happy are those who are helped by Jacob' s God, whose hope is in the Lord their God. + It is he who keeps faith forever, and is just to those who are oppressed.
V. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in human help; better to take refuge in the Lord than to rely on princes. + It is he who ...
Friday of the Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time Year I
A READING FROM A SERMON BY THE
BLESSED JOHN HENRY NEWMAN
BLESSED JOHN HENRY NEWMAN
No Prophet commenced his labours with greater encouragement than Jeremiah. A King had succeeded to the throne who was bringing back the times of the man after God’s own heart. There had not been a son of David so zealous as Josiah since David himself. The King, too, was young, at most twenty years of age, in the beginning of his reformation. What might not be effected in a course of years, however corrupt and degraded was the existing state of his people?
Whether or not, however, such hope of success encouraged Jeremiah’s first exertions, very soon, in his case, this cheerful prospect was overcast, and he was left to labour in the dark. His trials were very great, even in Josiah’s reign; but when that pious King’s countenance was withdrawn on his early death, he was exposed to persecution from every class of people. When Jerusalem had been taken by the enemy, Jeremiah was forcibly carried down to Egypt by people who at first pretended to reverence and consult him, and there he came to his end – it is believed, a violent end.
All of us live in a world which promises well, but does not fulfil; it is in our nature to begin life thoughtlessly and joyously; to seek great things in one way or other; to have vague notions of good to come; to love the world, and to believe its promises, and seek satisfaction and happiness from it. And, as it is our nature to hope, so it is our lot, as life proceeds, to encounter disappointment. That disappointment in some shape or other is the lot of man (that is, looking at our prospects apart from the next world) is plain from the mere fact, if nothing else could be said, that we begin life with health and end it with sickness; or in other words, that it comes to an end, for an end is a failure.
Here then it is that God himself offers us his aid by his Word, and in his Church. Left to ourselves, we seek good from the world, but cannot find it; in youth we look forward, and in age we look back. It is well we should be persuaded of these things betimes, to gain wisdom and to provide for the evil day. Seek we great things? We must seek them where they really are to be found, and in the way in which they are to be found; we must seek them as he has set them before us, who came into the world to enable us to gain them. We must be willing to give up present hope for future enjoyment, this world for the unseen. Let us prepare for suffering and disappointment, which befit us as sinners, and which are necessary for us as saints. Let us not turn away from trial when God brings it on us, or play the coward in the fight of faith. Watch, stand fast in the faith, acquit yourselves like men, be strong; such is Saint Paul’s exhortation. When affliction overtakes you, remember to accept it as a means of improving your hearts, and pray God for his grace that it may do so. Look disappointment in the face. Take ... the prophets ... for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy who endure.
Bl. John Henry Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, 8:127-8; Word in Season VI.