August 8, 2020
by Jeanne Schuler
Creighton University's Philosophy Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Dominic, Priest
Lectionary: 412

Habakkuk 1:12—2:4
Psalm 9:8-9, 10-11, 12-13
Matthew 17:14-20
Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Praying As We Age

The just person shall live because of faith.

“For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.”  (Habakkuk 2:3)

The prophet Habakkuk stood on the ramparts and complained to God.  Why is the immortal one quiet as disaster closes in on the people of Judah?   “We need help, Yahweh.  Out there in the desert are Babylonian forces.  Their cruelty is worse than the fickle community crouching behind these walls.  Yes, we stumble.  But our enemies have fallen into darkness.  They sacrifice to the nets that ensnare the victims they devour.  Fools die while the vicious prosper.”

Habakkuk questions the justice of God: is this punishment proportionate to our sins? Yahweh is not silent.  God’s timetable is not ours. Prophets must imprint the urgency of our need for God in every heart.  The city may be destroyed and the people enslaved.  But hold fast to the vision and you will live.

John Lewis faced the violence of Jim Crow as a young man. Beaten at the lunch counter in Nashville, in the streets of Birmingham, and on the bridge in Selma, he felt the fire of injustice in every bone.  But violence did not own him.  Elders in the movement showed him the power of resistance and redemptive suffering.  The everyday cruelties of racist society did not overcome his faith in the beloved community.  The vision he embraced as a young man enlivened him until his last days.

This is the feast day of St. Dominic.  Dominic was called from a contemplative life to fight a heresy that divided the Christian community.  There is often a shine to errors.  To hold fast to God we must learn to think.  Not all questions can be answered.  But God welcomes humanity in its wholeness.  Dominic, the preacher, taught an understanding that sustains faith.

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