After talking about it for the past year, Judy and I recently began the journey of “Reading the Bible in a Year” with Fr. Mike Schmitz. We’re into day 16…. still in the “Honeymoon Phase” with a lot of enthusiasm. I’m guessing our zeal may be tested as we move into the depths of Leviticus, but we hope to stay the course.
I was struck by some interesting points brought out as we journey thru the Book of Job. Job’s friends, “Bildad & The Boys”, actually offer some “seemingly” good advice to Job… but the timing is off and it’s not at all helpful. Fr. Mike mentions that “when someone is suffering, to offer platitudes generally is not helpful… sometimes there is just no answer to the problem at hand… sometimes silence is the best response.”
The right words presented at the wrong time can end up being the wrong words. I cringed as I pondered this. I’m sure that at times in the past, while I meant well with my words, they probably were just not helpful. When going to the wake of a friend, I feel the need to say something comforting and helpful, but just being present is probably the most important thing.
I’m reminded of the prayer that Pope John Paul II learned from his father and said each morning…” O, Holy Spirit, inspire me what to say, how to speak, when to be silent…” Sometimes the best thing to say is “nothing”. Standing beside a friend who is suffering may be the best thing …. just praying and smiling and maybe doing a little service.
May the Lord help us to keep our ears open to him … to listen to the Lord before we open our mouth. Let’s allow our friends time to speak and share what’s on their heart…what’s troubling them. Then we may be able to respond with a true word from the Lord… a gesture of love and kindness and support, or just silence. Holy Spirit, help us to do that.
So, I’m looking forward to receiving many more words of wisdom from “the Bible In A Year”. Hopefully my ears will be open to hear.