March 8, 2020, Habakkuk 1:1-4, 12-14 – ISSL Reflection

We turn this week to the Prophet Habakkuk.

The prophet begins with words that could come right from the Psalmist.

“O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?”

Do you recall the Psalmist uttering these words only once, or time and time again?

Who else can you hear crying out these words?

Read this week’s selection from Habakkuk and listen not just to the words but listen for who you hear crying out these words. Whose voice do you hear? What is their tone? Do you hear pain or anger?

Habakkuk 1:1-4, 12-14 (New Revised Standard Version)

The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw.

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not listen?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save?

Why do you make me see wrongdoing
and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.

So the law becomes slack
and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous—
therefore judgment comes forth perverted.

Are you not from of old,
O Lord my God, my Holy One?
You shall not die.
O Lord, you have marked them for judgment;
and you, O Rock, have established them for punishment.

Your eyes are too pure to behold evil,
and you cannot look on wrongdoing;
why do you look on the treacherous,
and are silent when the wicked swallow
those more righteous than they?

You have made people like the fish of the sea,
like crawling things that have no ruler.

Who did you hear?

What do you think they have seen and heard that brings forth such a lament?

How contemporary do you find these words?

Do you think you might hear someone today or tomorrow or this week or next week with these words in their mouth?

Do you feel you have or could give voice to such a cry?

What of Habakkuk’s words come closest to words you’ve spoken or could speak?

Stay with the prophet’s cry for a while and notice what you identify with.

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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