Gregory the Great on Job’s Spiritual Warfare

As I was studying for this week’s sermon, these words from the Church Father Gregory the Great concerning Job 1:21 stood out to me:

Although [the devil] himself blasphemes God, he was created blessed; now the man [Job], even though struck down, sings a hymn of glory to God. It is incumbent upon us to notice that our enemy wounds us with as many darts as he attacks us with temptations. For we stand in the front line of battle every day, and every day we receive the darts of his temptations. Still, we too throw darts at him when we are overwhelmed with troubles if we reply humbly. Blessed Job was struck down by the loss of his possessions and the death of his sons, but he turned his pain into praise of the Creator, saying, “God gave it and God took it back; God has done what he pleased; blessed be the name of God.” [Job] struck down the proud enemy with humility, he laid the cruel foe out flat with patience. So let us not believe our warrior was wounded without inflicting wounds himself. As often as he was hit he praised God with patient words, and in so doing he let fly his darts at the adversary’s breast, and the wounds he inflicted were more serious than those he sustained.

-Gregory the Great, Moral Reflections on the Book of Job, Vol.1, trans. Brian Kerns, OCSO (Athens, OH: Cistercian Publications, 2014), 144-145.

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