December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- She is the book of the precepts of God, the law that endures forever; All who cling to her will live, but those will die who forsake her.
- Turn, O Jacob, and receive her: walk by her light toward splendor.
- Give not your glory to another, your privileges to an alien race.
- Blessed are we, O Israel; for what pleases God is known to us!
- Fear not, my people! Remember, Israel,
- You were sold to the nations not for your destruction; It was because you angered God that you were handed over to your foes.
- For you provoked your Maker with sacrifices to demons, to no-gods;
- You forsook the Eternal God who nourished you, and you grieved Jerusalem who fostered you.
- She indeed saw coming upon you the anger of God; and she said: "Hear, you neighbors of Zion! God has brought great mourning upon me,
- For I have seen the captivity that the Eternal God has brought upon my sons and daughters.
- With joy I fostered them; but with mourning and lament I let them go.
- Let no one gloat over me, a widow, bereft of many: For the sins of my children I am left desolate, because they turned from the law of God,
- and did not acknowledge his statutes; In the ways of God's commandments they did not walk, nor did they tread the disciplined paths of his justice.
- "Let Zion's neighbors come, to take note of the captivity of my sons and daughters, brought upon them by the Eternal God.
- He has brought against them a nation from afar, a nation ruthless and of alien speech, That has neither reverence for age nor tenderness for childhood;
- They have led away this widow's cherished sons, have left me solitary, without daughters.
- What can I do to help you?
- He who has brought this evil upon you must himself deliver you from your enemies' hands.
- Farewell, my children, farewell: I am left desolate.
- I have taken off the garment of peace, have put on sackcloth for my prayer of supplication, and while I live I will cry out to the Eternal God.
- "Fear not, my children; call upon God, who will deliver you from oppression at enemy hands.
- I have trusted in the Eternal God for your welfare, and joy has come to me from the Holy One Because of the mercy that will swiftly reach you from your eternal savior.
- With mourning and lament I sent you forth, but God will give you back to me with enduring gladness and joy.
- As Zion's neighbors lately saw you taken captive, so shall they soon see God's salvation come to you, with great glory and the splendor of the Eternal God.
- 1 "My children, bear patiently the anger that has come from God upon you; Your enemies have persecuted you, and you will soon see their destruction and trample upon their necks.
- My pampered children have trodden rough roads, carried off by their enemies like sheep in a raid.
- Fear not, my children; call out to God! He who brought this upon you will remember you.
- As your hearts have been disposed to stray from God, turn now ten times the more to seek him;
- For he who has brought disaster upon you will, in saving you, bring you back enduring joy."
- Fear not, Jerusalem! He who gave you your name is your encouragement.
- Fearful are those who harmed you, who rejoiced at your downfall;
- Fearful are the cities where your children were enslaved, fearful the city that took your sons.
- As that city rejoiced at your collapse, and made merry at your downfall, so shall she grieve over her own desolation.
- I will take from her the joyous throngs, and her exultation shall be turned to mourning:
- 2 For fire shall come upon her from the Eternal God, for a long time, and demons shall dwell in her from that time on.
- Look to the east, Jerusalem! behold the joy that comes to you from God.
- Here come your sons whom you once let go, gathered in from the east and from the west By the word of the Holy One, rejoicing in the glory of God.
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1  Trample upon their necks: love of enemies was not an Old Testament ideal. The Babylonians are considered here, however, to be God's enemies as well as Israel's.
2  Deserts and desolate places were looked upon as the special habitations of demons; Tobit 8:3; Luke 11:24.
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