For my sighing comes before I eat, and my groanings are poured out like the waters.
All Commentaries on Job 3:24 Go To Job 3
Gregory The Dialogist
14. For the soul's ‘eating’ is its being fed with the contemplations of the light above, and thus it sighs before it eats, in that it first travails with the groanings of sorrow, and afterwards is replenished with the cheer of contemplation. For except it sigh, it eats not, in that he that refuses to humble himself, in this exile we are in, by the groanings of heavenly desires, never tastes the delights of the eternal inheritance. For all they are starved of the food of truth, that take joy in the emptiness of this scene of our pilgrimage, but he ‘sighs,’ that ‘eats,’ because all who are touched with the love of truth, are at the same time fed with the refreshments of contemplation. The Prophet ‘ate sighing,’ when he said, My tears have been my bread. [Ps. 42, 3] For the soul is fed by its own grief, when it is lifted up to the joys above by the tears, which it sheds, and indeed it bears within its sorrowful sighings, but it receives food for its refreshing, the more the force of its love gushes out in weeping. And hence blessed Job still goes on with the violence of that weeping, adding,
And my roarings are poured out like overflowing waters.
15. Waters, that overflow, advance with a rush, and swell with billows evermore increasing. Now whilst the Elect set the judgments of God before the eyes of their mind, whilst they dread the secret sentence concerning them, whilst they trust to attain to God, but yet are in fear lest they should not attain, while they call to mind their past doings, which they weep over, whilst they shrink from the events that still await them, in that they are unknown, there are gathered in them as it were a kind of billows, as of water, which spend themselves in the roarings of grief, as upon a shore beneath them. The holy man then saw how great are the billows of our thoughts in our penitential mourning, and he called the very waves of our grief overflowing waters, saying, And my roarings are like overflowing waters. Now there are times when the righteous, as we likewise said a little above, even in the midst of their very good works, are affrighted and give themselves to continual mourning, lest they should offend by some secret misdemeanour therein. And when God's scourges suddenly take hold of them, they imagine that they have done despite to the grace of their Maker, in that being either impeded by infirmities, or weighed down with sadness, they are not ready to perform works of mercy to their neighbours; and their heart turns to mourning, for that the body is become slack to its devout ministration. And whereas they see that they are not adding to their reward, they fear that their past deeds also have been displeasing. Hence when blessed Job described his roaring like overflowing waters.