A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Submitting to abusive treatment?

In the Lectionary translation for today’s first reading (Genesis 16:1-12, 15-16), the angel of the Lord apparently tells a frightened, pregnant woman to “Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment.”

I am no scholar, but with all due respect to the translators, the latter part of that translation is wrong.

The literal (and traditional) translation is “submit (or humble) yourself under her hand.” Some highly reputable modern translations simply say “submit to her.” Some translate it as “submit to her authority.”

Let us be clear: submitting to a person’s authority or being humble does not – repeat – does NOT require submitting to truly abusive treatment.

It would be inappropriate for a Lector or change this translation “on the fly” at Mass, but celebrants or preachers at Masses today should take care to address this verse and communicate the truth clearly and with great prudence.

It would be very bad for a confused and frightened individual to hear these words and think God wants them to be beaten.

If any of us think we might be in an abusive situation, we must get help – if only to get a “reality check”.

If any of us think that children may be in an abusive situation, we must act to make the children safe.

We must always submit to God’s authority and work hard to understand clearly the paths – unpleasant and otherwise – that he is truly calling us to follow in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.