Yesterday morning a Catholic who keeps up with the daily readings asked me why God had told Samuel not to grieve over the rejection of Saul as king. An odd thing about that question is that I saw it raised seventy seven years ago.
My class, when we were seventeen, were told to give a half hour a day to reading from some religious book. That had me picking up a book of sermons by John Cardinal Newman, and there was one that addressed the question my friend raised yesterday.
Cardinal Newman wrote that Saul had taken part in religious activities without ever having his heart in it. Like, once, before a battle, he was waiting for Samuel to arrive to offer a sacrifice; and when Samuel didn't come, Saul went through the motions of offering a sacrifice, while regarding it just as a meaningless rigmarole.
The lesson for us is that we must approach all religious activities with feelings of love and respect for God.
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