Hosea 1:2

When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, "Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry, for the land commits great harlotry by forsaking the LORD."

Hosea was looking for love in all the wrong places.  He married a dame who didn't love him a dime's worth more than a good glass of gin and tumble between the sheets with whoever was paying well at the local saloon.  She tore his heart into little pieces and flung the bits out the window laughing.  But he carried a torch for her anyway–and wondered what God was thinking putting him through all this grief.  The old story.  One day, Hosea bumped into an old gent at synagogue who'd been down the same Trail of Tears.  They bought each other a beer and commiserated.  The old gent called himself "The Lord God Almighty" and told Hosea all about the dame who'd wrung his heart out.  Her name was Israel.  As they drained their bottles, Hosea saw his own lousy marriage in a new light.  His heartache wasn't the whole story.  Turned out God knew what the pain felt like. In fact, he'd made Hosea's pain a picture of his own so Israel could see and so Hosea could know all that suffering wasn't just Random Garbage That Happened for No Reason. Didn't explain everything, but somehow it lightened the load.  Everybody has his cross to bear, especially God.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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  • Claire

    Great reflection.

  • laurak

    I appreciated this reflection today.