He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had.
Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”
Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.”
The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the hip socket, because he struck Jacob on the hip socket at the thigh muscle.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In today’s first reading, we hear that after sending his household across the ford of the Jabbok, “Jacob was left there alone… then some man wrestled with him until the break of dawn.” Today we celebrate St. Benedict, the founder of Western monasticism. His example shows us that taking time to be alone with God–including time to struggle with our own demons through which God leads us to freedom–really does amount to something. That time alonemakes a real difference in the world.
I offer two possible questions for prayer as we pray with Jacob on the bank of the Jabbok:
1) Is there a freedom that God is calling me to that I am denying myself?
2) At this moment in my life, what is my greatest fear? What is God`s response?
Show, O Lord, Thy ways to me,
and teach me Thy paths.
Direct me in Thy truth, and teach me;
for Thou art God my Saviour.
—St. Peter Faber, SJ