This was the first reading from yesterday, from the book of Sirach (which I am thinking I need to read!!)
As I heard it in mass yesterday, it was one of those moments when I thought that this passage was just for me. I felt God whispering, "I'm here. I see you. I love you. I hear you. I'm with you."
My son, when you come to serve the LORD,
stand in justice and fear,
prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast,
incline your ear and receive the word of understanding,
undisturbed in time of adversity.
Wait on God, with patience, cling to him, forsake him not;
thus will you be wise in all your ways.
Accept whatever befalls you,
when sorrowful, be steadfast,
and in crushing misfortune be patient;
For in fire gold and silver are tested,
and worthy people in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust God and God will help you;
trust in him, and he will direct your way;
keep his fear and grow old therein.
You who fear the LORD, wait for his mercy,
turn not away lest you fall.
You who fear the LORD, trust him,
and your reward will not be lost.
You who fear the LORD, hope for good things,
for lasting joy and mercy.
You who fear the LORD, love him,
and your hearts will be enlightened.
Study the generations long past and understand;
has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed?
Has anyone persevered in his commandments and been forsaken?
has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?
Compassionate and merciful is the LORD;
he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble
and he is a protector to all who seek him in truth.
- Sirach 2:1-11
(I bolded the parts I like the best.)
I'm not saying I fit in the category of "worthy people," but I love the image of gold and silver tested in fire...that gives me a lot of comfort in this "crucible of humiliation," that my soul is being purified and (hopefully) becoming more radiant.
And I love the line, "Study the generations long past..." I think of the saints, and how many trials they went through, and how God is always faithful even when things seem desolate. If it's hard to believe that in the moment (and it often is), then I can look at the saints and see their witness of hope.
I might need to memorize some of this passage and recite it when things get tough...