Skip to main content

Faith tested in fire

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time. In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,as you attain the goal of [your] faith, the salvation of your souls.  - I Peter 1:3-9

This was what I heard last night as I gathered with friends for Vespers - Catholic prayers in the early evening.  I needed to hear it - I heard it - I just don't wanna do it.

Who wants to suffer - at all - let alone over and over again, even if we are promised glorious and indescribable joy?  That joy seems so far off in the future, and the suffering, well, here I am, mired in it.  The "pay-off" it seems, just isn't worth it.

Ever have those moments where you're driving home, and you look at the gas tank to see how far you can run away on the gas you have?  Maybe you haven't.  I have.  I had this moment on Friday, as a matter of fact.  For better or worse, I only had a 1/4 tank, and no money, so I wasn't going to get very far.  And even if I could run away, the suffering would follow.

Instead, I had a little bitty breakdown on Saturday, and had the good sense to call a friend who is both a therapist and a Franciscan Sister (really, everyone should know at least ONE sane mental health professional).  She listened, then told me to take a hot bath, go for a walk and sit in God's presence for a bit, although not necessarily pray, just sit.  I did - I figured if Sister told me, I had to.  I sure wouldn't have done it on my own - I was just a big ball of slobbery mess at that point.  And I'm glad I did.  Moving around, acknowledging God - it helped.  It didn't fix anything, but it helped.

So back to Peter.  He knew, perhaps better than any of us, that Christ really is with us in suffering, and that the only faith worth having is that which has been tested, and tested by fire, at that.  Peter, lest we forget, abandoned Christ.  Peter refused to acknowledge Him.  Peter ran away, just like I wanted to on Friday night, with the fire licking at his heels.

But he came back.  He relied on that faith, he rejoiced in Christ's promise of inheritance.  I will too....as soon as I beat back the flames.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.

Be Transfigured

From today's readings: 

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the and his clothes became white as light.

...we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Today we celebrate the Transfiguration. For whatever reason, Jesus brought three of His disciples to Mount Tabor to witness this miracle. They weren't sure what they were seeing, but they knew enough to throw themselves to the ground in the presence of Almighty God. St. Peter (who never did anything halfway) excitedly declares that he will erect tents on the mountain as a way of memorializing the event. But Jesus tells him and the others that they are not to tell people what they witnessed - at least not yet.

In the second reading, the requirement to be quiet has bee…