James 1:1-11; Ps 119 Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live; Mk 8:11-13
We are reading from the Letter of James. It is considered to be one of the "catholic" or universal letters since it is not written to any particular or single community but rather to a broad audience. Here is what James says today.
"Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance…"
I do not know many people who like test or being tested. Many students cringe when a test is on the horizon. They would rather it be other wise.
I do not know many adults who like trials in life. They took like the students also cringe and would rather it be another way.
Testings in life are for us who are undergoing them a revelation of our deepest values and truest selves.
Under fire, as they say, impurities are removed and so are mask and false selves and everything else we put on to avoid who we really are. Fire refines.
Where does the joy come from in such an occasion? It can only come from one place and that is the passion of Christ himself, the Paschal Mystery. In our testing we are invited to pass through the passion, death, and resurrection of the Christ.
On the Cross Jesus had joy.
James continues, "Let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing. But if any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, he will be given it."
What will God bestow in order to help us grow in wisdom? Perhaps trials and testing. To grow in wisdom, one must suffer the loss of ignorance. Seldom have I discovered a more sure fire way of attaining wisdom then suffering the loss of ignorance.
Wisdom doesn't come easily. God will certainly give us the opportunities to grow in that area daily.
Will it hurt? Yes. Will it be rewarding? Yes.