Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters,
when you encounter various trials,
for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (Jas 1:2-3)
The first bishop of the Diocese of Gary, Andrew G. Grutka, D.D., used to call it “character building”. We all called it — well, what we called it shouldn’t be written in a church’s daily reflection blog.
If he knew that there was an assignment that one of his priests did not want, perhaps even dreaded, it was a sure bet that the priest would end up assigned there.
When asked, the bishop would say, “adversity builds character”.
That was very old school, I know; however, for those who stuck it out, I think it did just that.
No one likes adversity. No one likes trials (and, even, persecution). However, there is a feeling that comes from surviving the fires of those conflicts that cannot be matched any other way. Many of the priests did come out stronger and were able to be better leaders.
Testing does produce perseverance. That is what is being written by James to one of the early Christian communities.
The Christians of that time were being put through a crucible. They were being hunted down, their faith attacked, their very lives taken from them for their belief in the Lord. James, and the other disciples, continually encouraged the Christians to face their adversities with the knowledge that they had Jesus on their side.
So, rather than running from adversity, they were encouraged to meet it head on and as one community.
They did not have to go it alone. They had the strength of the community to back up their convictions and, ultimately, they had the Lord present in their midst, leading and guiding them just as He does now.
When we face adversity, one of the first things that we fail to remember is that the Lord is present to us and among us.
Hold firm, He is with you this day.
FAITH ACTION: As you pray today, reflect upon the Profession of Faith and ask the Lord to give you the courage you need to back the words you profess.